Inside Jayhawk Nation

September 10, 2009 2:45 AM

KU ready to do the Texas UTEP

The Kansas Jayhawks play their first road game of the season Saturday when they take on the UTEP Miners in El Paso, Texas.

To say the Jayhawks struggle on the road is like saying Kansas fans don't like Missouri. In fact, the 'Hawks have not won a road non-conference game in the regular season since defeating Wyoming 42-35 Sept. 13, 2003.

Last year the only road victory for the Jayhawks came at Iowa St., a game they trailed 21-0 at one point. Winning at UTEP, despite the Miners falling against Buffalo last week, would be a small step in the right direction for the Jayhawks.

Sure, a victory isn't going to make the opening highlight on SportsCenter, but it was a road non-conference game that derailed the Jayhawks' season a year ago.

A heart-breaking 37-34 loss in the third week of the season against then No. 19 South Florida seemed to take the wind of out of Kansas' sails. That was, until the final game of the year when they took all of their anger out on a frustrating season by defeating Mizzou, 40-37 at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Miners rely heavily on the passing game, which saw nine players catch at least one pass in week one, but had two rushing touchdowns in the loss to Buffalo. A game that was once labeled as "tough" for KU, may have become tougher after UTEP fell to 0-1. It could be easy to overlook the Miners. However, I don't see that happening. Quarterback Todd Reeding should be excited to get one of his favorite targets back in Dezmon Briscoe. Briscoe was suspended for the first game of the season after setting a school record in receiving yards last year with 1,407.

If healthy, the Jayhawk offense can score against anyone, and there is no reason to think that won't be the case Saturday. Look for Briscoe to go off on the Miners' secondary, and if they drop seven or eight like Northern Colorado did against KU in week one, look for running back Jake Sharp to break 100 yards for the second straight week.

In all, this should be a pretty easy victory for KU. However, if the 'Hawks come out flat, and history repeats itself, KU's road woes could continue. I don't see that happening. If the 'Hawks stay sharp, they should put 40-plus on the board and win easily.

Prediction: KU 44, UTEP 24.

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