November 27, 2008

Tigers expect big effort from Kansas defense

The staple of the Kansas Jayhawks the last couple of seasons has been a stout defense. But in 2008, the statistics tell a different story. In 2007, Kansas gave up just 317 yards per game total and just 222.5 through the air. This year, those numbers have ballooned to 395.3 and 274.4, respectively. Kansas is eighth in the Big 12 in total defense and 11th against the pass.

"They've played three teams they didn't play a year ago that are pretty powerful football teams," said Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen. "Anybody that's played against Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech has not shut them down."

Indeed, the three South teams this year have hurt the Jayhawk defense. The Sooners, Longhorns and Red Raiders are three of the Big 12's top four in both passing offense and scoring offense. All three are in the league's top five in total offense.

In those three games, Kansas gave up 143 total points. The Jayhawks were also burned for 1,141 passing yards and 11 touchdowns through the air. Last year, against South foes Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, Kansas surrendered 678 passing yards and just 49 total points.

While the South teams may have skewed the Jayhawk statistics, it is not like Kansas is getting a break this week. The Tigers rank among the league's top four in scoring, passing offense and total offense. In two games as a starter against the Jayhawks, Chase Daniel is 2-and-0. He has completed 66-of-87 passes for 717 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions.

"They do a lot of things on the defensive side of the football that will cause problems," Daniel said. "The amount of coverages they do, they like to bring pressure, they play a nickel back against spread teams like this almost every play. They gave Texas some trouble."

Either way, the Tigers are ignoring the numbers. They expect nothing less than KU's best defensive effort of the season on Saturday.

"You know what?" Pinkel asked. "They always play well against us. I've been playing these guys for, this is my eighth year, and they always play well."

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