Kansas takes a trip to Waco this weekend to face off against the third place Baylor Bears who are fresh off of a bye and looking for a win. The Bears were rattled against West Virginia two weeks ago. The Jayhawks hope to catch the Bears looking ahead to a trip to Norman next weekend but it won’t be easy as the Bears are a nation’s best 22-1 at home since 2011. Not to mention the Jayhawks have never beat the Bears in Waco (0-6).
The Baylor offense is one of the best in the nation, balanced, aggressive and fast with plenty of weapons. The Bears are 3rd in the nation in yards per game (556) and 5th in points per game (46). Baylor’s arsenal includes three receivers featured on the Biletnikoff watchlist (five receivers have 100 yards games) and a Big 12 best rushing attack at 229.1 yards per game.
What are the Jayhawks to do? Blitz and blitz some more. Briles has expressed concern over his oft-injured and increasingly exposed offensive line. In their last game, West Virginia blitzed early and often which lead to 4 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and a very disrupted offensive rhythm. With the solid level of play within the secondary, seemingly better week to week, playing man and going after the offensive line with disguised blitzes may slow down the beast.
Bryce Petty is passing for 292.8 yards per game with 17 TD’s and 3 interceptions on the season. Shock Linwood averages 100 yards per game rushing (5.0 yards per carry) and has 9 TD’s. Surprise stat: Baylor’s redzone scoring rate of 76% is good for 105th in the nation.
For the first time in the Briles era, the defense deserves equal billing to the offense. Football outsiders currently ranks the Bears defense at 19th in F/+ (offense is 29th) and the Bears are allowing a stifling 4.4 yards per play (8th) and 3.1 yards per rush (10th). KU hasn’t seen a defense this effective since Duke, and we know how that turned out.
Keep an eye on RS freshman linebacker Taylor Young, against West Virginia he tallied 2 sacks, 3 TFL and 12 tackles. The freshman and senior linebacker Bryce Hager have been on a tear the last two games and will disrupt KU in both facets of the game.
Baylor holds at home during homecoming 45-3