Jayhawks To Take On Georgia Tech Saturday On Fox Sports Net
Sept. 12, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas football will travel to Atlanta on Saturday, Sept. 17, to take on Georgia Tech in its first road game of the 2011 season. Kansas-Georgia Tech kicks off at 11:30 a.m. (CT), with a live broadcast on selected Fox Sports Net affiliates. The game can also be heard live on the Jayhawk Radio Network or by visiting kuathletics.com and using the AT&T Jayhawk All-Access player. Kansas enters the game with a 2-0 mark after picking up a thrilling 45-42 win over Northern Illinois in its last outing.
Kansas Head Coach Turner Gill
Turner Gill(North Texas, 1990) is in his second season at the Kansas helm, after being named the University’s 36th head football coach on Dec. 13, 2009. He has guided KU to a 2-0 mark in 2011 and owns a 5-9 overall mark in his second season with the program. In his first year at Kansas, Gill took over a team that had lost its last seven games of the 2009 season. After a season-opening loss, Gill guided the Jayhawks to a 28-25 upset victory against then-No. 15 Georgia Tech. KU would win three games in his first year, including a thrilling 52-45 victory against Colorado in a game that KU trailed 45-17 in the fourth quarter. Gill came to Lawrence after spending the previous four seasons as the head coach at Buffalo (2006-09) where he turned a down program into a conference champion in his third year. Gill was a highly successful player and assistant coach at Nebraska for a combined 18 seasons before spending one year with the Green Bay Packers and then taking over at Buffalo.
Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson, a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year, is in his fourth season as head coach of the Yellow Jackets. Under Johnson, Georgia Tech was one of college football’s biggest surprise stories in 2008 and won the ACC championship in 2009. The ACC Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2009, Johnson’s teams have appeared in a bowl game each of the last three seasons. In his fourth season on the Flats, Johnson has compiled a record of 27-14, including a 16-8 mark in ACC play. No coach in Tech history won more games than Johnson in their first three seasons. Over the last three seasons combined, only Virginia Tech has won more ACC games than Johnson’s Jackets. In 14 seasons overall as a head coach, Johnson owns a career record of 134-53. Johnson enjoyed success as the head coach at Georgia Southern (1997-2001) and Navy (2002-2007) before being named Georgia Tech’s 12th head coach on Dec. 12, 2007.
Georgia Tech Scouting Report
Georgia Tech enters Saturday’s game with a 2-0 mark after knocking off Western Carolina, 63-21, and Middle Tennessee, 49-21. The Yellow Jackets have a potent run game that is averaging 339.5 yards per game. Thirteen different players have recorded a rush on the season with Synjyn Days leading the way with 73.0 yards per game. Tevin Washington leads the passing game having completed 13-of-21 passes for 473 yards and five TDs. Stephen Hill leads the Georgia Tech receiving corps with seven catches for 307 yards and three TDs. Julian Burnett is the team’s leading tackler with 20 on the season. He also has a team-best 3.0 TFLs for minus six yards. Georgia Tech is putting up 56.0 points per game, while holding its opponents to just 21.0 points per outing. The Yellow Jackets have fumbled eight times, only losing three.
Kansas has one Georgia native on its roster in freshman DE Javonte Daniel of LaGrange. Georgia Tech does not have any Sunflower State natives on its roster. Kansas sophomore WR Erick McGriffattending Jesuit High School in Tampa, Fla., along with three Yellow Jackets in CB Michael Peterson, LB Anthony Harrell and OT Phil Smith.
Follow Kansas Football on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access
Kansas fans were able to watch the Jayhawks’ football season-opener vs. McNeese State on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access, the first of more than 200 events to air in 2011-12 on KU’s online network via kuathletics.com. This marks the eighth consecutive year that AT&T Jayhawk All-Access will broadcast Kansas Athletics events either with video, audio or both. In addition to the football season opener, Kansas football fans who subscribe to AT&T All-Access can also see:
-Turner Gill’s weekly press conferences
-Football weekly television show
KU Football Fans who subscribe may also listen to:
-The complete radio broadcasts of KU football, including the Jayhawk Network pre-game show, which starts 30 minutes prior to kickoff, and the 30-minute post-game show which includes an interview with Head Coach Turner Gill
-Hawk Talk with Turner Gill
Kansas football fans can subscribe to Jayhawk All-Access by going to www.kuathletics.com and clicking on the AT&T Jayhawk All-Access button on the right. Jayhawk All-Access subscriptions are only $9.95 per month or $79.95 per year.
– KU’s offense produced 534 yards against Northern Illinois, which was its highest total since the team recorded 547 yards against Missouri in the final game of the 2009 season.
-Sophomore RB James Sims caught a career-long 39-yard pass on a screen late in the first half.
-Sims ended the night with 110 yards rushing, marking his second-straight game with 100-plus yards. The last Jayhawk to rush for 100 yards in back to back games was Jake Sharp, who did so in the first two games of the 2009 season.
-Sophomore QB Jordan Webb had a career-high 281 yards passing – the most passing yards by a Jayhawk since Todd Reesing threw for 498 yards against Missouri in 2009.
-Freshman RB Darrian Miller scored a second quarter touchdown on an 18-yard run.
-Junior WR Kale Pick caught his first career touchdown on a 36-yard pass from Webb.
-Sophomore DE Keba Agostinho made a career high six tackles, including three in the first quarter.
-Junior LB Tunde Bakare recorded a team-best and season-high nine tackles, all in the first half as he left the game with an injury.
-In the fourth quarter, freshman PK Alex Mueller connected on a 27-yard field goal which was his first successful field goal this year.
Diversity on Display
Kansas has scored 12 touchdowns on the season, with eight different players getting in on the action. Sophomore RB James Sims leads the way with three scores on the ground, while junior WR D.J. Beshears and freshman WR JaCorey Shepherd have each made two TD grabs. Also scoring TDs on the ground have been freshmen RBs Darrian Miller and Tony Pierson and sophomore QB Jordan Webb, while junior WR Kale Pick and senior WR Daymond Pattersonhave tallied a receiving TD.
Go D.J., That’s my D.J.
Kansas junior wide receiver/kick returner D.J. Beshears earned weekly honors from both the Big 12 and the Paul Hornung Award Monday. Beshears was named the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week and was one of six national honorees on the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll. Beshears recorded 285 all-purpose yards and scored the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds as Kansas outlasted Northern Illinois, 45-42, on Saturday. He set career highs in kick return yardage (197), receptions (seven), receiving yards (70) and touchdown receptions (two). His 51-yard kickoff return set up KU’s final scoring drive. Beshears scored KU’s first touchdown of the game – a 15-yard pass from Jordan Webbin the first quarter – and also had an 18-yard run on KU’s decisive drive. The Kansas junior leads the Big 12 with 382 all-purpose yards, which includes a conference-best 283 yards in kick returns. This marks the second time that Beshears has been named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week, also taking the honor on Sept. 27, 2010 after KU’s win over New Mexico State.
Williams Lost for the Season
Jayhawk junior DT John Williamssuffered a season-ending knee injury in the first half of KU’s win over Northern Illinois. Williams is scheduled to have surgery to repair a torn ACL in the near future and will return to the KU line up for the 2012 season.
Johnson Dominates on D
Jayhawk senior LB Steven Johnsonopened the 2011 season right where he left off at the end of the 2010 season, collecting double figures in tackles. Johnson was credited with a career-best 15 tackles versus McNeese State, including nine solo stops. He also had 2.0 TFLs for minus three yards and forced a fumble. Johnson has four double-figure tackle games in his career, including 13 in the 2010 season finale versus Missouri, giving him 10 or more tackles in back-to-back games for the first time in his Kansas career. Johnson added five tackles in KU’s win over NIU, giving 10.0 tackles per game on the season. He ranks third in the Big 12 and 33rd in the NCAA in tackles.
Kansas second-year head coach Turner Gill has gone on the record in saying this year’s Kansas team will feature a more explosive, speedy attack and the Jayhawks have backed up his words. KU recorded five plays of 20 or more yards in its season-opening win over McNeese State and added five more in its win over Northern Illinois. Of KU’s 10 plays of more than 20 yards, four have resulted in TDs. The Jayhawks only managed 31 plays of more than 20 yards during the entire 2010 season, with only five of those plays going for touchdowns. Sophomore RB James Sims leads the way with seven plays that have gone for 20 or more yards. Freshman WR JaCorey Shepherdowns the team’s longest play of the season with a 56-yard TD catch.
Kansas recorded 301 yards on the ground in its season-opening win over McNeese State, marking its first 300 yard rushing game since it tallied 334 yards rushing in the 2008 season opener versus Northern Colorado. The Jayhawks followed that up with 253 yards rushing in their win over Northern Illinois. The KU rushing offense ranks first in the Big 12 and 10th nationally after two weeks of action as it is averaging 277.0 yards per game. Sophomore RB James Simsranks sixth in the Big 12 and 29th nationally in rushing yards per game with 107.0 per game average.
The Four Horsemen
Jayhawk sophomore running back James Sims turned in his fifth career 100-yard game as he amassed 114 yards on the ground in KU’s dramatic win over Northern Illinois. Sims had 26 carries in the game, including two TD runs. The Jayhawks are now 5-0 when he eclipses the century mark in rushing. Sims is not the only capable runner, though, as freshmen teammates Darrian Miller (60.0 ypg) and Tony Pierson (55.0 ypg) are each contributing to Kansas’ 277.0 rushing yards per game. Additionally, redshirt freshman RB Brandon Bourbonhas also been productive for KU as he has rushed for 56 yards on just 10 carries.
Newcomers Put Up The Points
Of the eight true freshmen who have made their career debuts in KU’s first two outings, four have scored points. PK Alex Mueller leads the way among the freshmen in scoring as he has connected on all 12 of his PATs and also booted a 27-yard field goal in Kansas’ win over Northern Illinois. Mueller ranks second on the team with 15 points. WR JaCorey Shepherd has two TDs receiving, while RBs Tony Pierson and Darrian Millerhave each picked up a TD on the ground. Out of Kansas’ 87 points, 39 have been scored by true freshmen.
Kansas freshman WR JaCorey Shepherd had an outstanding game versus McNeese State as he caught three passes for 107 yards to lead the Jayhawks in receiving yards and tie for the team lead in receptions. Shepherd caught a 56-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Webb in the third quarter, which marked the longest pass play for the Jayhawks since 2009, when Dezmon Briscoe caught a 74-yard touchdown from Todd Reesingagainst Missouri. Shepherd’s 107 yards receiving made him the first Jayhawk freshman to record 100-plus receiving yards in a game since 1997 (Termaine Fulton, 138 vs. Texas). He followed that performance up with two catches for 29 yards in the first half against Northern Illinois, before sitting out the second half of play with an injury.
Opurum Turns Up The Pressure
Kansas junior DE Toben Opurum is off to a great start in his first full season playing at the Buck Linebacker/Defensive End position. Opurum leads KU and ranks second in the Big 12 with 5.5 TFLs for minus 14 yards through the first two games of the season. Opurum ranks third on the team in tackles as he has recorded 15 tackles on the season, including 11 solo stops. He is one of three Jayhawks to have recorded a sack, along with LB Darius Willis and DE Pat Lewandowski.
Punt Team Shows Improvement
After struggling for much of the 2010 season with the punt team unit, Kansas has opened the 2011 campaign with great performances in that phase of the game versus McNeese State and Northern Illinois. Led by sophomore punter Ron Doherty, the Jayhawks lead the Big 12 and rank fourth nationally in net punting averaging 46.33 yards per punt. Doherty recorded a career-best 56-yard punt in Kansas’ win over Northern Illinois. Additionally, KU redshirt freshmen Ray Mitchellwas named the team’s Special Teams Player of the Week against McNeese State for his performance on both punt and kickoff coverage.
First Time Starters
Several Kansas players have made their first career starts in KU’s first two games of the season, including FB Nick Sizemore, DE Keba Agostinho, LB Darius Willis, LB Tunde Bakare and FS Keeston Terry.
Through two games, Kansas has had 20 players participate for the first time in their collegiate career. In addition to first-time starters FB Nick Sizemore, LB Darius Willis and LB Tunde Bakare, the following players have played for the first time in their Kansas careers: WR Andrew Turzilli, TE Trent Smiley, WR JaCorey Shepherd, RB Darrian Miller, RB Tony Pierson, RB Brandon Bourbon, LB Michael Reynolds, S Victor Simmons, LB Ben Heeney, DE Pat Lewandowski, CB Dexter McDonald, LB Isaac Wright, S Tyler Hill, S Ray Mitchell, LB Malcolm Walker, PK Alex Mueller and LS Tanner Gibas.
Son Of A Gun
Several members of the Kansas football team come from extremely strong football bloodlines. Two Jayhawks are the sons of current collegiate head football coaches and a third player’s father is an assistant coach at the collegiate level. Redshirt freshman WR Connor Embree’s father Jon is in his first year as the head coach at Colorado, while fellow redshirt freshman LB Jake Farley is the son of Mark Farley, who is beginning is 11th year as the head signal caller at Northern Iowa. Additionally sophomore RB Ryan Burton’s father, Ron, is the defensive line coach at Air Force. Also to be noted is special teams quality control coach Kyle Breyis the son of Notre Dame head men’s basketball coach Mike Brey.
On August 28, Turner Gill announced the team captains for the 2011 season. This year’s permanent team captains include: on offense, C Jeremiah Hatch and TE Tim Biere and on defense, LB Steven Johnson and DE Toben Opurum. Hatch, Biere and Johnson are seniors, while Opurum is a junior.
Wounded Hawks Return
A number of veteran players did not play, or saw limited action due to injury in 2010, but returned to the Jayhawk line up in 2011. The following are capsules for those players:
– RB Rell Lewis… Injured leg in 2010 preseason and sat out all season.
– OL Trevor Marrongelli… Started first four games of 2010 season at OG this year before suffering season-ending injury.
– OL Jeff Spikes… Missed all of 2010 due to off-season lower leg injury after starting 23 games first two years.
– LB Huldon Tharp… 2009 freshman All-American missed all of 2010 with a lower leg injury.
Kansas fields one of the youngest rosters in the country in 2011 as it counts 71 one of its players as underclassmen. The 71 players who are either freshmen, redshirt freshmen or sophomores account for 70 percent of the squad. Of the 22 players listed as starters on offense and defense, seven Jayhawks are underclassmen, including sophomores DT Kevin Young, DE Keba Agostinho, LB Darius Willis, QB Jordan Webb, RB James Sims and FB Nick Sizemore along with redshirt freshman S Keeston Terry.
Kansas junior DE Toben Opurumearned honorable mention Defensive Linemen of the Week honors by the College Performance Awards for his efforts against McNeese State. Opurum tallied 11 tackles, including seven solo stops versus the Cowboys. He led KU with 3.5 TFLs for minus eight yards, which included one sack for minus two yards. Additionally, Opurum was credited with two quarterback hurries. Opurum’s 3.5 TFLs leads the Big 12 and ties him for second nationally in the category.
The Jayhawks will take a week off of action before returning to Lawrence to face Texas Tech in its Big 12 opener on Saturday, Oct. 1.