WACO, Texas – Fourth-year Kansas coach David Beaty won a total of three games in his first three years as Jayhawks head coach. He can match that total in the span of just three weeks with a win in Saturday afternoon's Big 12 Conference opener at Baylor.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1 LINE: Baylor -7.5
The Jayhawks have been one of the early surprise stories of the season, opening with a shocking 26-23 overtime home loss to FCS opponent Nicholls to drop Beaty's record in Lawrence, Kan., to 3-34 with two of those wins coming over FCS foes Rhode Island and Southeast Missouri State. But the Jayhawks have made a stunning turnaround in the last two weeks, winning at Central Michigan, 31-7, to snap a 46-game road losing streak and then blowing out the Big Ten's Rutgers, 55-14, at home, the team's largest margin of victory over an FBS school since a 58-10 win over Baylor in 2007. Now Kansas, which has won back-to-back games over FBS opponents for the first time since 2009, will try to make it three in a row against a Baylor squad that started 2-0 but was soundly defeated at home by Duke, 40-27, last weekend. "I've gotten to know coach Beaty quite a bit," Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. "I think he's a class act and what he's done there, taking over a program with all the roster issues and turnover they've had. ... What they did against Rutgers on Saturday, they've done a great job. He's doing it the right way, rebuilding that program. It will be a heck of a test on Saturday."
ABOUT KANSAS (2-1, 0-0 Big 12)
A big reason for the turnaround has been turnovers. The Jayhawks are plus-12 in turnover margin -- which leads the FBS with 13 takeaways and just one turnover of their own -- and they forced six turnovers in the win over Rutgers including a pair of pick-6's by safety Mike Lee and linebacker Bryce Torneden. Running back Pooka Williams, who missed the opening loss because of eligibility questions, is the first freshman in Jayhawk history to rush for back-to-back 100-yard rushing games to open his career and has 283 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries (8.7 avg.) to lead the offense.
ABOUT BAYLOR (2-1, 0-0)
The Bears have forced just two turnovers while losing four which puts the spotlight on that category heading into Saturday's game. "Until we win the turnover battle we're not going to win," Rhule said. "We as coaches have stressed that, but it hasn't worked at the level we need it at." Rhule hasn't decided whether he'll play both sophomore Charlie Brewer (45-of-75, 641 yards, 3 TDs, one interception, 69 yards rushing) and North Carolina State transfer Jalan McClendon (23-of-35, 95 yards, 3 TDs, one interception, 56 yards rushing) at quarterback or stay with just one against Kansas.
1. Kansas has lost 38 consecutive Big 12 road games dating back to a 35-33 victory at Iowa State on Oct. 4, 2008.
2. Jayhawks senior LB Joe Dineen Jr. leads the Big 12 and FBS in solo tackles (8.7 per game) and ranks third nationally in total tackles (13.3 per game).
3. Baylor leads the series with Kansas 13-4 and has won the last eight by an average of 37 points.
PREDICTION: Baylor 31, Kansas 21