Kansas running back Tony Pierson (3) is pulled down by Rice safety Julius White (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas Football Travels To Baylor Saturday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas (1-7 overall, 0-5 Big 12) will look to pick up its first Big 12 win of the season when it travels to Baylor (3-4, 0-4 Big 12), on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 2:30 p.m. The Jayhawks and Bears will be meeting for the 12th time in program history, with Baylor leading the all-time series 7-4. The game will air live on Fox Sports Net.
What To Watch For ...
• BU has won two-straight in the series, including a 31-30 overtime win over KU in Lawrence in 2011. The Bears own a 5-0 mark vs. KU in games played in Waco.
• Kansas’ last win over Baylor came in 2007 with a 58-10 win in Lawrence.
• KU trails the all-time series vs. BU in Big 12 contests, 5-3.
• Kansas ranks 13th in the NCAA in red zone defense--holding its opponents to just a 69% success rate in the scoring zone. The Jayhawks rank first in the Big 12 in red zone defense.
• Kansas has had a 100-yard rusher in six of eight games this season. Three different players have accomplished the feat, with James Sims (Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas) and Tony Pierson (South Dakota State and Rice) having done it in more than one game. KU ranks 40th nationally in rushing offense and fourth in the Big 12.
• KU is 9-7-2 all time in games played on Nov. 3. KU first played a game on Nov. 3 in 1894, suffering a 18-14 loss at Iowa. KU’s last outing on Nov. 3 came in 2007 with a 76-39 win over Nebraska.
• Saturday’s game versus Baylor will mark KU’s eighth-straight national broadcast as the game will air on FSN.
• The Jayhawks have an all-time record of 573-577-58 (.498 winning percentage).
Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis
Charlie Weis (Notre Dame, 1978) is in his first season at the Kansas helm, after being named the University’s 37th head football coach on Dec. 9, 2011. Weis, who is 1-7 in his first season at the helm of the program, arrived at Kansas after spending the 2011 season as the offensive coordinator at the University of Florida. Prior to that he spent the 2010 season in the same position for the Kansas City Chiefs, where he helped guide the team to a playoff appearance and mentor three Chiefs players to Pro Bowl Honors. Weis came to KC after spending five seasons as the head coach at his alma mater, Notre Dame. During his five seasons in South Bend, Weis compiled a 35-27 mark, leading the Irish to back-to-back BCS Bowl Games in 2005 and 2006. Weis has coached 16 years in the NFL and owns four Super Bowl rings, three as the offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots (2001, 2003, 2004) and one as a defensive/special teams assistant with the New York Giants (1990).
Baylor Head Coach Art Briles
Now in his fifth season at Baylor, Art Briles has led the Bears back to national prominence. Under Briles, the Bears became a 10-win team that boasted a Heisman Trophy winner behind center in 2011 and won their first bowl game since 1992 with a 67-56 win over Washington at the Alamo Bowl. Baylor was ranked in the Top 25 in both polls to end the year. Briles was named head coach at Baylor prior to the 2008 season, and after a pair of 4-8 campaigns took the Bears to their first bowl game in 16 years where they took on Illinois in the 2010 Texas Bowl. Briles came to Baylor after five years at Houston (2003-07), where he rebuilt the Cougars’ program. In the four years before his arrival, the Cougars won a total of eight games, compared to 34-28 in the five years under Briles. In 2006, Briles earned Conference USA and Sportexe Division I Coach of the Year honors. Prior to accepting the head job at Houston, Briles was the running backs coach at Texas Tech from 2000-02 under then-head coach Mike Leach. Briles was a very successful high school head coach in the state of Texas, serving as a head coach at Hamline High School (1984-85), Georgetown (1986-87) and Stephenville (1988-99), where he won back-to-back 4A Division II state titles in his final two years.
Baylor Scouting Report
Baylor enters Saturday’s contest with a 3-4 record, including an 0-4 mark in Big 12 play. The Bears opened the season with wins over SMU, Sam Houston State and Louisiana-Monroe. BU has since dropped four-straight outings to Big 12 foes West Virginia, TCU, Texas and Iowa State--three of which were on the road. The Bears tout the NCAA’s top passing offense, throwing for 395.7 yards per game. Senior QB Nick Florence is the arm behind the Bears’ high powered attack. Florence has completed 173-of-268 passes on the season, good for 2,652 yards and 22 touchdowns. Florence has also rushed for four TDs and leads the NCAA in total offense with 414.1 yards per game. Terrance Williams is his top target with 60 receptions for 1,203 yards and nine TDs. Williams ranks first in the NCAA in receiving yards per game at 171.9 and is fourth in receptions per game with 8.6. Lanear Sampson is the Bears’ second most productive receiver with 38 receptions for 474 yards and five TDs, while Tevin Reese has hauled in 30 catches for 585 yards and five TDs. Jarred Salubi leads the BU rushing attack with 430 yards and three TDs on 98 attempts. Bryce Hager leads the Baylor defense with 70 tackles on the season, including 37 solo stops. He also has 5.0 TFLs for a loss of 17 yards and two forced fumbles. Ahmad Dixon is second on the team in tackles with 67. Dixon has 3.5 TFLs for a minus 13 yards and one interception that he returned 14 yards. Aaron Jones leads all Bears in scoring as he has made all 38 of his PATs and has also made 8-of-12 field goal attempts with a long of 44 yards.
Kansas has 35 players on its roster from the Lone Star State. KU freshman TE Jordan Shelley-Smith is from nearby McGregor, Texas and KU redshirt freshman QB Michael Cummings hails from Killeen, Texas--which is not too far from the Baylor campus. Baylor does not field any Sunflower State natives on its roster. Baylor’s roster does feature three former high school teammates of current KU players. BU’s Dominique Banks teamed up with KU WR D.J. Beshears and DE Josh Williams at Ryan HS (Denton, Texas). BU’s Lanear Sampson was teammates with KU WRs Daymond Patterson and Ricki Herod at North Mesquite HS (Mesquite, Texas). BU’s Darryl Stonum and KU CB Tyree Williams both suited up at Dulles HS (Stafford, Texas).
Sims A Workhorse For Jayhawk Offense
KU junior HB James Sims has hit the ground running after missing the first three games of the 2012 season due to a suspension. Sims has rushed for an average of 124.4 yards per game in the five games since he returned to action. If he was permitted in the NCAA and Big 12 rankings (must have participated in 75% of team’s games to be included), Sims would rank 10th nationally and second among Big 12 players. Sims had a career-best rushing performance in KU’s loss to Texas as he turned 28 carries into 176 yards, including a career-long 64 yard dash in the second quarter. He has eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in four-straight games for the first time in his KU career.
Kansas Defense Tightens In Red Zone
The Jayhawk defense is holding its opponents to just 69% on their trips to the red zone. Kansas’ defense has allowed its opponents to enter the red zone on 36 drives, but have given up just 20 touchdowns and five field goals. Kansas ranks 13th nationally in red zone defense. The Jayhawks’ red zone defense ranks first in the Big 12.
KU Keeping The Flags To A Minimum
Kansas ranks third nationally in penalty yards per game, being flagged for an average of 28.25 yards per game, which is tops in the Big 12. It also ranks third nationally in penalties per outing with 3.63 flags thrown per game against KU, which ranks tied for first in the Big 12 with league leader Kansas State.
Pierson Making His Way Back
Kansas sophomore halfback Tony Pierson made his presence felt against Texas with with 12 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown. Pierson had a long run of 18 yards in the loss. He left the Kansas State game with an elbow injury late in the first quarter and did not return. He missed the entire Oklahoma State and saw limited duty at Oklahoma before returning to form against Texas. Considered KU’s “homerun hitter” on offense, Pierson is averaging 5.1 yards per carry on the ground and has 15 catches for 198 yards and a TD.
The Jayhawks will play their second-consecutive road game in the state of Texas when they travel to Lubbock to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday, Nov. 10. Game time is slated for 11 a.m., with a live broadcast on Fox Sports Net.