Here is everything you need to know about the Kansas State Wildcats and the Kansas Jayhawks in our Kansas State vs. Kansas preview.
11 a.m. Central Time, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kansas
Radio: Kansas State: K-State Sports Network; Kansas: Jayhawk Radio Network.
Records: Kansas State: 5-3 (2-3 in Big 12); Kansas: 1-7 (0-5 in Big 12).
Ranking: Kansas State: None; Kansas: None.
Last week: Kansas State: beat TCU, 31-12; Kansas: lost to Oklahoma State, 55-3.
DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah: At one point against TCU, it looked like Anudike-Uzomah might have matched an NCAA record for most sacks in a game. He was credited with six sacks at one point, which would have matched three other Division I players. But, two hours after the game, the NCAA — yep, the NCAA — said, ‘Uh, no.’ Apparently because two of the sacks resulted in fumbles that crossed the line of scrimmage, those weren’t sacks. They were actually QB rushes. Well, whatever. This guy is still a nightmare for Big 12 offensive linemen. And his four sacks did at least tie a K-State record. He now has 10 sacks this season and is now two sacks from breaking the single-season school record.
RB Deuce Vaughn: The explosive running back just keeps doing great things for the Wildcats. Against TCU last week, he had 158 yards from scrimmage, including 109 rushing yards and 49 receiving yards. Vaughn also scored two touchdowns. Vaughn has 1,055 scrimmage yards this season (704 rushing and 351 receiving) and 12 total touchdowns. In his 18 career games, Vaughn has had at least 100 scrimmage yards 13 times — including each of the last 10 games dating back to last year — and he ranks third nationally among active players in career all-purpose yards per game (126.44).
QB Skylar Thompson: The experienced quarterback is a bit part of the Wildcats’ turnaround this season. In his last four games, Thompson has thrown for 1,074 yards, seven touchdowns and just two interceptions while completing 70.4 percent of his passes. The Wildcats are glad to have him back from the injury that robbed him of a few games earlier this season.
RB Devin Neal: Sometimes you just have to trust youth, and that’s what the Jayhawks have done with their true freshman back. He now leads KU in rushing after starting the last five games. He’s also put together a pair of 100-yard rushing game, coming against Duke and Oklahoma. He boasts a solid 4.4 yards per carry average and he scored twice against the Sooners. That game against OU was a big one. He was the third true freshman to rush for at least 100 yards and score at least two touchdowns against Oklahoma since 2000. Kansas is building for the future. The Lawrence, Kansas, product, is turning into a big part of it.
S Kenny Logan II: It’s not a pretty season overall for Kansas, but Logan is having quite the campaign. He’s one of two players in the nation that has at least 65 tackles, at least six passes defended and multiple forced fumbles. With 66 tackles, he managed his first tackle-for-loss for the season against Oklahoma State last weekend. He leads the Big 12 in solo tackles (5.6 per game) and is in the Top 12 nationally. He’s also in the Top 13 in the nation in kickoff returns (26.9 yards per return). Logan is carving out a place for himself with NFL scouts.
WR Kwamie Lassiter: Lassiter keeps making adjustments to the Kansas record book this season. He is now ninth all-time on the Kansas career reception list with 119. The No. 8 spot is will within sight, as Clark Green is at No. 8 with 122. Lassiter’s career receiving yards entering Saturday’s game, 1,254 yards, is in the Top 20 all-time and he passed Charles Gordon last weekend against OSU. For the season, Lassiter has 30 receptions for 357 yards and one touchdown.
The Wildcats have won their last two games against Texas Tech and TCU. In each case, the opposing team fired (Matt Wells) or parted ways (Gary Patterson). It sure looks like K-State is a coach killer, though first-year Kansas coach Lance Leipold likely doesn’t have too much to worry about, seeing as how he’s new to Lawrence. Between Anudike-Uzomah’s stunning game against TCU and the Thompson-Vaughn connection, the Wildcats have bounced back from their 0-3 start to Big 12 play and only need a win against the Jayhawks to cement bowl eligibility. The Wildcats were certainly hoping for more this season. But they’ll take clinching no worse than a .500 regular season with West Virginia, Baylor and Texas remaining on the schedule.
Since its season-opening win over South Dakota, the Jayhawks have lost seven straight. Now, they’ve had some moments along the way. The biggest moment was nearly beating Oklahoma at home before the Sooners pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 35-23 win. You can start to see pieces of this program beginning to come together, but there are going to be games like Saturday’s 55-3 loss to the Cowboys. The Jayhawks weren’t going to sneak up on OSU after nearly beating OU. Offensively, Kansas has had 25 plays go for 20 yards or more in eight games. In nine total games last year, the Jayhawk offense had just 16 total plays of 20 or more yards. Defensively The Jayhawks rank 14th in the country in forced fumbles per game at 1.13 per game. At this point, it’s the little things that head coach Lance Leipold and his staff have to point to in order to build on for 2022 and beyond.
Prediction: Kansas State 37, Kansas 30
Kansas probably deserves one more win this season, but I don’t think it will be this week (I have my eye on TCU in two weeks). But, the Jayhawks have enough firepower to keep this thing close. K-State has a bowl berth at stake and great momentum going into this one. I think Deuce Vaughn has another great game and the Wildcats outlast the Jayhawks.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.