To open up conference play, Kansas will take on the West Virginia Mountaineers at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Searching for its best start since the 2009 season, Kansas will try to knock off West Virginia for the first time since 2013.
With both teams coming off blowout victories, the outcome seems up in the air at this point. Regardless, the Jayhawks are a four-point underdog heading into Saturday. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.
West Virginia Mountaineers: 2-1, Big 12 (0-0)
Senior cornerback Hakeem Bailey - ★ ★ ★ ★
One of the few returning starters for West Virginia, Bailey is off to a great start to his senior year. He is currently tied for fifth in the Big 12 in passes defended. Saturday should be a busy day for Bailey as he will be tasked with defending Kansas junior wide receiver Andrew Parchment and the rest of Kansas' receivers.
Redshirt junior quarterback Austin Kendall - ★ ★ ★
Kendall has had an up-and-down start to the year. The former Oklahoma Sooner threw three touchdowns and two interceptions through the first two games but looked much better last week against NC State. He finished with 27-for-40 for 272 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in a 44-27 win over the Wolfpack.
Senior running back Kennedy McKoy- ★ ★
Through the first three games, West Virginia has struggled to get much going on the ground. McKoy, the Mountaineers’ lead back, has carried the ball 28 times, averaging a lackluster 2.78 yards per carry. Look for West Virginia to turn to McKoy more after Kansas gave up 228 rushing yards to Boston College last week.
Kansas Jayhawks: 2-1, (0-0)
Junior wide receiver Andrew Parchment - ★ ★ ★ ★
Dubbed “AP” by his teammates, Parchment blew up the box score in last week’s victory over Boston College. Collecting eight catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns, the 6-foot-2 junior notched his second game with over 100 yards receiving this season.
Ranking fourth in the Big 12 with 6.3 receptions per game and seventh in receiving yards with 78.3, Parchment has emerged as a consistent offensive weapon for senior quarterback Carter Stanley.
Senior linebacker Najee Stevens-McKenzie - ★ ★ ★
After a quiet game against Indiana State in which he did not appear in the box score, Stevens-McKenzie has been very active on the Kansas defensive front-line over the past two weeks. Tallying two tackles for a loss against Coastal Carolina and five tackles (two solo, three assisted) in the win over Boston College, the senior has become another bright spot on the fifth-best scoring defense in the Big 12.
Sophomore linebacker Jay Dineen - ★ ★
The brother of former Kansas defensive standout Joe Dineen Jr., the sophomore saw an increase in playing time at Boston College, recording four tackles. Dineen’s ability to contribute in stifling the run-game of the Eagles resulted in the Jayhawk defense pitching a shutout in the second half.
As the Mountaineers continue to struggle in finding stability in the run game, ranking last in the conference at just 79 yards per game, Dineen and the front seven will have to find a way to limit the passing attack of West Virginia if it hopes to keep the Mountaineers in check.
Beat Writer Predictions:
Jakob Katzenberg: Kansas 38, West Virginia 30
Jack Johnson: Kansas 27, West Virginia 24