After a long wait, the Jayhawk football team got back in the winning column. Before I get to this week’s game, let’s take a look back at the six things I was watching in the opener against Rhode Island.
Quarterbacks: Overall they did well with only one bad mistake. None of the quarterbacks separated themselves and so we’ll likely continue to see a shuffling between Cozart and Willis. Offensive Line: Two freshmen were among the starting five and the line did a good job. This will get tougher so hopefully they can continue to keep the quarterbacks upright and the backs running forward. Receivers: They did very well and one more weapon should play this week. Defensive Line: They didn’t play as well as I’d like, but two starters were unavailable. I hope we’ll see some improvement this week. Edge Defense: The defensive backs also got off to a good start considering their youth. They need to improve for Big 12 play. Special Teams: Kickoffs and punts went well. Placekicking still has a lot of room for improvement.
I was afraid my prediction for game one might be a little too optimistic and yet both the offense did better (points-wise) than I predicted. As a Jayhawk fan, I can only hope they continue to beat my predictions.
Think back to the Nebraska teams of old and you have a pretty good idea of the type of football you’ll see from Ohio. They may not have the talent from Nebraska teams of old, but they have similar offensive and defensive philosophies. Of course that is probably because their head coach, Frank Solich, is the former Cornhusker coach.
Ohio is going to want to run the ball with a more limited passing game. This makes the Jayhawk defensive line very important. Adding D.J. Williams and Marcquis Roberts should give the defense a little more firepower to plug up the holes and limit the Bobcats’ running game. Keep the drives short so that players don’t get worn down and it could be a banner day for the Jayhawks.
On offense, Jeremiah Booker will likely be added to the weapons at receiver. Extra available bodies on the line will help open holes and give the quarterbacks extra time to hit an open receiver. I don’t expect them to score as much as in the first game, but I do expect they’ll have success.
There were only four flags on the Jayhawks in the first game, but two of those four were very frustrating. Getting penalized on the first play of the game for delay of game is just unbelievable. Players had the entire offseason to be prepared for that play. Near the end of the first half, two timeouts were called to get the perfect fourth and one play. Then twelve men on the field move the ball back and a missed field goal followed. I do expect silly penalties like this will be cleaned up going forward.
Prediction: As the week started, the Jayhawks were nine point underdogs. A day later and the Jayhawks were favored by three. When a line moves like that, it is because money was being bet on the Jayhawks. Are the gamblers smart or are biased fans throwing away money? I’m once again going to predict the Jayhawks are going to beat the line. I’ll say Kansas 38 – Ohio 31.