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Kansas to test WVU’s conference power

By Staff | Sep 22, 2017

AP photo West Virginia wide receiver Gary Jennings (12) catches a touchdown pass as Delaware State defensive back Keyjuan Selby (20) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 16, in Morgantown.

LAWRENCE, Kan. – It has to be a time fraught with trepidation at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

Why? It’s time for another conference football schedule to land on the Rock Chalk Jayhawks.

In its last six seasons in the Big 12 Conference, Kansas has a 3-51 record against league opposition.

Although it hasn’t been winless against non-conference teams, the Jayhawks haven’t fared much better in those games.

Between 1997-2001, Kansas suffered through five losing seasons.

Turner Gill went 5-19 in his two seasons of leading the Jayhawks in 2010 and 2011.

Charlie Weis, the one-time offensive coordinating guru of the New England Patriots and head coach at Notre Dame, tried his hand at leading Kansas from the football doldrums. Charlie was 5-22 overall when removed from his position four games into the 2014 season.

Kansas posted an 0-12 record in 2015 and was 2-10 in 2016. Just last week, it was a two-touchdown loss in Athens, Ohio to Ohio University.

Now it’s West Virginia’s turn to attempt to launch an offensive bombardment on Kansas.

It’s West Virginia’s first conference game of the 2017 season following a close loss on a neutral field to Virginia Tech and romps in Morgantown against winless East Carolina and winless Delaware State.

Kansas might be a good place to start conference play.

Oklahoma and high-scoring Oklahoma State are both unbeaten. Texas Christian didn’t lose in the non-conference part of its schedule. Kansas State absorbed a disappointing 14-7 loss to Vanderbilt. Texas, which fell at home to Maryland 51-41, in its season opener, was much better last week in a double overtime loss at Southern California.

Baylor is just plain bad, but Iowa State has shown some fight so far. Texas Tech has the same little-defense team it has shown for years.

The Mountaineers weren’t silky smooth in either of their two home games. Can they effectively run the ball against a team that has more quality players than either East Carolina or Delaware State?

Disheveled special teams and ordinary offensive line play were all too evident in the last two games.

Can West Virginia’s usual three-man defensive front find enough pressure to bother the most effective of Big 12 quarterbacks?

Even with its 2-1 overall record the Mountaineers haven’t proved much.

Disjointed play has emerged as a theme in their three games to date.

To show meaningful improvement, the Mountaineers must provide some disruption from its defensive front eight, get 150 yards on the ground, show an able punter and place kicker, don’t get penalized more than 65 yards, pressure an opponent’s passer so that the defensive secondary isn’t completely exposed and keep its offense on the field to minimize any opponent’s possessions.

Not many of the concerns listed above were answered, especially against Virginia Tech.

It might be that Kansas is as ordinary as thistles and Johnson grass in an overgrown and neglected farm field, but the Jayhawks will be playing with emotion and first-half intensity against West Virginia.

This is not a time to look to coast home with a “let somebody else do it” mentality.

Kansas is near-bad and can be shelled by a motivated team. Will West Virginia be a motivated team?