Kansas Set for No. 3/4 Baylor

Notes Link Kansas Notes
Tickets Link Purchase Tickets for Saturday
Stats Link View Live Stats

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Head coach David Beaty and the Kansas football team return home, Saturday, Oct. 10,  to Memorial Stadium, as the Jayhawks welcome in No. 3/4 Baylor to open up the conference home slate. Kickoff against the Bears is slated for 11 a.m., and can be seen on Fox Sports 1.

Kansas and Baylor will meet for just the 15th time in the history of the two programs with the Bears leading the all-time series 10-4. The two schools first met Sept. 18, 1971, when the Jayhawks shutout BU, 22-0, in Lawrence. KU holds a 4-3 mark in games played inside Memorial Stadium, including a 58-10 rout of the Bears Oct. 13, 2007, the team’s last victory over BU. Since that game, Kansas has lost five-straight contests to Baylor, including two played in the confines of Lawrence.

Baylor is averaging a FBS-best 63.8 points-per-game after accumulating 130 first downs (70 by rush, 55 passing and five penalty). The 745.3 yards-per-game of total offense the Bears average leads the FBS, while they rank third in third-down efficiency converting 54.2-percent of their tries. BU uses a balanced attack to keep defenses off balance, averaging 376.8 yards-per-game on the ground and 368.5 yards-per-game in the air. Through four games, Baylor has racked up 1,507 rushing yards and 1,474 passing yards, scoring 36 touchdowns. When it comes to scoring, the Bears hold a 151-point advantage over their opponents, outscoring them 101-to-31 in the second half alone. BU also relies on a quick start to get its offense rolling, scoring 90 points in the first quarter of its games.

Baylor enters Saturday’s contest allowing opponents to 26.0 points-per-game and has given up 88 first downs (35 rushing, 43 passing and 10 penalty). Opponents have found success airing the ball out as BU gives up 253.8 yards-per-game passing compared to 144.0 yards-per-game on the ground. Teams have completed 85-of-140 passes for 1,015 yards and eight touchdowns. BU’s third-down defense has held opponents to just 23 first downs on 59 tries with a conversion rate of just 39 percent. When opponents reach the red zone, they have scored 10-out-of-12 times, including eight touchdowns. Teams have taken advantage of the defense in the first half, scoring 73 points through the first two quarters compared to just 31 in the final half.

After rebuilding Baylor football to an elite national level, any question of whether Art Briles could sustain the Bears’ program among the nation’s football powers was erased in 2014 – as BU repeated as Big 12 champion and finished seventh nationally. Behind the nation’s top offense (again led FBS with an average of 581.5 total yards and 48.2 points) and with a remarkable home-field advantage (16 straight wins in Waco) in its new state-of-the-art on-campus riverfront McLane Stadium, Briles’ Baylor squad powered to an 11-2 record, a second-straight Big 12 crown, came within a whisker of earning a berth in the inaugural College Football Playoff (fifth in final CFP rankings), earned a New Year’s Day Six bowl berth in the Cotton Bowl and spent all but two weeks of the season ranked in the top 10. Briles was recognized as a finalist for 2014 coach of the year honors by the Bobby Dodd Trophy and Eddie Robinson Award, and was named the 2014 Big 12 Coach of the Year by the Waco Tribune-Herald. The Bears’ back-to-back Big 12 championships are only the second such achievement in league history (first since OU in 2006-08), and Baylor’s consecutive New Year’s Day bowl berths are a first in school history. Briles mentored a league-high 10 players who received 2014 AP Big 12 honors, led by five All-Americans: linemen Spencer Drango (OT) and Shawn Oakman (DE), Bobby Bowden Award-winning QB Bryce Petty, breakout receiver Corey Coleman, and veteran linebacker Bryce Hager. Briles’ unique coaching skill set falls into the category of elite quarterbacks evidenced by the highly-successful collegiate passers he has mentored, including Robert Griffin III (Heisman Trophy winner Baylor/Redskins), Case Keenum (Houston/Texans), Kevin Kolb (Houston/Eagles) and Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech/Jets). As the head man at Houston from 2003-07, Briles posted a 34-28 record with the Cougars and guided them to four bowl games. He ranks as the program’s third-winningest head coach. Briles was a former Texas High School Coaches Association president and has spent his entire coaching career in the state of Texas.

Kansas – widely considered to be among the youngest teams in college football – has played 33 players who have donned the Crimson and Blue in a game for the first time this season. The 33 players include 11 true freshmen, 13 transfers (junior college/four-year college) and nine redshirt freshmen. In keeping with the youth movement, KU has had a total of 25 players earn their inaugural start as a Jayhawk through the first four games of the 2015 campaign.

KU has produced multiple interceptions in each of its last two outings. Juniors Greg Allen and Courtney Arnick each snagged a pick against Rutgers (Sept. 26), while Allen and junior Marcquis Roberts grabbed one each at Iowa State (Oct. 3). The last time KU put together back-to-back games with two or more interceptions was the final game of the 2011 season with three INTs against Missouri, followed by four interceptions in the 2012 season-opener versus South Dakota State. In a single season, the last time KU stole at least two passes was in 2007 when the Jayhawks accomplished the feat in five-straight contests.

The Jayhawks picked up their first defensive points of the season when junior linebacker Marcquis Roberts intercepted his first career pass and returned it 83 yards for a score at Iowa State (Oct. 3). Roberts’ touchdown marked the first interception returned for a score by a Jayhawk since JaCorey Shepherd returned a pick 32 yards for six against TCU in 2013. Additionally, Roberts was the first KU non-defensive back to score on an interception since defensive end Max Onyegbule in KU’s 44-16 win over Duke in 2009.

Junior safety Fish Smithson and freshman cornerback Tyrone Miller, Jr., have been the steady workhorses in the Kansas secondary averaging 9.0 tackles-per-game through the first four contests. The duo has combined for 72 total stops and rank fourth on the Big 12 charts with 36 tackles apiece. Miller ranks second among freshman in the league in stops-per-game, 0.4 behind Texas Tech linebacker Dakota Allen (9.4). Among freshmen defensive backs, Miller, Jr., ranks first, 1.6 ahead of Texas Tech’s Jah’Shawn Johnson. Of his 36 stops, Smithson has recorded 27 solo tackles, averaging 6.8 unassisted-per-game which ranks 10th in the nation and first in the Big 12 Conference. Miller’s 6.0 solos-per-game ranks him fourth in the Big 12 and 22nd in the nation. Miller has also led Kansas in tackles 2-out-of-4 games this season. The last true freshman to lead Kansas in total tackles in two or more games in a season was Huldon Tharp in 2009.

The Jayhawks continue their two-game homestand as they play host to Texas Tech, Saturday, Oct. 17, at Memorial Stadium. The contest will serve as the team’s Jayhawks for a Cure game and can be seen on Fox Sports 1 at 11 a.m.

KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.