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KU clinging to positive signals

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, at 12:09 a.m.
  • Updated Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, at 7:55 a.m.

No. 12 Kansas State at Kansas

When: 11 a.m. Saturday

Where: Memorial Stadium, Lawrence

Records: KSU 6-0, 3-0 Big 12; KU 2-4, 0-3

Radio: KLIO, 1070-AM; KWLS, 107.9-FM: KFH, 1240-AM, 98.7-FM

TV: FSKC, Ch. 34

Three things about K-State

1. Collin Klein ranks third nationally among quarterbacks with a rushing average of 96.3 yards.

2. K-State's defense has a knack for making big plays. Through six games, it has 10 interceptions and has recovered three fumbles.

3. Bill Snyder has won 14 of his last 15 games against KU.

Three things about KU

1. The Jayhawks have faced a team with an undefeated record in every game and will do so again Saturday.

2. KU's defensive backs recorded six pass break-ups against Oklahoma last week, which is the most since last year's Oklahoma State game.

3. Tim Biere is on the midseason list for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation's top tight end.

Key matchup

K-State QB Collin Klein vs. KU LB Steven Johnson. Klein has carried 138 times for 578 yards and 10 touchdowns, keeping defenses honest with his legs. Johnson is tied for the Big 12 lead with 63 tackles, and it will be his job to shed blocks and make sure Klein doesn't get going.

Kellis Robinett's pick: K-State, 38-14

After four straight close games, K-State will be able to play its backups late and celebrate a stress-free victory.

J. Brady McCollough's pick: K-State, 35-24

The Jayhawks will play inspired football but won't get enough offense against a K-State defense that is playing with confidence.

LAWRENCE — The Kansas defense may be struggling at a historical rate, but the Jayhawks showed in their last game against Oklahoma that there could very well be hope in their reinforcements.

KU played three freshmen in a 47-17 loss to the Sooners, removing the redshirt tag from linebacker Collin Garrett, who joined defensive end Michael Reynolds and safety Victor Simmons as first-year Jayhawks who will now be expected to make an impact.

Simmons, who had been playing on special teams until last week, made his presence felt in the second quarter when he forced and recovered a fumble at the Oklahoma 25-yard line.

"It felt great," said Simmons, an Olathe North graduate. "I got a lot of calls from hometown friends that are OU fans and KU fans. It made me feel good about myself."

Garrett didn't come away with a huge play like Simmons, but the experience was special for him and his family back in Beaumont, Texas.

"My mama always wanted to see me play on TV," Garrett said. "It was exciting for her and for me. I think for all of us, being able to come in from high school to such a big level of football is exciting."

KU defensive coordinator Vic Shealy was pleased by what he saw from the freshmen.

"The biggest thing is we saw guys that athletically looked as fast as the game was being played," Shealy said. "And OU is so fast. But I felt like our kids played fast and were able to match some tempo."

Now KU's youngsters will get to play in their first rivalry game against Kansas State.

"They told me they like to run the ball and to buckle up my chinstrap and be ready," Garrett said.

Check J. Brady McCollough's KU blog at blogs.kansas.com/jayhawk. Reach him at jmccollough@wichitaeagle.com.

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