Kansas proved that the week-one blowout of Tennessee Tech was not a fluke due to the disparity in talent levels. The Jayhawks are now 2-0 and 1-0 in the Big 12 with a big road win under their belt and they’re putting up some series numbers in the process.
Not only is Kansas in an unusually good position two games into the year, but the way it’s happening is rare for this program. Time to crunch some numbers and flip through the history books.
The Jayhawks’ 2-0 start is the first time Kansas has gone undefeated in its first two contests in 11 years, when KU beat McNeese State and Northern Illinois to start the 2011 season. The 2011 team did not win another game all year.
Kansas has 111 points through two games, which the program has only accomplished three times since 1992. That 1992 team also scored 111 points in two games, while the 2007 team scored 114 points through two weeks. This equates to 55.5 points per game, which is No. 1 in the nation.
Lance Leipold earned his fourth victory as Kansas’ coach on Saturday and he did it in his 14th game. Turner Gill recorded his fourth win 13 games into his Kansas career, but would only go 5-19 overall. It took Charlie Weis 22 games to reach four wins (he went 6-22 overall), David Beaty reached four wins in 38 games (he would go 6-42 in four years), and finally Les Miles never made it there, being fired after a 3-18 tenure.
Kansas has scored 16 touchdowns in these first two games, which is the most by the Jayhawks through its first two contests since 2000. The 2007 team scored 15 and only seven KU teams (including this year) in the last 22 years have scored at least 10.
As Zac Boyer of the Lawrence Journal-World pointed out, the Jayhawks’ Big 12 opening win was the first since 2009 and the first time KU opened conference play with a road win since 2008. That was a 35-33 win over Iowa State in Ames.
As part of the offensive explosion, the Jayhawks have rushed for 497 yards so far, which is the 14th most in the country (out of 131 teams). But what is more impressive is that KU has done this with the fewest rushing attempts of the top teams (66), its 7.5 yards per attempt are third best, and the 10 rushing TDs are tied for second with Air Force only behind Minnesota.
Building on the offense, explosion is an apt description for this Kansas team. The Jayhawks are averaging 8.1 yards per play, which is fifth most nationally, only behind Maryland, USC, Michigan, and TCU. And KU has done it in the fewest plays (114, seven fewer than Lincoln Riley’s USC Trojans).
Kansas’ rush defense has not been a strength since the days of Mark Mangino. But 2022 has been a different story so far, even against a West Virginia team that ran for 190 yards against Pitt. KU hasn’t allowed less than the 239 rushing yards its given up this year since 2017 and this is only the third time since 2010 that Kansas has allowed less than 250 yards rushing through two games.
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