How to win the Big 12’s West, and how to lose it
- by admin
Last week, Kansas was in the midst of a season that saw the Wildcats finish fourth in the Big XII in total offense.
In Kansas City, the Wildcats scored just 42 points and allowed 39 in the final seven games.
They also played a mediocre defense.
In a league where the offense is the number one concern, that defense has been downright bad.
Kansas State was actually a decent team, but the defense was far worse than expected.
Last year, Kansas had the best defense in the conference, allowing just 2.2 points per possession and allowing just 20.4 points per game.
This year, it’s a total disaster, allowing 2.8 points per play and allowing 28.6 points per contest.
The Wildcats are averaging just 23.1 points per home game, the worst mark in the nation.
On the road, Kansas has averaged just 18.6 per game, while averaging just 29.1 in the road conference.
On paper, Kansas State should be a pretty good team.
The Jayhawks are averaging 17.8 turnovers per game and giving up just 27.6, the second-best mark in school history.
They are averaging 9.7 field goals per game (25th nationally) and giving away 14.8, the fourth-worst mark in Big 12 history.
Last season, Kansas posted a 13-0 record in games decided by a touchdown or less.
This season, the Jayhawks have only won one of those games by a score of more than 20 points.
That comes against Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys are averaging 37.8 yards per play, which ranks 25th in the country.
Kansas is allowing 20.8 rushing yards per game to opposing running backs, which is just 0.4 yards per carry.
The Kansas defense is allowing just 15.7 yards per contest, which leads the nation in both categories.
The best thing the Jayhawks have going for them this year is that they have a very young quarterback.
Trevor Knight is the first quarterback to start for Kansas since Matt Campbell in 2012, and he is coming off a breakout campaign that saw him throw for 2,097 yards and 19 touchdowns in just 20 games.
Knight’s numbers look like they could be much higher, but he will have to do some work to turn things around.
He also has a very talented secondary, which has allowed just 11.6 sacks this year.
Kansas has been so bad in the air this season that it’s really hard to predict how far the Jayhawk defense will improve.
If Knight is going to have any success, it will be by throwing a lot more interceptions.
Kansas’s defense has allowed an average of 2.7 touchdown passes per game this year, and Kansas is averaging just 1.7 TDs per game on the ground.
If Kansas can get a few more turnovers, it could be a really good unit, but Knight is not a proven passer, and it’s hard to imagine Kansas winning a lot of games without him.
Kansas could still be a very good team, if they can just get a couple of really bad interceptions to fall apart and turn things on.
Last week, Kansas was in the midst of a season that saw the Wildcats finish fourth in the Big XII…