Through the first 9 weeks of the season, the Kansas Jayhawks’ offense was bad. Over the course of those 9 games, they only topped 20 points 3 times: Coastal Carolina, Duke, and Oklahoma. However, head coach Lance Leipold made a QB change in the Texas game that reinvigorated what looked to be a helpless offense. Sophomore QB Jalon Daniels took over the reigns in the Texas game, leading the Jayhawks to a shocking upset of the Longhorns. In the past two games with Daniels at QB, the Jayhawks have scored 57 points against Texas and 28 against TCU. WVU will have to contain the dynamic Daniels to ensure victory on Saturday. Below is a breakdown of how WVU can stymie the new-look Jayhawks’ offense and lead the Mountaineers to victory.
- Offensive line – the Jayhawks offensive line is not a particularly strong group. The WVU defensive line has done a great job all season against much stronger competition, and this matchup should be able to be exploited easily. Dante Stills will need continue his dominant play of late to wreak havoc in the Kansas backfield and rattle Jalon Daniels.
- Devin Neal – Devin Neal has been the hub of the offense all season, receiving 15 or more touches in 7 of the 11 Jayhawks game this season. The true freshman running back out of Lawrence, Kansas had up and down performances, but in games where he has rushed for more than 100 yards, the offense has been at its best. The WVU linebacker corp will need to ensure the lanes Neal has to run through are filled quickly and limit him to less than 4 yards per carry. While the next person the list has been impressive the past two weeks, I feel confident that the Mountaineers are best suited to take away the run game and prevent Kansas from controlling the pace of the game.
- Jalon Daniels – Jalon Daniels has been a revelation for Kansas. In the past two games, he has passed for more than 600 yards and 6 TDs while completing 69% of his passes. On top of that, he has been a threat on his legs, adding on 82 yards and 2 TDs. WVU has done a decent job at limiting running QBs this season. In addition to keeping a spy on him, it will be important to pressure Daniels. In the past two games, Daniels has only been sacked twice and hurried 3 times. Giving a young QB time to get settled and get into a rhythm is dangerous, and I look for the Mountaineer defense to get pressure early and often to quash the recent momentum Daniels has been riding.
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