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Coach Mike Gundy is hopeful that a healthy rushing attack will help make life easier for freshman quarterback Wes Lunt.

“Even though we’re a spread, no-huddle team and we move really fast and we throw a lot of passes, you have to be able to run the football, in our opinion, to have success against good defensive football teams,” Gundy said. “It opens up the throwing game for a young quarterback. To sit in the pocket and just throw the ball consistently without any run game would be difficult in our eyes.”

Kansas has gotten into the act under new coach Charlie Weis, averaging a healthy 5.5 yards per carry that ties Texas for fourth among Big 12 teams that have played twice.

The Jayhawks have a pair of tailbacks, Tony Pierson and Taylor Cox, who have combined to rush for 444 yards and four touchdowns. New quarterback Dayne Crist is off to a slow start with three interceptions and a 51.6 completion percentage, and the Jayhawks suffered a disheartening setback on Saturday when they lost to Rice 25-24 on a 45-yard field goal at the final whistle.

Kansas looks like it can run the ball better than it has in recent history. But the Jayhawks are going to need more than a resurgent ground game after years of losing.

“The one thing that we’re going to have to do a better job of, and it really starts with coaching, is when a team is used to losing, I think we have to help guide them through that,” Weis said. “You have to help teach them how to finish games.”