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West Virginia vs Kansas - Season 128, Episode 4 - The Sad Hatters

The Kansas Jayhawks are heading to Morgantown - can the Mountaineers take care of business and keep the momentum rolling?

NCAA Football: Baylor at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

WHEN/WHERE

Time: 12:00pm EST

Date: October 17th, 2020

Venue: Mountaineer Field, Morgantown, WV

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN

TV: FOX

Radio: Click HERE for a complete list of radio affiliates in West Virginia. If you live outside of the state, or don’t live close enough to a radio affiliate, you can listen to the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG on TuneIn Radio. We will also include the stream in our game thread, which will go live at 11:00 AM ET.

SiriusXM Satellite Radio will also be broadcasting the game on channel 81 on both Sirius and XM branded radios.

Streaming: FoxSports app

DEGENERATES UNITE

Spread: WVU -22.5

Over/Under: 51.5

THREAD WATCH

Good guys:

The OG kit - Real Deal Neal givin' the people what they want!

KNOW THE ENEMY

2020 Record: (0-3). The Jayhawks have gotten off to a rocky start in 2020, including a 38-23 defeat at the hands of ***checks notes*** Coastal Carolina?

Series History: (8-1). The Mountaineers have won six straight against Kansas dating back to 2014, but last year's 29-24 win in Lawrence was a bit too close for comfort. West Virginia will be looking to reassert their dominance this Saturday.

Head Coach: Les Miles. Miles is in his second year in charge of the Jayhawks, and to put it mildly, things aren't going great. They went 3-9 a year ago and have started 2020 with a trio of blowout losses and a covid outbreak. There's no doubting the Hatter's championship pedigree, but it was never going to be easy to turn things around in Lawrence.

Offensive Coordinator: Brent Dearmon. Dearmon is now in his second year in charge of Les Miles' offense after a quick stop at Bethel University that saw his Wildcats led the nation in scoring. He took over the OC job midway through the 2019 season and immediately boosted the Jayhawks' offensive production, averaging 400 yards and 24 points per game over the season's final six games.

Defensive Coordinator: DJ Eliot. Eliot is also in his second year in Lawrence following a brief stop at Colorado. He had a rough first year in charge that saw the Jayhawks finish at or near the bottom of the conference in most relevant statistical categories.

WHEN WE HAVE THE BALL

Key players: S Kenny Logan Jr, S Davon Ferguson, LB Denzel Feaster, LB Dru Prox, DE Caleb Sampson

If you were going to label one side of the ball as the Jayhawks' "strength", it'd have to be their defense, though it's important to remember that everything is relative. They're starting nine upperclassmen, so there will be a lot of familiar faces over there even if more than half are starting for the first time.

Schematically they're a three-down front and will deploy three safeties and a bandit-type linebacker to show multiple looks behind it. The defensive line doesn’t generate a ton of productivity (only 15 TFL and 3 sacks as a team), but end Caleb Sampson and nose tackle Sam Burt are both good players. Linebackers Prox and Feaster have several years of solid football between them, as well. Their most active guys though are probably safeties Kenny Logan Jr. and Davon Ferguson.

What to watch: How well are we picking up their extra box defenders?

Our offensive line has done ok so far this year against opposing defensive fronts, but has struggled a bit picking up linebackers and safeties against both the run and the pass. Amen Onbongbemiga and Terrell Bernard had consecutive great games against us from Dru Prox's Will linebacker position, so I have to figure getting to him will be a priority this week. We'll also need to pay special attention to the aforementioned safeties when they venture into the box - they lead the Jayhawks in tackles and Ferguson especially is good against the run. If we can handle those three guys when running and continue trending up against blitzes in the passing game, expect yards and points to come in bunches.

WHEN THEY HAVE IT

Key players: RB Pooka Williams, RB Velton Gardner, WR Kwaime Lassiter

Problems abound for the Jayhawks offensively. New starters at quarterback and along the offensive line haven't hit the ground running, and through three games the Jayhawks are averaging just 14.7 points and 296 yards per game, both of which are comfortably last in the conference.

This is not to say they don't have any talent. Pooka Williams returns off of back-to-back 1000 yard seasons and wide receivers Andrew Parchment and Kwaime Lassiter both gave us problems last year. It's just that the infrastructure around those guys has crumbled relative to where it was even a year ago. Neither of QBs who've gotten significant snaps this year have been very effective as passers or runners, and the offensive line has already allowed 15 sacks and 33 TFL. Not exactly a recipe for success.

What to watch: Can we control the line of scrimmage with our front six?

The Jayhawks haven't had much offensive success so far this year, but they're committed to running the ball (57% run this year despite constantly playing from behind) and are at their most dangerous when they can get that going and then hit big plays in the play action passing game (see Parchment's first touchdown last year). If we're able to take care if their running game with a light box and leave five defensive backs available to defend the pass, I really don't know how they hurt us.

FINAL THOUGHTS/PREDICTION

There's really not much to say here, gang. All signs point to this being the worst Jayhawk squad we've seen in a few years, and I'll be disappointed if we don't treat them accordingly. Let's go.

West Virginia 44 - 10 Kansas