Jayhawks Sputter

An explosive offense helped propel Kansas to its best season in school history a year ago, but that same unit came out a little rusty in its season-opening victory.

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With a tough road test still a week away, the 14th-ranked Jayhawks look to cut down on their mistakes as they host Louisiana Tech, which is coming off a surprising victory.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Kansas -20.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 83% of bets for this game have been placed on Kansas -20.5 (View College Football bet percentages).

Kansas was one of the biggest surprises in college football last season, as it went 12-1 and defeated Virginia Tech 24-21 in the Orange Bowl. The Jayhawks have high expectations for this season, as they're projected to finish second in the Big 12 North behind Missouri.

Kansas opened 2008 with 40-10 victory over Florida International for its eighth straight victory at Memorial Stadium, but it was far from flawless.

The Jayhawks, who did not commit a turnover until their third game last season, lost a fumble on their first possession. Todd Reesing, who did not have a pass intercepted until the fourth game of 2007, threw a pick.

"We got a win, which is the most important thing, but I think we have room for improvement,'' Kansas coach Mark Mangino said. "In the first game you find out a little bit about your team, who's in the right spots and where we have to tweak things.''

Reesing did not look as sharp as he did last season when he threw for more touchdowns (33) and yards (3,486) than any passer in school history. The junior quarterback finished 37-of-52 for 256 yards and three touchdowns - all to sophomore Dezmon Briscoe.

The running game also never got on track, as junior Angus Quigley rushed for a team-high 47 yards on six carries. Kansas finished with 66 total rushing yards after averaging 94.8 per game last season.

"We could have been sharper," Reesing said. "The first game out some things weren't as crisp as we would like them to be. It's a good place to start and I thought we executed fairly well. I would like to see the running game get going a little more."

The Jayhawks need to get these problems fixed before visiting No. 17 South Florida on Sept. 12.

While the offense looked sluggish at times, the Jayhawks' defense was solid. They forced three turnovers and held the Golden Panthers to 139 total yards and only 2-for-14 in third-down conversions.

"That means we're efficient, that means we're doing our job,'' safety Darrell Stuckey said. "That means we're playing hard and locking-and-loading and we're fighting trying to win.''

Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, has lost 14 straight road games against ranked opponents since a 29-28 win at then-No. 18 Alabama on Sept. 18, 1999.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 22-14 upset of Mississippi State on Saturday, their first win over a BCS conference squad since a 20-19 victory over Michigan State on Sept. 13, 2003.

"You can't get too excited, even though we're going to celebrate this win," coach Derek Dooley told the school's official Web site. "I always preach consistency. One game doesn't make a team. Good programs go week to week."

Similar to Kansas, the Bulldogs also have plenty of room for improvement on the offensive side of the ball. Louisiana Tech turned the ball over three times and finished with just 269 total yards of offense.

The Jayhawks and Bulldogs have not played since a 34-14 Kansas victory on Sept. 17, 2005. Louisiana Tech won the only other meeting in 1987.

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