The Kansas Jayhawks are not a good a football team. Actually, they’re a terrible football team. Sitting at 0-2 on the season, they lost 38-23 to Coastal Carolina before getting slapped 47-14 against Baylor last weekend. Needless to say, I expect Oklahoma State to finally figure out some things on offense and hopefully put up big numbers.
Still, Kansas is a Division I school, and despite not being a quality team, they have some quality athletes. Keeping these guys from having an impact will be key to a big win for Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Pooka Williams, RB
The junior running back has been less than impressive through two games this season, rushing for just 143 yards. Part of the low total can be attributed to leaving the season opener with an injury, so he has split time in the backfield with teammates. He’s rushed the ball just 26 times, and he’s scored 2 of the Jayhawks’ 5 total touchdowns so far this season.
The fact that he hasn’t been given a heavy workload yet is what makes me nervous. Williams is fresh off his second consecutive 1000-yard rushing season, and he’s more than capable of going off for over a hundred yards in a game. He hasn’t had much success against the Cowboys the last two seasons, but Oklahoma State needs to be aware of Williams any time he sets foot on the field.
Velton Gardner, RB
The sophomore running back is small in stature, but he’s been a big playmaker for the Jayhawks so far this season. Gardner has run the ball 25 times for 151 yards, almost identical numbers to Pooka Williams, but for just one touchdown.
I’m not sure if Kansas head coach Les Miles is committed to a running back by committee mentality, but if he is, then Gardner can not be forgotten. Small but fast, Gardner already has a 61-yard run under his belt this season.
The Cowboys defensive front has been stiff so far, so shutting down the Jayhawk backfield should be a priority. If it’s not Pooka Williams back there, it will likely be Velton Gardner, if not both, and Oklahoma State has to keep eyes on both guys.
Kenny Logan Jr., S/KR/PR
Despite being listed second on the depth chart at the safety position, the sophomore defensive back has emerged as a key part of the defense for Kansas so far this season. Through two games, Kenny Logan Jr. leads the Jayhawks in tackles with 14, and he has the only sack for the team. The Jayhawks don’t exactly have a stout defense, but expect to see Logan’s name called a lot on Saturday.
On top of playing defense, Logan is also second on the depth chart as a kick returner and punt returner. He’s only returned one kick so far this season, and Kansas hasn’t returned a single punt, but he could still end up making an impact as the Jayhawks will likely be receiving a lot of kickoffs.