GAME NOTES: The Baylor Bears will be playing for their postseason lives this weekend in Lawrence, meeting the Kansas Jayhawks in a Big 12 clash.
Baylor is coming off a dramatic 42-39 win over Missouri last weekend, posting nearly 700 yards of total offense in the victory. With a win over Kansas, the Bears can become bowl eligible for the second year in a row. It would mark the first time that the program qualified for a bowl two consecutive years since the 1991-1992 seasons.
Kansas lost 13-10 to Iowa State last weekend in Ames, and has now lost seven consecutive games. That includes an 0-6 skid in league play. Kansas is still developing youth and is inexperienced at many positions, but nonetheless, the Jayhawks have one of the worst defenses in the country and the offense has sputtered during the losing streak. Kansas will close the season with Texas A&M and Missouri following this weekend's game against Baylor.
Baylor leads the all-time series with Kansas, 6-4.
Baylor hung nearly 700 yards of total offense (686) on Missouri last weekend, and Robert Griffin III had another sensational game. Griffin threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns and added another rushing touchdown, while Terrance Ganaway rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries. Tevin Reese caught seven balls for 163 yards and a score, while Terrance Williams had another seven grabs for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
It was the type of complete performance that has defined the Bears' offensive juggernaut in 2011. The Bears are one of two programs in the country to average more than 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing per game. Baylor leads the country in passing efficiency (189.5), and is second in offense at 577.1 yards per game. Behind Griffin, who is second and third nationally in passing efficiency and total offense respectively, Baylor is averaging 362.5 yards passing per game, Ganaway is second in the Big 12 in rushing with an average of 105.5 yards per, and Kendall Wright is fifth nationally in both receptions (9.1) and receiving yards per game (121.3). Wright caught seven passes for 97 yards last weekend against Baylor.
The Baylor defense has been involved in track meets all season, and in the past three games Baylor as a team has given up 55, 59 and 42 points respectively. Missouri collected 578 yards of total offense last weekend, and were able to string together two late scoring drives in the fourth quarter that sent the game to overtime. Baylor allows 466.2 yards per game, which is 113th in the country; the Bears are 114th in scoring defense. The Bears average just five tackles for loss, including 1.6 sacks per game. Mike Hicks leads the team in tackles per contest, posting 7.8 stops.
Kansas' offense has produced just 10 points in the past two games, and registered 301 yards of total offense last weekend against Iowa State. That includes 174 yards rushing on 39 carries, with Darrian Miller rushing 17 times for 70 yards. Jordan Webb completed 13-of-21 passes for 127 yards.
Webb and Miller are the two of the main cogs in the Jayhawk offense, which averages 353.7 yards and 24.5 points per game. 188.4 of those yards come via the air, and Webb is ranked 33rd in the country in passing efficiency (142.3). Webb has thrown for 1,583 yards and 12 touchdowns against six interceptions this season, and his top receiver is D.J. Beshears, who hauls in 3.2 catches for 42 yards per game. James Sims averages 60 yards rushing per game, while Miller chips in 44 markers per contest. Kansas is eighth in the Big 12 in rushing, averaging 165.3 yards per game.
Kansas' defense has struggled to stay consistent in 2011, to say the least. But a week after Texas beat the Jayhawks 43-0, the unit showed marked improvement in a 13-10 loss to Iowa State. Despite, giving up over 400 yards of total offense to the Cyclones, Kansas came up with three turnovers and forced Iowa State to score just one touchdown in four red zone trips. Still, the numbers aren't pretty for this unit. Kansas is dead-last in the nation is total defense (541.3), and next to last in scoring defense (45.4). The Jayhawks allow 284 yards passing per contest, and are 117th in passing efficiency defense (161.03). Kansas is also 10th in the Big 12 in both sacks (.8) and tackles for loss per game (4.5). Steven Johnson has been a consistent player for the unit all year, and leads the Big 12 in tackles per game with 10.5.
This will be a mismatch from the start, even when considering Baylor's troubles on the road this season. This is one of the best passing attacks going against one of the worst secondaries in the FBS. Griffin and company will feast on this defense, and unless the Kansas offense can match the Bears in a shootout, Baylor will become bowl eligible in Lawrence.