FACTS & STATS: Site: Milan Puskar Stadium (60,000) — Morgantown, West
Virginia. Television: FoxSports Network. Home Record: Kansas 2-1, West
Virginia 1-1. Away Record: Kansas 0-1, West Virginia 1-0. Neutral Record:
Kansas 0-0, West Virginia 0-1. Conference Record: Kansas 0-1, West Virginia
0-1. Series Record: West Virginia leads, 2-1
GAME NOTES: The Kansas Jayhawks begin the post-Charlie Weis era Saturday when
they travel to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers in a Big 12 matchup.
Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger made the decision to fire Weis this
past Sunday, one day after the Jayhawks dropped a 23-0 decision to Texas to
fall to 2-2 this season.
Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, a Kansas alum, was named interim head
“I normally do not favor changing coaches mid-season,” said Zenger in a
statement Sunday. “But I believe we have talented coaches and players in this
program, and I think this decision gives our players the best chance to begin
making progress right away.”
Weis was in his third season with the Jayhawks and had two years remaining on
his contract. Kansas was 1-11 in Weis’ first season, including 0-9 in the Big
12, and 3-9 overall last year with a 1-8 conference mark.
This season’s squad has victories over Southeast Missouri State and Central
Michigan, but has been outscored 64-3 in its losses to Duke and Texas.
Last Saturday against Texas, Montell Cozart had a game he’d like to forget for
Kansas, completing 12-of-31 passes for 140 yards with four interceptions in
the shutout loss. De’Andre Mann carried the ball 17 times for 83 yards to lead
The Jayhawks offense is averaging just over 15 ppg this season, gaining an
average of 359 ypg. Such horrid offensive output was crying for a change.
Mann averages 73.8 yards per game on the ground, while Cozart has completed
just 50 percent of his passes for 651 yards with five TDs and seven picks. As
a result, no receiver is having a breakout season. Tony Pierson leads the
program with 12 catches for 155 yards.
The defense is surrendering 25.5 ppg and 385 ypg. Senior linebacker Ben Heeney
leads the defense with 43 tackles. He also has 4 1/2 sacks, which is a half
sack shy of the team leader Jake Love, a junior linebacker. Senior cornerback
Dexter McDonald leads the team with two interceptions. As a squad, the
Jayhawks have only four picks.
West Virginia isn’t going to be fooled into relaxing against Kansas, which
will likely struggle under an interim coach.
“We’ve got the film, we know who their players are; we know their personnel,”
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “Basically the coordinators are
intact and will be continuing to do the same things. We’d have to guess in
order for it to change (their preparation) and we’re not very good at that so
we will continue to attack what we’ve tried to do last week as well.”
The last time the Mountaineers took the field, they lost to then fourth-ranked
Oklahoma in their conference opener, 45-33, back on September 20.
In that game, Clint Trickett’s air attack struck for 376 yards and two scores
on 25-of-41 passing with two interceptions for the Mountaineers (2-2, 0-1).
Kevin White led all receivers with 173 yards and a TD on 10 catches, and Mario
Alford added 101 yards and another score on seven grabs. Rushel Shell and
Dreamius Smith posted rushing touchdowns in defeat.
For the season, the Mountaineers are averaging 37.5 ppg on 551.5 ypg. the
passing game is doing most of the damage with nearly 402 ypg.
That means that Trickett is having a big season, completing 72 percent of his
passes for 1,600 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. White is
the biggest benefactor of the passing attack, hauling in 42 catches for 633
yards with three scores. Alford adds 28 receptions for 307 yards with four
Shell leads the modest rushing game with 267 yards and three touchdowns.
On the defensive side, West Virginia is allowing 28.8 ppg and 404.2 ypg. The
letdown against a really good Oklahoma team alters those numbers.
Karl Joseph leads the team with 37 tackles, while Brandon Golson had a team-
best 1.5 sacks for the year. Daryl Worley had two of the three picks for the
Don’t expect Kansas to put up much of a fight against the Mountaineers, who
have won two of three all-time against the Jayhawks. Even with the coaching
change, which could serve as motivation to the players, West Virginia appears
to be a much better, more balanced team than the Jayhawks. Kansas doesn’t have
much of an offense, especially one that can keep pace with the Mountaineers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: West Virginia 45, Kansas 20