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Kicking the Tires: KU Jayhawks

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For the first time in ... well, a long time, K-State and KU face off with identical records.

Kansas State v TCU Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Life got in the way the last couple weeks. It got in the way this week, too, which is why I’m typing this at 11:30 p.m. on Friday night.

Anyway, K-State is a wreck right now and KU is, well, KU but now with a lame-duck coach. Both teams are 3-6 and they face off tomorrow in Manhattan with a forecast temperature at kickoff of approximately freezing. Are you hyped yet???

Players to Watch

K-State

Passing: Skylar Thompson, 87-155-3, 995 yards, 6.4 yards/attempt, 5 TDs, 110.6 yards/game

Rushing: Alex Barnes, 174 carries, 918 yards, 5.3 yards/carry, 9 TDs, 102.0 yards/game

Receiving: Isaiah Zuber, 41 receptions, 496 yards, 12.1 yards/reception, 3 TDs, 55.1 yards/game

KU

Passing: Peyton Bender, 125-225-2, 1,336 yards, 5.9 yards/attempt, 10 TDs, 167.0 yards/game

Rushing: Pooka Williams, Jr., 116 carries, 711 yards, 6.1 yards/carry, 4 TDs, 88.9 yards/game

Receiving: Steven Sims, Jr., 37 receptions, 360 yards, 9.7 yards/reception, 3 TDs, 40.0 yards/game

There really isn’t a lot to say about this one. I have no idea who will play at quarterback for K-State on Saturday. Skylar Thompson was hurt early against TCU last week and didn’t return. Alex Delton was hurt for a lot of the year and may be hurt again. There’s a non-zero chance we see Hunter Hall take snaps tomorrow!

KU isn’t very good on offense, or defense for that matter. If they do anything well, it’s that they force turnovers on defense and protect the ball on offense. Seriously, KU is third nationally in turnover margin. It’s hard to believe you can be +15 in turnover margin and be 3-6. And a soft 3-6, at that.

Advanced Stats

Those are some tall bars, y’all.

Strangely, or maybe not, neither team has many clear advantages. K-State is almost certain to prevent any big plays by KU’s passing game. But KU’s run game could break some big gains. Everything else will come down to execution and preparation. Just exactly what you expect to see in spades from teams that are a combined 6-12 and playing in freezing cold.

Conclusion

Bill Connelly’s S&P+ projects K-State to win this game by 11, thereby covering the -10 spread. I wouldn’t bet on this game with Morse’s money. KU just fired head coach David Beaty, while K-State has had a thoroughly disappointing season, has a coach who may retire (voluntarily?) after the season, and is coming off a bitter loss against TCU, after which Bill Snyder apparently threw leading receiver Isaiah Zuber under the bus for fumbling a punt.

Whatever, guys. Just beat KU.

Wildcats 17, Jayhawks 14