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2018 Season

Kansas Finding Success With Their Run Game

Getty Images - Ed Zurga

On Saturday, Kansas got their first back to back wins in nearly a decade as they demolished the Rutgers Scarlett Knights, 55-14. This game also marked the first time they scored over 50 points on an FBS opponent since the November 6, 2010 win against Colorado.

It might have been a win against the worst program in the Big Ten Conference, and possibly the power five, but there were a couple of key positives from this game, and it looks like head coach David Beatty has the program heading back in the right direction. It’s quite the turnaround from their week one disaster against Nicholls.

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They Are Finding Consistency In The Backfield

Coming into the season, Kansas had several running backs capable of making big plays, and now a highly touted freshmen that picked the Jayhawks over LSU, Nebraska and TCU is running through the competition. Freshman Pooka Williams has busted onto the seen the last two weeks.  He followed up last week’s 125-yard game against Central Michigan with 158 yards on 18 carries over the weekend. In just two games, he leads the Big 12 in rushing with 288 yards.

Williams finishing the play for six!

While Pooka has brought a spark to the offense. However, you can’t forget about Deron Thompson and Khalil Herbert, because if you do, they will burn you.

A paper bag might have given the Jayhawks more resistance as they ran for a whopping 400 yards on the day. With a questionable passing attack, Kansas’ rush attack will be key to their success in Big 12 play.

RUSH LEADERS CAR YDS AVG TD LONG
Pooka Williams Jr 18 158 8.8 1 52
Deron Thompson 3 70 23.3 1 55
Khalil Herbert 2 64 32.0 1 59
TEAM TOTAL 48 400 8.3 4 59

DEFENSE! DEFENSE! DEFENSE!

I expected the Kansas defense to be the backbone of this team with two preseason defensive All Big 12 selections, in defensive lineman Daniel Wise and linebacker Joe Dineen. The Jayhawk defense didn’t disappoint. For the second week in a row, they forced six turnovers. That’s a +12 turnover margin, which ranks first in the country. They forced three interceptions, two for touchdowns, and three fumble recoveries against Rutgers.

They held Rutgers to just 274 total yards on the day and 5-14 on third down. The defense is playing aggressive and fast.

I know it was just Rutgers, but IF the Jayhawks can continue to lean on the running game and rely on their defense turnovers, they may scare some teams in the Big 12. And if quarterback Peyton Bender can make some of the throws to keep the defense on their heels, they might do more than just scare some teams.

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