History Says K-State Rolls KU Again

| July 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Cole Manbeck

Kansas State’s Third-Easiest game of 2014: The University of Kansas

 

Date: Nov. 29, 2014 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium

Head coach: Charlie Weis (4-20, 1-15 Big 12)

2013 record: 3-9 (1-8 Big 12)

Returning starters on offense: 8

Returning starters on defense: 7

 

The University of Kansas has posted a 3-40 record in Big 12 play over its last five seasons. The Jayhawks have lost 24 straight road games overall, including 22 consecutive losses on the road to Big 12 opponents. KU’s last Big 12 road victory came on Oct. 4, 2008, a 35-33 win at Iowa State. The Jayhawks have lost 46 games during the past five seasons, more than any team in the ACC, Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12 in that same time frame.

And on Nov. 29, KU travels to Kansas State to play a Bill Snyder-coached team. Snyder has defeated KU on 10 straight occasions in Manhattan by an average score of 33-9. The only time the K-State coach lost at home to KU came in 1989, his first year as the Wildcats head coach. Since 1993, a Snyder-led K-State team has won 17 of 18 games overall against KU.

Because of that futility, it’s hard to envision the Jayhawks putting an end to Snyder’s success against them in 2014. And it’s why we have deemed this game as K-State’s third-easiest contest of the 2014 season. But let’s put history aside and take a look at the 2014 Jayhawks, starting with the offense.

Jake Heaps, who struggled at quarterback last season, has left the program. Montell Cozart, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound sophomore, is the likely replacement for Heaps. Cozart had his redshirt pulled six games into the 2013 season, but his production didn’t warrant it. Cozart completed just 23 of his 63 passes, a 36.5 percent completion rate. Cozart also rushed for 214 yards on 66 carries.

KU’s quarterback and receiver play has been nothing short of a disaster during the Charlie Weis era. In 2012, KU ranked 113th out of 120 teams with 148 yards per game through the air. The Jayhawks ranked last nationally in passing efficiency. Last season wasn’t any better. KU ranked 117th out of 123 teams with 140 passing yards per game. The Jayhawks were 120th in the country with a completion percentage of 46.8 percent and ranked 121st out of 123 teams in passing efficiency. KU also ranked 117th in total offense with 294.5 yards per game. Over the last two seasons, the Jayhawks have averaged less than 17 points a game and during that time, their wide receivers have caught a grand total of four touchdown passes.

At receiver, KU returns a dynamic weapon in senior Tony Pierson. Pierson missed five games due to injury in 2013, but still led the team with 24 receptions and 333 yards receiving. Jimmay Mundine, a 6-2, 242-pound tight end, also returns for his senior season. Mundine ranked second on the team with 229 receiving yards and led the squad with five touchdown catches. But KU fans are likely most excited about the arrival of Nick Harwell, a 6-1, 193-pound senior who sat out last season after transferring from Miami (Ohio). In Harwell’s three seasons at Miami (Ohio), he caught 229 passes for 3,166 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Jayhawks’ struggling offense will be replacing running back James Sims. Sims ran for nearly 3,600 yards and 34 touchdowns during his four seasons in Lawrence. His backup, Darrian Miller, left the team after the 2013 season. Whoever the running back is will hope for an improved offensive line, which had issues upfront in 2013. KU ranked 93rd in the country with 2.50 sacks allowed per contest and only 3.7 yards per carry in the running game.

KU will be anchored by senior linebacker Ben Heeney on the defensive side of the ball. Heeney, a 6-0, 227-pound senior, has been named to the All-Big 12 Second Team each of the past two seasons. KU ranked last in the country in total defense in 2011 and 113th out of 120 teams in 2012, but the 2013 unit showed improvement. KU ranked 96th nationally and eighth in the Big 12, allowing 432 yards per game in 2013. KU’s pass defense ranked 66th in passing efficiency, but the Jayhawks struggled to stop the run, ranking 89th nationally at defending the run, yielding 191 yards a game.

KU has seven returning starters on defense, possesses talent in the secondary and at linebacker. If the Jayhawks can improve its run defense and generate more of a pass rush, they could be average on this side of the football in 2014.

However, average won’t get it done against K-State, especially in Manhattan. Expect the Wildcats to roll to another blowout of KU in 2014.

 

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