His name is not Fish, but he goes by it. Anthony "Fish" Smithson will be a name those in Boone Pickens Stadium will hear quite a bit, seeing as Smithson is the most active defender on the field for the Jayhawks. The junior safety leads the team in solo and assisted tackles, and pass break-ups. It is safe to say that although the Jayhawks have been especially poor this season on the field, Smithson is doing everything to be where the ball is and make a play. Smithson will be have the likes of Jalen McCleskey, James Washington and the "cowboy back" duo of Blake Jarwin and Jeremy Seaton over the middle. Who are we kidding, the running game isn't going to make it to the third level of even the Jayhawk defense. Until the Oklahoma State offensive line can muster a game where rushers average four yards per carry, color me ultra-pessimistic.
He's a Good Man:
There was one player in the preseason that Big 12 and national writers knew that rise to the top of the Jayhawk cream. That player is Ben Goodman. Here's how we know Goodman is well....good. Take social media darling Shawn Oakman. Football twitter's man of steel. Oakman has accumulated has three sacks this season, those coming against Lamar, Rice and Kansas. Goodman on the other hand, has tallied four-and-a-half sacks, with those coming against South Dakota State, two against Memphis (yes that Memphis), and Texas Tech. Now I'm no math major, but 4.5 is bigger than 3 and the level of competition Goodman faced was much better than those schmucks Oakman got a sack against. (Sorry Kansas) Outside of that entirely necessary diatribe, the Cowboys better be locked in on this pass rush threat. Mason Rudolph has been under fire in the pocket quite a bit this season, which attributes to his mediocre touchdown-to-interception ratio. The more Goodman hits Rudolph, the more this game is like last seasons contest in Lawrence. It was cringeworthy if you forgot.
So about Mason Rudolph. I've tried be excited about his season and so far, the skepticism has maintained itself after every interception. Against West Virginia, there weren't enough Tums in the world to keep the residual heartburn down. To be quite honest, Rudolph's season has been a Bell Curve to this point. He started the season "rusty" and improved and played out of his mind against UTSA. Then Texas fumble fun happened and he's been on the downward slope of the curve. He did play better against Kansas State but the WVU game sort of nullified that one out. At some point, his talent will take him back up, but a game that is pretty much a foregone conclusion seems to make for a nice headache and it won't be from the Jello shots. Four different Jayhawks have picked off a pass this season, totaling five this season, so it can happen. Predictions are usually kept for part two of each weeks preview set, but its happening right now with Rudolph. Rudolph will throw for an interception and a touchdown and that will be it. Let's say somewhere between 250-300 yards for the box score. The rest of the prediction will be in Friday's edition. Be there.