Jayhawks Welcome Texas for Homecoming
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas continues its homestand as it hosts Texas in Memorial Stadium in the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams on Saturday, Sept. 27. The Jayhawks and Longhorns will kick off at 3 p.m., with a live broadcast on FS1. KU and UT are facing each other for the 14th time in program history, with the Longhorns owning the series record 11-2. The Jayhawks won the first two games of the series, but have since suffered 11-straight setbacks to Texas.
- Kansas owns a 578-590-58 all-time record entering Saturday’s game versus Texas.
- For the second time this season Kansas has put points on the board in the opening possession. In KU’s win over Central Michigan, senior wide receiver Tony Pierson took the opening handoff on the game’s first offensive play 74 yards for a touchdown.
- Pierson’s 74-yard touchdown run on the first offensive play of the game marked the first time KU has scored on the first play from scrimmage since Todd Reesing found Dezmon Briscoe on a 60-yard touchdown pass on Dec. 31, 2008 against Minnesota in the Insight Bowl.
- Kansas converted a season-high 47 percent on third down against CMU, finishing the game going 9-for-19. The last time the KU offense had a higher third-down conversion percentage was Oct. 10, 2012 at Oklahoma when the Jayhawks converted 12-of-24 third down plays for an even 50 percent.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS FOOTBALL HISTORY
Kansas is 7-2 all-time in games played on Sept. 27. The Jayhawks have won two-straight contests on this date in KU football history with wins over Indiana State (20-6 in 1986) and Missouri (35-14 in 2003). Kansas hosted Haskell on Sept. 27, 1896 in the first game played on this date in KU history, defeating the Indians, 32-0. When Kansas plays host to Texas on Sept. 27, 2014, it will mark the first time the Jayhawks have played a Big 12 Conference opponent on this date.
Of the 95 players on KU’s roster, the Jayhawk coaching staff has delved into the Lone Star State to recruit 25 players from Texas. Meanwhile, the Longhorns currently have no player on their roster that is originally from the state of Kansas. A nonuple of players – five in a Jayhawk uniform and four Longhorns – will share the same field again Saturday as KU freshman running back Corey Avery and sophomore linebacker Courtney Arnick face off against an old high school teammate in UT freshman linebacker Cameron Hampton. All three are alumni of Dallas Carter HS. Kansas freshman defensive lineman Lay’Trion Jones will once again be on the same field as Texas senior linebacker Tevin Jackson. Both were graduates of Garland HS in Garland, Texas. KU junior defensive lineman Ben Goodman and UT sophomore defensive end Caleb Vluiett both attended Beaumont’s West Brook HS. Rounding out the high school alumnus is Kansas junior offensive lineman Damon Martin and Texas freshman wide receiver Connor Hauffman who were products of Arlington HS. Kansas safeties coach Scott Vestal was a member of the Longhorns’ staff in 2010 as a defensive quality control coach.
SCOUTING THE TEXAS OFFENSE
The Texas offense is averaging 20.7 points-per-game in 2014 and displays a balanced attack after gaining 47 first downs on the year, 18 rushing, 27 passing. The Longhorn offense holds the ball for nearly 29 minutes a game, keeping opposing offenses off of the field. Texas is hard to keep off of the board when they get into the red zone, evidenced by an 82 percent scoring rate when inside the 20-yard line. The second quarter is the Texas offense’s most productive period averaging eight points in three second quarters played this season. Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes has taken over the quarterback position for the Longhorns after incumbent starter David Ash left the game of football due to multiple concussions. Swoopes has completed 45-of-65 passes attempted this season completing 67.7 percent of his throws. Swoopes has thrown for 372 yards and three touchdowns while only tossing one interception.
SCOUTING THE TEXAS DEFENSE
The Texas defense is allowing 22.7 points per game and has given up 60 first downs on the year. The Longhorns’ defense is stout against the pass, only giving up 422 yards through three games, while snatching five interceptions. Texas’ defense is susceptible to the run, giving up 544 yards on the ground so far this season. Texas opens games strong defensively only giving up nine total points in the first half throughout the first three contests. In the second half of games, opponents have racked up 59 total points. Senior linebacker Jordan Hicks leads the team with 28 tackles, while junior defensive lineman Malcom Brown leads the Texas pass rush garnering 3.5 sacks on the season. Brown also leads the team in tackles-for-loss, disrupting plays in the backfield eight times in 2014.
TEXAS HEAD COACH CHARLIE STRONG
Amassing a 37-15 record at his previous institution, Louisville, with a pair of Big East Conference Championships (2011, 2012) and Big East Coach of the Year awards in both 2010 and 2012 to his name, Charlie Strong has taken the reigns in his first season as the head coach at the University of Texas. Strong is known for coaching a stingy defense, commanding the Florida Gators defense to two national titles during his tenure as defensive coordinator. Strong’s defense is holding opponents to only 322 yards of total offense in three games played so far this year. Strong’s ball-hawking secondary has grabbed five interceptions on the year. In his 26th overall year coaching collegiate football, Strong has coached in 23 bowl games including the two national championship victories at Florida. Under his tutelage, Strong has produced 13 All-Americans, a National Defensive Player of the Year, a Jack Tatum Award winner, two SEC Defensive Freshmen of the Year, two Thorpe Award finalists, two Nagurski Trophy finalists and the 2008 Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Year. He has also developed seven first-round NFL Draft picks with 18 players that were selected in the third round or higher. Most recently former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was the 32nd pick in the first round of the 2014 National Football League draft.
KANSAS-CENTRAL MICHIGAN LEFTOVERS
- Senior running back Tony Pierson carried the ball on the opening play of the game 74 yards for a touchdown, the longest KU play from scrimmage since Pierson was on the receiving end of a 77-yard pass from quarterback Jake Heaps at Rice on Sept. 14, 2013.
- Pierson’s 74-yard touchdown scamper bested his previous long rush of 69 yards on Nov. 9, 2012 against Texas Tech. Pierson’s 74 yards was also the longest run by a Jayhawk so far in 2014.
- Pierson previously held the mark for the longest plays from scrimmage in 2014 with a 39-yard rush and a 67-yard touchdown reception against Southeast Missouri State on Sept. 6, 2014.
- Senior tight end Jimmay Mundine tied his career-high with four receptions for a team-high 41 yards in the first half. Mundine finished the game with six receptions for 67 yards.
- Freshman running back Joe Dineen, Jr., checked in on KU’s second possession of the game to complete a five-yard pass to regular quarterback Montell Cozart, the first completion and reception of both of their careers.
- Cozart’s 23 completions were a new career-best and also were the most passes completed by a Kansas quarterback since Jake Heaps had success on 28 of his 46 attempts Sept. 21, 2013 against Louisiana Tech.
- Redshirt freshman tight end Ben Johnson hauled in the first catch of his career by way of a one-yard reception near the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Johnson caught his second pass for a 10-yard gain.
- With 13:23 remaining in the game, Cozart found senior wide receiver Justin McCay for a 60-yard touchdown pass to push KU ahead 17-10. McCay’s previous career-long reception was 26 yards against SEMO on Sept. 6, 2014.
- The touchdown catch by McCay was his first time putting points on the board since snagging his first and only touchdown reception against South Dakota in KU’s season-opening win against the Coyotes on Sept. 7, 2013.
- Cozart’s 60-yard completion to McCay helped the sophomore quarterback set a new career-high in passing yards with 200 – finishing the game with 226 yards passing – eclipsing his previous best of 196 yards set against Southeast Missouri State on Sept. 6, 2014.
- McCay finished the day with two catches for 66 yards, both tying and setting new career-highs.
- Freshman running back Corey Avery caught his only pass of the game from Cozart and took it 30 yards for the longest reception and first receiving touchdown of his career.
- The Kansas defense held Central Michigan to three plays and a punt on the Chippewas’ first possession of the game, resulting in the second time this season KU hasn’t allowed an opponent to gain a first down its first time with the football.
- On Central Michigan’s second possession of the game senior BUCK Michael Reynolds fought his way to the quarterback for his first sack of the season which also resulted in the first forced fumble recorded by Reynolds this season.
- Junior defensive lineman Ben Goodman dove on the loose ball after Reynolds’ sack for the first fumble recovery by a Jayhawk in 2014.
- The Kansas defense didn’t allow Central Michigan to put points on the board until 6:14 remained in the second quarter, only giving up six combined points in three second quarters played in 2014.
- With Central Michigan driving the ball down the field to begin the second half, Kansas senior linebacker Ben Heeney stopped a Chippewa play in the backfield and in doing so forced the second fumble of his career which was recovered by Kansas for its second turnover of the game at the CMU 39-yard line.
- Midway through the fourth quarter, junior linebacker Jake Love got to the quarterback for the second sack of his career, resulting in a nine-yard loss. Love would go on to set a new career-high in tackles-for-loss with four of his five total stops being behind the line of scrimmage.
- Senior cornerback JaCorey Shepherd sealed the game with the third interception of his career.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
- Senior punter Trevor Pardula averaged 41 yards on six punts highlighted by a 60-yard kick that pinned Central Michigan deep in its own territory giving Pardula 32 career punts of 50-yards or more in just his second season as a Jayhawk.
- After Heeney forced a fumble and KU gained possession at the CMU 39-yard line, sophomore kicker Matthew Wyman made his fourth field goal of the season after connecting on a 27-yard attempt.
Following Saturday’s game vs. Texas, Kansas will hit the road for its first Big 12 road game of the 2014 campaign when it travels to West Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 4. The Jayhawks and Mountaineers will kick off at 3 p.m. (CT), with a live broadcast on FOX Sports Net. West Virginia leads the all-time series with Kansas, 2-1, with the Jayhawks winning last year’s match up, 31-19, in Lawrence. Both of the Mountaineers’ wins have come in Morgantown.
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