Friday Preview: Jayhawks look to shock West Virginia

The Kansas Jayhawks travel to Morgantown this weekend to face off against No. 20 West Virginia. This is a big game for both schools. Kansas is looking to avoid its 40th straight road loss, or at least avoid getting embarrassed yet again. West Virginia is looking to rebound from its first loss of the season on the road last weekend against Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers are 34.5-point favorites, and many think they should be able to dominate the Jayhawks.

A Look at Kansas

The Kansas basketball team recently played its first exhibition game, and the school’s fans have already turned their attention to the hardwood. It is hard to blame them, as their football team has been in shambles for the better part of a decade. Kansas’ football has a 1-7 record this season, and it just lost 56-3 at Oklahoma last weekend.

Much of the problem with KU this year has been turnovers. The Jayhawks are second to last in the country in turnover margin. However, they have shown they can stay competitive with good teams. They took TCU to the wire and kept the game close most of the way against Oklahoma State before fading late. They will need an inspired performance to break their long road-losing streak against a very tough West Virginia team.

A Look at West Virginia

Before last week’s setback against the Cowboys, Mountaineer fans were dreaming of making a run at the College Football Playoff. That dream is almost surely over now, but they still have a chance to go to a big bowl game.

The thing that cost West Virginia dearly last weekend was something it has excelled at the rest of the season, which is taking care of the football. The Mountaineers had three turnovers in their loss, but they should feel good about their chances of winning the turnover battle against a KU team that is as bad as it gets in that department. In just eight games this year, the Jayhawks have already committed a whopping 27 turnovers.

Key Matchups

Kansas DE Dorance Armstrong, Jr. vs West Virginia LT Adam Pankey

Armstrong has been the highlight of a miserable season for KU fans. The sophomore pass rusher from Texas is explosive off the edge, using his speed to lead the Big 12 in tackles for loss and sacks. Pankey will have his hands full trying to keep him out of the backfield. If Armstrong is able to create havoc, he may be able to create turnovers and give his team a chance.

West Virginia QB Skyler Howard v Kansas Defense

Howard had his first bad game of the season last week, and his two costly interceptions were a key reason the Mountaineers lost. He will look to bounce back against a Jayhawks defense that should make it easy for him.

Steven Callahan is a contributor for Rock Chalk Blog. You can check out his archive here.