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Defense Will Be Key When Kansas Heads To Atlanta To Face Georgia Tech

Kansas and Georgia Tech looks like a matchup of strong offensive teams early in the season. Something will have to give in Atlanta.

Last year Kansas was dead in the water heading into this game. Kansas was coming off an embarrassing loss to North Dakota State, Georgia Tech was ranked and most of the world expected the Jayhawks were headed to a slaughter. 

Somehow though, that didn't happen.  Kansas contained the Georgia Tech running attack to a reasonable level while capitalizing on a weak Yellow Jacket passing game.  At the same time Jordan Webb and James Sims stepped into starting roles and seemed to solve some of the offensive woes that had plagued Kansas in week one.  At the end of the day Turner Gill had a win over a top 25 opponent and Kansas looked like they might have some hope. 

Obviously a lot of that optimism slowly faded, but tomorrow Kansas returns the favor and heads to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech in a game that could look very different from both sides.  For Kansas it's all about the running attack.  The Jayhawks have established and committed to the run in the first two games and that has allowed Jordan Webb to quietly put together an efficient Kansas passing attack.

On the Georgia Tech side of things, running has always been the bread and butter.  The problem a year ago was that the Jayhawks were able to focus on this area almost exclusively because the Tech passing attack was nearly nonexistent.  That isn't the case this year. While Georgia Tech isn't necessarily passing more, they are extremely explosive and efficient when doing so and that has led them to one of the top offenses in the nation through two games. 

What that means for Saturday is that someone's defense is going to be the deciding factor.  Both of these teams have put together strong offensive performances and both of these teams can hurt you in multiple areas.  Which team slows the other one down will be huge in deciding a game that looks like a shootout on paper. 

For Kansas it looks like a tall order.  Through two games the Kansas defense has struggled.  They rank near the bottom of the national rankings in terms of pass defense, near the bottom in overall defense and near the bottom in scoring defense.  The one bright spot might be that the Kansas defense is average to above average against the run, but that will certainly be tested in Atlanta.

On the Tech side of things it's not so much a statistical concern as it is a competition concern.  Through two games Tech has faced Western Carolina and Middle Tennessee State.  Neither of those teams would suggest that the Yellow Jackets have been tested at this point, but they will certainly have a chance to prove their doubters wrong by stopping the Kansas offense on Saturday.

Heading to Atlanta is going to be a very tough road contest for the Jayhawks and one that they are considered a heavy underdog headed into.  If Kansas is going to pull the upset once again it's going to come down to a major improvement on the defensive side of the ball.  But then again, Georgia Tech is looking to make a point in this one as well.