Jayhawks Trek to West Virginia for Conference Road Matchup
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas travels to West Virginia in what will mark the first game at the helm of the Jayhawk program for interim head coach Clint Bowen. KU and WVU will be facing each other for the fourth time in program history with the Mountaineers owning a 2-1 advantage in the series. Bowen, who has been a part of the KU program for 19 years, including 16 as a coach, is looking to lead the Jayhawks to their first Big 12 win of the 2014 season. West Virginia, who is coming off a bye week, features an explosive offense under head coach Dana Holgorson. The Jayhawks and Mountaineers will kick off at 3 p.m. (CT), with a live broadcast on FOX Sports Net.
- Kansas owns a 578-591-58 all-time record entering Saturday’s game versus West Virginia.
- Clint Bowen is the second interim head coach in Kansas program history. He is the first KU assistant to be named the interim head coach since Tom Hayes served as the interim head coach for the final three games of the 2001 season.
- Kansas is playing its fourth-straight mid-afternoon game. The Jayhawks kicked off at Duke and at home against Central Michigan at 2:30 p.m. (CT) and faced Texas at 3 p.m., in last week’s outing.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS FOOTBALL HISTORY
Kansas is 14-3 all-time in games played on Oct. 4. The Jayhawks have won five-straight contests on this date in KU football history with a 35-33 win at Iowa State in 2008 marking its last time playing on Oct. 4. Kansas hosted Abilene College on Oct. 4 1896 in the first game played on this date in KU history, winning 6-0. Kansas’ win at Iowa State on Oct. 4, 2008 marked its last Big 12 Conference road win.
KANSAS-WEST VIRGINIA CONNECTIONS
Kansas has not recruited any current player from the state of West Virginia. However, West Virginia currently fields two members of its roster that have a background in the state of Kansas. Mountaineer running back Dreamius Smith is a native of Wichita, Kansas, and was a former enrollee at KU before attending Butler Community College with KU’s Michael Glatczak, Dexter McDonald, Aaron Plump and Andrew Yoxall. WVU defensive back Jaylon Myers was a product of Hutchinson Community College along with linebacker Beau Bell from Kansas. Mountaineer junior tight end Garrett Hope and Kansas freshman wide receiver Tyler Patrick both hail from The Woodlands, Texas and share the alma mater of The Woodlands High School. Also from the same Lone Star State cities are Mountaineer kicker Josh Lamber and KU defensive lineman Lay’Trion Jones, who both attended Garland High School. Georgia Military College has been very kind to both programs, supplying a total of five players to the two schools. WVU linebacker Brandon Golson and wide receiver Mario Alford were Bulldogs along with current Kansas defensive lineman Keon Stowers and offensive linemen Keyon Haughton and Devon Williams. West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen holds a 3-2 career mark as a collegiate coach against Kansas. He is 1-1 at WVU, and is 2-1 against the Jayhawks from assistant coaching stops at Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
SCOUTING THE WEST VIRGINIA OFFENSE
The West Virginia offense is primarily an air raid team that looks to toss the ball around and rack up the passing yards, evidenced by the fifth-best passing numbers in the country. The Mountaineers haven’t thrown the ball less than 41 times so far in four games this season. Head coach Dana Holgorsen and his up-tempo style have allowed WVU to run more than 88 plays each week and his quarterbacks have racked up more than 355 passing yards in every game so far. West Virginia has scored 150 points on the year, highlighted by running up 66 total points in four second quarters averaging out to 16 points in each second quarter played. The Mountaineers are averaging at least one touchdown in every quarter played this year. Led by senior quarterback Clint Trickett, West Virginia has totaled 114 first downs, 41 by rush and 67 through the air. Trickett leads the Big 12 Conference with 1,600 passing yards, averaging out to 400 yards per contest. On the year, Trickett is has completed a nation third-best 72 percent of his passes going 126-of-175 passes and has only thrown three interceptions compared to nine touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Kevin White leads the conference in receptions – his 42 total catches are 10 more than the next best number. His 633 yards are also the most in the conference by 114 yards as he averages 158.2 receiving yards per game. Trickett also leads the conference and ranks fourth in the country in total offense with 1,580 yards.
SCOUTING THE WEST VIRGINIA DEFENSE
The WVU defense is allowing 28 points per game and has given up 77 – 33 by rush and 39 through the air. WVU’s defense is susceptible to the run, allowing opponents to run for an average of 198 yards on the ground so far this season. Through the air, the Mountaineers have given up 823 yards and are holding opponents to a 56 percent completion rate. Opponents have had little success scoring in the opening quarter of games, as the Mountaineers have only allowed six total points in the opening period. The second quarter tells a different tale as WVU has given up 58 total points in the second quarter. Junior safety Karl Joseph leads the team with 37 tackles, which is fourth in the conference at 9.2 stops per game. Junior linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski leads the defense with 4.0 tackles for loss this season. Sophomore cornerback Daryl Worley leads the team with two interceptions. The Mountaineer defense leads the conference in opponent fourth down conversion percentage, holding opponents to 0-4 on the season. When opponents manage to drive the ball into the red zone on WVU, they have a 10-10 success rate scoring eight touchdowns and two field goals in 2014.
WEST VIRGINIA HEAD COACH DANA HOLGORSEN
A collegiate coach for 21 years, Dana Holgorsen has a three-year track record as a head coach going 21-17 in that span. An accomplished offensive coordinator, Holgorsen is regarded as one of the nation’s brightest offensive minds, often orchestrating offenses that rack up yards through the air each week. Holgorsen has commanded the offensive schemes at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State where he coached TTU quarterback Graham Harrell to nation-leading total offense numbers. The same season, Red Raider wide receiver Michael Crabtree won the Biletnikoff award as America’s top receiver after leading the country in receptions and receiving yards per game. At Houston, Holgorsen mentored quarterback Case Keenum to gaudy offensive numbers in 2008 and ’09 where he averaged over 400 yards per contest, which also led the country. During a one-year stop at Oklahoma State in 2010, Holgorsen once again dialed-up explosive offensive plays that helped the Cowboys lead the nation in total offense and finish second in passing offense and third in scoring offense. Oklahoma State averaged 520.23 yards per game and 44.23 points per game that season including a 597-yard performance against Kansas where they averaged 7.2 yards per play. After accepting the job as West Virginia’s head coach, Holgorsen has once again commanded lethal offenses led by quarterback Geno Smith and Tavon Austin in 2012. Both were finalists for some of college football’s most prestigious awards and were drafted in the early rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Kansas was kept off of the scoreboard for the first time all season. KU was last held scoreless in a 34-0 loss against Iowa State in Ames, Iowa, on Nov. 23, 2013. Including Saturday’s 23-0 loss, Texas is now responsible for two of the last three times KU hasn’t been able to get on the scoreboard. The Longhorns preserved a 43-0 shutout on Oct. 29, 2011 in Austin.
- Junior wide receiver Nigel King hauled-in a season-long 26-yard reception near the end of the second quarter.
- Sophomore quarterback Montell Cozart tossed a career-high four interceptions. The last time a KU quarterback threw four interceptions in a single game was Kerry Meier in a 37-31 loss to Toledo Sept. 15, 2006.
- Senior wide receiver Nick Harwell set a Kansas career-high in receptions with five catches for 39 yards.
- Junior running back De’Andre Mann toted the ball a career-high 17 times for 83 yards.
- Kansas forced three fumbles on the day. The last time a KU defense forced three or more fumbles was Oct. 26, 2013 when the Jayhawks caused Baylor to cough up the ball a total of five times.
- When Ben Heeney recovered the Texas fumble near the end of the first quarter, it was the senior linebacker’s first career fumble recovery.
- Heeney turned in the 14th double-digit tackling performance of his career finishing the game with a team-high 10 stops.
- Freshman cornerback Matthew Boateng recorded a pass breakup midway through the second quarter giving him four defended passes on the season. Boateng’s fourth PBU also gave the freshman at least one pass breakup in each of the first four games.
- Junior defensive lineman Andrew Bolton forced the first fumble of his career late in the third quarter. Texas maintained possession by recovering the loose ball.
- Bolton also posted career-high marks in tackles (5), TFLs (2.5) and sacks (0.5) against the Longhorns.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
- Senior punter Trevor Pardula averaged 41.3 yards on six punts, including a long of 51 yards, giving him 34 career punts of 50 yards or more in just his second season as a Jayhawk.
- With 23 seconds remaining in the first half, Texas lined up for a 48-yard field goal attempt. The try was blocked by Kansas junior linebacker Jake Love – the first of his career and the first blocked kick by the Jayhawks this season. Junior defensive lineman Ben Goodman was the last Jayhawk to block a field goal attempt in KU’s victory over West Virginia, Nov. 16, 2013.
RED ZONE DEFENSE
The Kansas defense has tightened up once allowing opponents to enter the red zone. The Jayhawks rank third in the Big 12 and 30th nationally after holding opponents to just a 75 percent scoring rate once they encroach the 20-yard line. Kansas has allowed opponents in the red zone on 12 occasions through the first four games, holding them to six touchdowns on those 12 trips.
Following Saturday’s game at West Virginia, Kansas will host Oklahoma State in Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 11. The Jayhawks and Cowboys will kick off at 3 p.m. (CT), with a live broadcast on FOX Sports 1. Kansas will be taking on Oklahoma State for the 65th time in the history of the two programs. The Cowboys lead the Jayhawks, 32-29-3, all-time and, 18-15-1, in games played in Lawrence. OSU has won four-straight games in the series.
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