With less than a month until college football kicks off its 2018 season, it’s time to take a look at the fourth opponent on KU’s 2018 schedule, Baylor.
Kansas @ Baylor
September 22, 2018, Time TBD
Waco, TX: McLane Stadium (45,140)
About the Baylor Offense
Baylor returns nine starters on offense and 93% of its production from 2017, good for #2 in the NCAA. Coach Matt Rhule begins his second season in Waco looking to make a huge leap in the W-L column.
SO Quarterback Charlie Brewer (139-204, 1562 yds, 11-4 TD-INT) returns to lead the offense, and this year he won’t be splitting snaps with the departed Zach Smith. Baylor did not run the ball with much success last year, but 2017’s two leading rushers both return in SO John Lovett (98 car, 445 yds, 5 TD) and JR Jamycal Hasty (76 car, 314 yds, TD).
Baylor’s top five pass catchers return as well, including three wide receivers: JR Denzel Mims (61 rec, 1087 yds, 8 TD), JR Tony Nicholson (41 rec, 344 yds), and JR Pooh Stricklin (32 rec, 414 yds, TD).
About the Baylor Defense
Things are almost as positive on the defensive side of the ball for Baylor. The Bears return 82% of their defensive production in the form of nine starters.
A pair of juniors in Clay Johnston (54 tak, 9 TFL, Sk) and Jordan Williams (38 tak, 3 TFL, Sk) headline the linebackers. SO Jalen Pitre (37 tak, 3 TFL, Sk) looks to round out any three-LB sets. Meanwhile, on the defensive line, SR DT Ira Lewis (34 tak, 11.5 TFL, 5.5 sk) and JR DT Bravvion Roy (31 tak, 3 TFL, 0.5 sk) will look to soak up blockers for the above-mentioned linebackers.
SO cornerback Harrison Hand (42 tak, INT) and JR Grayland Arnold (35 tak, 3 TFL, INT, FR) anchor a still-young secondary that will look to SR safety Verkedric Vaughns (42 tak, 2 TFL, sk) for leadership.
So let me see if I remember correctly. Last year, this matchup was in Lawrence, and was by just about every advanced statistical measure a coin-flip game. The Bears then went and out-gained Kansas by almost 200 yards, KU turned it over twice, and the Jayhawks lost a 38-9 affair.
So now this year, following the #32 ranked recruiting class, the Bears look like they’re getting better, and everyone says David Beaty is a great coach who has no talent. Only a crazy man picks a close game here. Even if Kansas is improving, they aren’t doing it as quickly as Baylor is. Baylor 55, Kansas 21.