LAWRENCE (KSNT) – The Jayhawks are 3-0 for the first time since 2009. Naturally this mean’s there is a lot to talk about surrounding this year’s team.

This KU offense has been simply incredible. The team’s 159 points so far matches the most in the first three games by any KU team ever. Quarterback Jalon Daniels racked up all sorts of awards on Sunday and Monday for this week three performance.

However, perhaps it’s the defense that isn’t being talked about enough. Specifically, the Jayhawks have come leaps and bounds in their ability to defend the run compared to a year ago.

In 2022 KU allowed an average of 250.1 rushing yards per game. In their first three games this year that average is down to just 137.7. The drop of over 110 yards per game has worked wonders in keeping opponents off the scoreboard.

The ‘Hawks allowed 40 rushing touchdowns in 12 games last fall. This year they’ve allowed just five in three games, on pace for to cut last year’s total in half. Opposing teams averaged 6.1 yards per rushing attempt against Kansas in 2021. This year? Just 3.4.

Head coach Lance Leipold talked about the improvements of their run defense in Tuesday’s press conference. He thinks the Jayhawks aren’t just better than they were a year ago; they’re also better growing each game.

“We’re getting better,” Leipold. “I think we played a little more aggressively than we did up front this last week. I thought we did a good job of containing that run game.”

He says they have by no means reached the destination when it comes to their ability to stop the run. Additionally, while the stats and numbers showing their massive growth in this area can be fun to check out, they’ll have to be careful not to dwell on those figures too much.

“I always say work in progress because sometimes stats, points allowed, in today’s college football world can get really skewed in different ways,” Leipold said. “If you get hung up on those you might drive yourself crazy. But we definitely played better in that front seven.

The defense overall has made drastic improvements. Last year they allowed over 42 points per game on average. They’ve allowed only 27.3 per game so far this fall. As for yards allowed per game: 486 in 2021 versus 382 in 2022.

They allowed 68 touchdowns in 12 games last year, compared to ten this year’s first three games. That puts the ‘Hawks on pace to allow 28 fewer touchdowns than last year.

The KU offense is fun to watch. Jalon Daniels is thrilling. The running back room is deep. In some ways the offense is still carrying the team. However, the defensive improvements from a year ago might be no less impressive.