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A Strong Start Will Prove Critical For Kansas As They Take On The Aggies

Kansas has been up and down all year on gameday. Slow starts, miscues and penalties have left the Jayhawks with little confidence and with six games to go, finding a way to get in the ballgame early is a must if they hope to get a win.

Two wins, four losses and none of them have come in the manner that fans would have expected.  Midway through the 2010 football season the Kansas Jayhawks have been wildly inconsistent, often overmatched and in its two most recent matchups, just flat embarrassed. 

Needless to say the Turner Gill era at Kansas hasn't started off the way many would have liked.  The Jayhawks lost the opener to FCS opponent North Dakota State, then shocked everyone with a one week turnaround and a win over defending ACC champion Georgia Tech.  Unfortunately for Kansas the good has ended there.  Two games into the conference season many don't expect the Kansas football team to manage another victory in the final six games, but the team and Coach Gill remain optimistic that they can put something together.

Coming to town this week is another opportunity in a Texas A&M team currently on a three-game slide.  Now normally a three game skid would signal a chance, but with A&M the three straight losses all come at the hands of ranked BCS opponents.  Kansas on the other hand is far from any sort of ranking and far from the caliber of opponent that the Aggies have dropped any of those games against.

The good news for Kansas is the Aggies are a team searching for answers and looking to regain some confidence themselves.  The good news for the Aggies is that Kansas is just the opponent to do that against.

What this game boils down to is who can jump out to a strong start.  Kansas has typically found themselves in a hole too deep to dig out of against solid opponents and they continue to search for the answer.  What happened to the offense that was returning a solid offensive line and decent skilled players to help break in a new quarterback?  How can a defense that has looked serviceable at times be expected to compete for four quarters when it's offense and special teams are constantly putting them in a hole?

For A&M the three-game skid is about turnovers.  The Aggies have solid young talent and the preseason offensive and defensive players of the year in the Big 12. Can Jerrod Johnson who's been careless with the football including five interceptions in the last three games get back on track and right the Aggie ship?  And can the Aggie defense which has attacked and looked fast at times shutdown and overmatched Kansas?

What happens in this game in the first quarter will determine if Kansas has a chance.  Whoever comes out strong at the start has a chance to build major momentum based on the current paths of both teams. Can the Jayhawks avoid the miscues and penalties that have been early drive killers giving themselves a chance to win the game? 

What Kansas needs on Saturday and going forward is confidence. The fast start is the only way to build that. Fall into the same traps early and it won't matter much what Texas A&M does because Kansas won't be able to rally.  If Kansas can get that confidence going, put the pressure squarely on the shoulders of Jerrod Johnson, Mike Sherman and the Aggies then maybe they will have an opportunity to pull off another upset.

Certainly Kansas is capable.  They showed that in one game this year with a win over the Yellow Jackets.  Since then it's been a downhill slide. Another week, another opportunity.  That's what it's about at this point for the Jayhawks.  And any chance at salvaging some good from the season starts with a strong start against A&M.