Jayhawks hit the road to face Central Michigan

at Central Michigan
  Sept. 8, 2 p.m. CT
  Mount Pleasant, Mich.
  Kelly/Shorts Stadium
  Jayhawk Radio Network
  Live Stats

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football will hit the road to face Central Michigan in week two of the 2018 season. The Jayhawks and Chippewas will square off at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Michigan on Saturday, September 8. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 3 p.m. EDT (2 p.m. CDT) and will be aired on ESPN+.

In its 128th season of play, Kansas football has competed on September 8 on five occasions, combining for a 3-2 mark. KU has outscored its opponents 172-85 during the give-game span with wins over Wichita State (1984), Oregon State (1990) and Southeastern Louisiana (2007). KU’s largest margin of victory on Sept. 8 came in its 62-0 win against Southeastern Louisiana in 2007.

Kansas has three players on its roster from the state of Michigan in senior safety Tyrone Miller Jr., (Ann Arbor), junior defensive tackle Codey Cole III (Ypsilanti) and junior defensive end Darrius Moragne (Holland). Miller will be facing three of his former Saline HS teammates in K/P Ryan Tice, LB Christian Mercer and WR Cameron Cole.

Kansas will look to snap a winless streak of 49 games played outside of Lawrence (46 true road contests) when it travels to Central Michigan. In the Jayhawks’ last road victory, a 34-7 win over UTEP on Sept. 12, 2009, running back Jake Sharp engineered two touchdowns and 104 yards, while quarterback Todd Reesing completed 25-of-41 passes for 260 yards and a score. Wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe turned in 154 yards on eight catches.

Kansas senior kicker Gabriel Rui leads the FBS through one week of play with his career-long field goal of 54 yards. Rui put the 54-yarder through the uprights early in the second quarter of KU’s game against Nicholls. His 54-yard make ranks tied for seventh-longest in KU history and is the longest kick made for the Jayhawks since Jacob Brandstetter hit a 57-yarder against Oklahoma on Oct. 24, 2009. Rui also connected on a 41-yard kick in overtime, making him 2-for-2 in 2018. Rui has made 19-of-21 career field goals, good for 86.3 percent.

Senior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., hit the ground running in 2018 as he led KU with 16 total tackles in KU’s outing against Nicholls, including 12 solo hits. Dineen now has 16 career games with 10 or more tackles. He currently leads the Big 12 and ranks second in the FBS in both total tackles and solo tackles. Dineen finished as the nation’s leader in solo tackles in 2017, while ranking third in both total tackles and tackles-for-loss.

Senior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., is approaching several career milestones. He currently ranks third in career receptions (165) and is fifth in both receiving yards (2,078) and touchdown receptions (16).

RK Name Number Years

1. Kerry Meier 226 2007-09
2. Dezmon Briscoe 219 2007-09
3. Steven Sims Jr. 165 2015-Present

RK Name Yards Years

1. Dezmon Briscoe 3,240 2007-09
2. Kerry Meier 2,309 2007-09
3. Willie Vaughn 2,266 1985-88
4. Mark Simmons 2,161 2002-05
5. Steven Sims Jr. 2,078 2015-Present

RK Name TDs Years

1. Dezmon Briscoe 31 2007-09
2. Kerry Meier 18 2007-09
3. Willie Vaughn 17 1985-88
Bruce Adams 17 1972-74
T5. Steven Sims Jr. 16 2015-Present

Junior running back Khalil Herbert, who goes by the nickname Juice, had a solid sophomore campaign and is looking to build off of it in 2018. He led the Jayhawks in rushing in the season-opener against Nicholls with 61 yards on 12 carries. Herbert was KU’s 2017 leading rusher with 663 yards and four touchdowns on 120 carries, despite missing some game time due to injury. His second season in the Crimson and Blue was highlighted by his career-best 291 yards against West Virginia, which ranks third on KU’s single-game rushing list. He also carried the ball a career-high 36 times against the Mountaineers, including a personal-best 67 yard carry against WVU. His two-game (Ohio, West Virginia) total of 428 rushing yards ranks third all-time in KU history for back-to-back rushing totals.

Daniel Wise is one of the top defensive players in the Big 12 Conference. Wise, who was tabbed Preseason All-Big 12 First Team by a media panel and also earned a spot on the Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy Watch Lists, had one of the best seasons of any defensive lineman in the Big 12 in 2017 as he turned in 16.0 tackles-for-loss, including 7.0 sacks. His 16.0 TFLs ranked second in the Big 12 in 2017 and 11th in the FBS rankings. Wise’s 7.0 sacks ranked fourth in the Big 12 and tied for 44th in the FBS. Wise earned First Team All-Big 12 honors from the conference coaches and the Waco Tribune-Herald to go along with Second Team All-Big 12 recognition from the Associated Press in 2017. He recorded 53 total tackles, one forced fumble, one pass breakup and five quarterback hurries to go along with his sacks and TFLs.

Joe Dineen Jr., is climbing the Kansas tackles-for-loss chart at a fast pace after turning in a Big 12-best 25.0 in 2017. Dineen’s 25.0 stops behind the line of scrimmage marked a new KU single-season record. He now has 34.5 TFLs in his career, which ranks sixth on KU’s all-time chart. Fellow senior Daniel Wise is right behind Dineen with 31.5 career TFLs, ranking 10th in Jayhawks history. Kansas’ career record holder, Willie Pless, notched 41 TFLs in his four seasons in the Crimson and Blue.

Sophomore punter Kyle Thompson had a strong outing against Nicholls in his first extended action of his career. Thompson booted the ball eight times, averaging 47.0 yards per punt. He recorded three punts of 50 or more yards, including a career-long 62-yarder against the Colonels. Additionally, he dropped three punts inside the 20-yard line. Thompson leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks 13th in the FBS after one week of action with his 47.0 yards per punt.

Senior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., is a key factor of the Jayhawk offense and has been since he first stepped on the field in the Crimson and Blue. In 35 career games, Sims has caught a pass in all but one. His lone game without a catch was week two in 2017, where he tried to battle through an injury, but ultimately sat out the majority of the game. Sims was never targeted in the game, but by taking the field he unfortunately snapped a 24-game streak of catching a pass. Sims currently has an 11-game streak with a catch and has recorded a catch in 34 career outings.

With his 24-game reception streak, Sims was just one of four players to do so since 2006 for Kansas. Kerry Meier, Dezmon Briscoe and Dexton Fields each had streaks of 20-plus games with a reception.

20-plus straight games with a catch since 2006
RK Name GMs years
1. Kerry Meier 35 2007-09
2. Dezmon Briscoe 30 2007-09
3. Dexton Fields 25 2006-08
4. Steven Sims Jr. 24 2015-17

One season removed from a roster that featured only eight seniors, KU has a much more experienced group in 2018 as 25 seniors are on the roster. Amongst those 25 players are a combined 248 career FBS starts, including 199 starts at KU, led by Daniel Wise’s 31 career starts.

Senior quarterback Peyton Bender quickly made a mark on the Kansas record books in his debut season in 2017. Bender threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns in his first game in 2017, which was the best debut by a Jayhawk quarterback in the 127-year history of the program. Bender’s 364 passing yards against SEMO ranks 17th all-time in the Kansas single-game records. Bender is the fastest Jayhawk to reach 1,000 career passing yards in the history of the program as he recorded 1,030 passing yards in his first three outings as he posted 364 yards against SEMO, 323 versus Central Michigan and 343 at Ohio. Bender’s 1,030 yards were the most in a three-game span for a Kansas quarterback since Todd Reesing passed for 1,174 total yards in three consecutive games in 2009 (331 vs. Southern Miss., 442 vs. Iowa State, 401 at Colorado).

In 2018 Kansas fields a team with 11 players on it who have already earned their undergraduate degrees. KU is one of 16 FBS schools with 11 or more graduates suiting up in 2018:
No. of Grads School
19           UAB
17           Clemson
15           Arizona State
15           Pittsburgh
14           Baylor
14           Northwestern
14           SMU
12           Alabama
12           Akron
12           Houston
12           Maryland
12           Temple
12           Virginia
11           Kansas
11           Old Dominion
11           Penn State

Kansas sixth-year senior long snapper John Wirtel looks to bounce back after having two-consecutive seasons cut short due to injury. Wirtel, who has started the first three games for KU in each of the last five seasons, is back to handle the long snapping duties for the Jayhawks. After sporting jersey No. 68 during his first five seasons, Wirtel will wear No. 39 in his sixth and final season. His brother, Steven, serves as the long snapper at Iowa State and also sports No. 39.

A native of Lawrence, Kansas, senior Joe Dineen Jr., has always known the benefits of giving back to his community, but roughly two years ago he became passionate about one cause in particular – childhood cancer. Due to his devotion to raising awareness and funds to fight the disease, for the second year in a row Dineen was nominated to the Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team and named to the Wuerffel Trophy watch list, which honors college football’s top community servant.

Dineen’s dedication to helping the cause started when Cole Hayden (son of Shanda Hayden, Assistant Athletics Director for Academic and Career Counseling) was diagnosed with cancer. Since the diagnosis, Dineen has led his teammates in a number of activities to help benefit those diagnosed with the disease, by visiting kids at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, participating in the Hilltop Hustle 5K (in which all proceeds were donated to Children’s Mercy in honor of Cole), and taking part in a local baseball game that raised funds for childhood cancer research. Most recently, Dineen put together the first-ever “Cole’s Christmas in July” in which he and his teammates donated toys that were gifted to Cole before his passing to kids in Children’s Mercy.

The vote is in and a trio of seniors in wide receiver Jeremiah Booker, linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., and defensive tackle Daniel Wise have been selected by their teammates to serve as permanent team captains for the 2018 season. Booker and Wise are each filling the role for the second-straight season, while Dineen is in his third season as a designated leader of the team. Dineen is in rare are when it comes to three-time captains as he is only the third player in KU’s 128-year history to serve as a captain three-consecutive seasons joining QB Zac Wegner (1998-99-2000) and linebacker Banks Floodman (2003-04-05).

Five Jayhawks found their names on Preseason Watch Lists as the various Awards announced the players they have their eyes on to open the season. Senior defensive lineman Daniel Wise led the way for KU as he was named to three watch lists  including the Bednarik Award (top defensive player), Nagurski Trophy (top defensive player) and the Outland Trophy (top interior lineman). Senior linebacker Joe Dineen was also sited three times as he was also tabbed by the Bednarik Award in addition to the AFCA Good Works Team (community service) and Wuerffel Trophy (community service). Senior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., was recognized by the Biletnikoff Award (top receiver) and the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award (top offensive player from Texas), while senior tight end Mavin Saunders was on the John Mackey Award Watch List (top tight end). Junior offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji joined Wise on the Outland Trophy Watch List.

Kansas will host Rutgers on Saturday, September 15 for a game at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Kickoff against the Scarlet Knights is slated for 11 a.m., with the broadcast designated to Fox Sports Net (FSN). Kansas and Rutgers have matched up just one times prior to this season, with the Scarlet Knights leading the series 1-0. RU won 27-14 rout in 2015 in New Brunswick in 2015.



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