Following a difficult road trip against Oklahoma State, the West Virginia Mountaineers will return home to take on the Kansas Jayhawks. WVU has won four out of five all-time meetings between the two schools with the only Kansas victory coming in 2013 when the Jayhawks defeated the Mountaineers 31-19 in Lawrence.
In the 2015 matchup, the Mountaineers steamrolled the Jayhawks to the tune of 426 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns on their way to a 49-0 victory. Skyler Howard, Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell all rushed for over 100 yards as the WVU offensive line put on its best performance of the season.
Game #8: Kansas Jayhawks
As you can tell by the schedule above, 2015 was a season to forget for the Jayhawks. Aside from a season-opening 41-38 loss to South Dakota St., an FCS team, the closest margin of defeat was a 23-17 loss to TCU that had a lot to do with Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson being hurt. Beaty has a tall task ahead of him in 2016 just to win a game or two.
Kansas Offense: Where Are The Points Going To Come From?
The Jayhawks’ offense only scored more than 20 points twice in 2015, and none after the second week of the season. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Willis is expected to be the starter in 2016 with redshirt junior Montell Cozart mixing in to add some athleticism.
Kansas’ top receiver in 2015, Tre Parmalee, graduated and the next closest guy returning is Steven Sims Jr. who recorded 30 catches for 349 yards. It’s unlikely that the Jayhawks will suddenly develop an explosive passing game which immediately puts the team at a disadvantage in the Big 12.
Top rusher Ke’aun Kinner does return, but he only racked up 566 yards on 134 carries in 2015. In addition, the offensive line has a number of question marks surrounding it heading into the season which likely means that the Jayhawks are headed for another porous year in 2016.
Kansas Defense: Worst In The Country
As bad as the Kansas offense was in 2015, the defense was even worse. In fact, it was the worst defensive unit in the country. The Jayhawks gave up a whopping 561 yards and 46 points per game in 2016 and allowed eight different opponents to score at least 40 points.
The Jayhawks’ strength, if you can call it that, on defense will be the linebackers as Marcquis Roberts and Joe Dineen both return to anchor the unit. Fish Smithson is also a very solid safety, but there are still so many holes on the Jayhawks’ defense.
Prediction: Mountaineers Win Handily
Even if WVU lets its guard down a little bit following the road trip to Stillwater, the team should have no problems beating Kansas by at least 25. The Jayhawks just can’t get any recruits to come to Lawrence because they can’t win and they can’t win because they don’t develop talent real well. It’s going to be a long time before Kansas even reaches a bowl game.