On Saturday, two evenly matched teams in the 2019 season will take the field inside Memorial Stadium at 3:30 p.m. CST. Typically on far ends of the spectrum when comparing the football programs, this year has seen both Kansas and West Virginia endure similar experiences to its respective records of 2-1.
For the Mountaineers, they managed to sneak out with a 20-13 victory over James Madison in their opening weekend as the Jayhawks narrowly beat Indiana State, 24-17. In week two, the West Virginia offense sputtered in the mud, notching only one touchdown and 171 yards of total offense in a loss to Missouri. Later that night, Kansas scored once and dropped a stunner to Coastal Carolina.
Last Saturday, in a matchup with North Carolina State, West Virginia’s offense suddenly found its groove, piling on the points in a 44-27 route of the Wolfpack. The day before, the Jayhawks overcame the three-touchdown line and trounced Boston College, 48-24.
The last time Kansas beat West Virginia was in 2013, and the Jayhawks remain a 4.5-point underdog heading into Saturday. With the high expectations back on the shoulders of coach Les Miles, his players aren’t going to let the betting lines get in the away of their performance on Saturday.
“As you can see, it’s all predictions based on what happened last week,” senior wide receiver Daylon Charlot said. “In college football, anything is possible. So, we don’t pay attention to that. We just go out there and play the best we can.”
After breaking a prolonged record last week, claiming its first Power-Five road win in 11 years, Saturday will bring another chance to snap a streak that’s lasted a decade. It hasn’t been since 2009 that Kansas opened conference play 1-0. The Jayhawks haven’t started better than 2-1 in that same amount of time. When asked about how hungry this makes him, junior linebacker Dru Prox was emphatic in his answer.
“We are starving,” Prox said on the possibility of the best start since 2009. “We are really trying to show the Big 12 and every other major conference that we are a major team. I think so far, we are off to a good start. We’re definitely not where we wanted to be at this point. We wanted to be coming into this thing 3-0. I know a lot of people are looking at Coastal Carolina like it was a bad loss, but I am looking at it like that’s what we needed. I hate that it had to happen, but it happened. It humbled us.”
Displaying the one blemish on the overall record, the Jayhawks have a true chance of Saturday being its first substantial home crowd in quite some time. However, as Miles discussed his confidence in the home crowd’s ability to be loud for the upcoming game, that possibility doesn’t appear to be as far-fetched as it seemed a week ago.
With the expectations from Miles grabbing most of the attention, another player had a message for those contemplating the idea of going to the game on Saturday.
“Just show up,” junior wide receiver Kwamie Lassiter II said with a grin. “That’s what we want. Just show up.”