Jayhawks rush past Central Michigan, 31-7

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — With a combination of an explosive running game and hard-nosed defense, Kansas collected its first win of the 2018 season, beating Central Michigan, 31-7, on Saturday afternoon inside Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
Both offenses struggled to find an answer early on, but Kansas struck first with five minutes to go in the first half, igniting the Jayhawk offense as KU never relinquished the lead. The Kansas defense provided the energy the Jayhawks needed, creating six turnovers and holding the Chippewas to 103 total rushing yards throughout the game. Senior Joe Dineen Jr. led the team with 14 tackles, while also recording his first career interception.
Offensively, Kansas dominated the game on the ground, utilizing true freshman Pooka Williams Jr., who rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns in his collegiate debut. Senior quarterback Peyton Bender completed 17-of-26 passes for 130 yards and one touchdown. Kerr Johnson Jr., was on the receiving end of Bender’s 31-yard touchdown pass and led the Jayhawks with four receptions on 68 yards.

A little high-stepping to his first touchdown!

Pooka Williams finds the endzone to extend #KUfball‘s lead to 14 (?? ESPN+) pic.twitter.com/cScNKY6jBO

— Kansas Football (@KU_Football) September 8, 2018

NOTABLES // Complete Postgame Notes

  • Pooka Williams Jr. became the first freshman to debut with 100 rushing yards since James Sims rushed for 101 yards against Georgia Tech on September 11, 2010. Additionally, Williams is the first freshman to score two touchdowns in their debut since JaCorey Shepherd had two receiving scores against McNeese State on Sept. 3, 2011.
  • Williams Jr. is also the first Jayhawk to rush for over 100 yards in their debut since Ke’Aun Kinner recorded 157 rushing yards against South Dakota State on Sept. 5, 2015.
  • Senior wide receiver Kerr Johnson Jr., recorded a touchdown reception for the second-straight game with a 31-yard catch from Peyton Bender. His 31-yard grab is a career-long scoring play.
  • Senior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. finished the second game of the season with 14 tackles, which was the 17th time in his career to record double-digit stops.


  • Senior quarterback Peyton Bender completed a 31-yard pass to senior wide receiver Kerr Johnson Jr. to give Kansas the lead with 5:11 left in the second quarter.

    Peyton Bender ?? Kerr Johnson Jr.!

    The 31-yard touchdown pass puts #KUfball on the board first. Gabriel Rui’s PAT is good to make it 7-0 Jayhawks with 5:11 to play in Q2 pic.twitter.com/n5wiRWCQm4

    — Kansas Football (@KU_Football) September 8, 2018

  • Freshman running back Pooka Williams Jr. rushed 20 yards for his first touchdown as a Jayhawk with 10:13 left on the clock in the third quarter, giving KU a two possession advantage.

    View this post on Instagram

    Hit ’em with the angles ?? #KUfball

    A post shared by Kansas Football (@kufootball) on Sep 8, 2018 at 2:06pm PDT

  • The first career interception by senior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. led to another Pooka Williams Jr. rushing touchdown, a 41-yard run with 8:58 left in the third quarter. 
  • With 14:44 on the clock in the fourth quarter, senior cornerback Shakial Taylor intercepted a pass for a touchdown, giving KU back its three possession lead.

    INTERCEPTION!! Shakial Taylor with his first career interception and he runs it back for the score! #KUfball up 27-7 at the start of Q4 ?????? pic.twitter.com/3Gcgp2JoT3

    — Kansas Football (@KU_Football) September 8, 2018

  • A fumble by CMU’s Jonathan Ward was recovered by redshirt junior linebacker Denzel Feaster with 6:42 left on the clock in the fourth quarter and led to a 36-yard field goal by senior Gabriel Rui.  

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).




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