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(Steve Puppe photo)
Phog.net Senior Writer
Posted Oct 1, 2011
Kansas football started the season in splendid fashion, winning their first two games for the first time in the Turner Gill era. Now, after a bitter 66-24 loss at Georgia Tech on Sept. 17, the Jayhawks have had a bye week and looking to regroup heading into their Big 12 opener against Texas Tech on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Kickoff is 11 a.m. (CT) for the Homecoming game with the contest televised on Fox Sports Net.
Gill feels KU (2-1) has had some great preparation and is very focused heading into battle.
“We really have improved this week and that’s what I like to see,” Gill said.
The KU coach expects a very festive and spirited game.
“Homecoming is obviously always a special weekend as far as a lot of people coming back and being a part of KU alumni,” Gill said. “Players and fans throughout the whole country will be here so I know that is going to be very good to be ready to play a great game this week.”
(3-0) comes into Lawrence with victories over Texas State (50-10), at New Mexico (59-13), and a thrilling win over Nevada (35-34) at home last Saturday.
The Red Raiders are led by quarterback
, one of the nation’s top signal callers who’s completed 89 of 115 passes (77.4 percent) for 949 yards and 11 touchdowns with no interceptions this year. Doege’s favorite target is receiver Darrin Moore, who’s caught 21 passes for 339 yards, an average of 113 yards per game.
Tech is averaging 338.7 passing yards per game, but also added an improved running game this season and averaging 184.7 rushing yards per contest. Eric Stephens leads the ground attack with 61 carries for 344 yards, an average of 114.7 yards per game.
The Red Raiders rank No. 9 nationally in total offense (523.3 yards per game) and No. 7 in scoring offense at 48 points per contest.
Gill believes Tech will be a huge challenge.
“We know they are very good at throwing the football and now that they are able to run the ball, we have to make sure we are always able to stop the run and slow down the passing game,” Gill said. “Doege is a guy that is very talented with a very good arm. He gets the ball where it needs to be and does a good job putting the ball down the field. Occasionally, he’ll take off running and he can hurt you with his legs, but he can do a lot more things with his arm.”
Defensively, Tech runs a 4-2-5 scheme and has allowed 410 yards of total offense per game and 19 points per contest.
KU will be buoyed on defense with the return of senior defensive tackle Patrick Dorsey, who missed the first three games with a broken toe suffered in August. Before his injury, Dorsey was projected to have a major impact this season. He started 11 games last year and recorded 27 tackles, including four for loss and one sack.
Gill is thrilled to have Dorsey back for a defense that gave up 66 points two weeks ago to
“He’s an experienced player and has some skills that can make plays for us,” Gill said. “At the D-line, you have to be able to get off blocks and make plays and I think Dorsey will give us an opportunity and help us in that phase.”
The Jayhawks have put the Georgia Tech game in the past and ready to move on after a bye week, where the team looks poised, healthy and refreshed heading into their Big 12 debut Saturday on Homecoming.
“I don’t think (the bye week) could have come during a better week,” senior defensive end
said. “After such a disappointing loss, we needed a bye week to help to build guys’ confidence. It helped us to get our injured guys back to being healthy, so that is definitely a plus.”
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