Jayhawks set for road contest at No. 9/8 West Virginia

at West Virginia
  Oct. 6 // 11 a.m. CT
  Morgantown, W.Va.
  Milan Puskar Stadium
  ESPN2 / WatchESPN.com
  Jayhawk Radio Network
  Live Stats

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football will travel east to Morgantown, West Virginia on October 6 to take on No. 9/8 West Virginia in the Jayhawks’ second Big 12 road contest of the season. KU and WVU will square off at Milan Puskar Stadium at 11 a.m. CT (Noon ET) on ESPN2.

Joe Dineen Jr., is climbing the Kansas tackles-for-loss chart 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 38.0 TFLs in his career, which ranks fourth on KU’s all-time chart. Fellow senior Daniel Wise is right behind Dineen with 34.5 career TFLs, ranking seventh in Jayhawks history. Kansas’ career record holder, Willie Pless, notched 41.0 TFLs in his four seasons in the Crimson and Blue.

Tackles-for-Loss            No.    Years
1. Willie Pless                  41.0   1982-85
2. Nick Reid                     40.0   2002-05
    Jim Zidd                       40.0   1977-79
4. Joe Dineen Jr.            38.0   2014-Present
5. Ben Heeney                 35.5   2011-14
6. Algie Atkinson              35.0   1998-2001
7. Daniel Wise                 34.5   2015-Present
8. Dorance Armstrong Jr. 34.0   2015-17
    Jake Laptad                  33.5   2007-10
10. Mike Butler                  33.0   1973-76
Through five weeks of the 2018 campaign the KU defense has made huge strides in comparison to a year ago (after 5 games), as the Kansas defense currently leads the Big 12 conference in four categories and the FBS in turnover margin and turnovers gained.

Category                        ’17 FBS Rank        ’18 FBS Rank        Improvement
Turnover Margin              122                        1                             +121
Turnovers Gained            91                          1                             +90
Interceptions                    92                          4                             +88
Scoring Defense              126                        57                           +69
Pass Efficiency Def.         126                       64                            +62
Fumbles Rec.                   65                         5                              +60
Total Defense                   122                       68                            +54
First Downs Defense        94                         61                            +33
Def. TDs                           N/A                       3                               N/A

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr., has had an impressive start as he is the first freshman in Jayhawk history to rush for back-to-back 100-yard rushing games to open his career. Williams owns the second highest rushing contest in the Big 12 thus far with his 163-yard performance in KU’s win over Rutgers. Williams has collected 474 yards on 60 carries, good for 7.9 yards per carry and four touchdowns.

Kansas Freshmen Rushing Records
RK    YDS    Player                        Game (Date)
1.      237      June Henley              Iowa State (10-16-1993)
2.      216      Kerwin Bell                K-State (11-1-1980)
3.      178      June Henley              Oklahoma (10-23-1993)
4.      177      Tony Sands               Oklahoma St. (11-12-1988)
5.      163      Pooka Williams Jr.    Rutgers (9-15-2018)
6.      160      Clark Green               Oklahoma St. (11-16-2002)
7.      157      Kerwin Bell                Colorado (11-15-1980)
8.      156      Kerwin Bell                Iowa State (10-18-1980)
9.      148      June Henley              Nebraska (11-6-1993)
10.    143      Kerwin Bell                Syracuse (10-4-1980)
11.     131      Clark Green              SW Mo. St. (9-14-2002)
12.    125       Pooka Williams Jr.    Central Michigan (9-8-2018)

Through the first four games of his career, Kansas freshman running back Pooka Williams Jr., has posted the top rushing output of any first-year player in KU history. Williams has topped the Kansas Comet, Gale Sayers, and ranks at the top among the Jayhawk all-time rushing leaders.

Top Jayhawk Rushers Through First 4 Career Games
Player                            Year    Rushing Yards
1. Pooka Williams Jr.     2018    474
2. Gale Sayers               1961    403
3. Kerwin Bell                 1980    342
4. James Sims                2010   329
5. Clark Green                2002   287

Pooka Williams Jr., is the first player in FBS history (with records dating back to 1996) to have a 40+ yard rush in each of their first four games. Williams is also the first Kansas player (records dating back to 1996) of any class to have four-straight games with a 40+ yard-carry. The only Kansas player with a streak of three-consecutive games with a rush of 40+ yards is Khalil Herbert in 2017. Additionally, Williams and Memphis’ Darrell Henderson are the only players in the FBS to post a four-game streak with a 40+ yard rush in 2018.

Most Consecutive Games with Rush of 40+ Yards to Start Career (Since 1996)
PLAYER                                GAMES    START DATE    END DATE
Pooka Williams Jr., Kansas    4              9/8/2018             9/29/2018
Travis Etienne, Clemson         3              9/2/2017             9/23/2017
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska      3              9/4/2010             9/18/2010
Joel Armstrong, Rice               3              9/25/2004           10/09/2004
Tony Hollings, Georgia Tech   3              8/31/2002           9/14/2002
Cecil Collins, LSU                    3              9/13/1997           9/27/1997

Pooka Williams Runs of 40+ yards
at Central Michigan 41 yards*
vs. Rutgers 52 yards*
at Baylor 72 yards
vs. Oklahoma State 60 yards*
*play resulted in a TD

Senior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., is approaching several career milestones. He currently ranks third in career receptions (184) and is fourth in receiving yards (2,164) and tied for third in touchdown receptions (17).
Kansas Career Receptions
RK Name                      Number    Years
1.    Kerry Meier            226            2007-09
2.    Dezmon Briscoe    219            2007-09
3.    Steven Sims Jr.     184            2015-Present

Kansas Career Receiving Yards
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.    Steven Sims Jr.    2,164       2015-Present
5.    Mark Simmons     2,161       2002-05

Kansas Career Receiving Touchdowns
RK    Name                    TDS    Years
1.      Dezmon Briscoe    31       2007-09
2.      Kerry Meier           18        2007-09
T3.    Steven Sims Jr.    17        2015-Present
          Willie Vaughn       17        1985-88
          Bruce Adams        17       1972-74

Eight different Jayhawks have snagged an interception, with three being returned for touchdowns. Seniors LB Joe Dineen Jr., CB Shakial Taylor, juniors S Mike Lee, S Bryce Torneden, S Jeremiah McCullough and CB Elmore Hempstead, sophomore S Ricky Thomas and freshman CB Corione Harris have each gotten in on the action. Taylor (55), Torneden (39) and Lee (31) have each made their way to pay dirt following their interception as the Jayhawks lead the FBS in defensive touchdowns with three.

Kansas has put together a +12 turnover margin through its first five games of the 2018 season, which leads the FBS. The Jayhawk defense and special teams have combined to force their opponents into 14 turnovers, including six in consecutive wins over Central Michigan and Rutgers, after producing just nine turnovers by its opponents in all of 2017. KU has had 11 players have a hand in the turnovers forced thus far with Joe Dineen Jr., (INT, FR), Bryce Torneden (INT,  2FR), Shakial Taylor (INT, FF) Kyron Johnson (FR, FF) and Mike Lee (INT, FF) have all been a part of multiple forced turnovers. Kansas leads the Big 12 and ranks fourth in the FBS in interceptions (8) and fifth in fumbles recovered (6).

Senior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., hit the ground running in 2018 as he leads KU with 63 total tackles, including 45 solo stops. Dineen now has 20 career games with 10 or more tackles. He currently leads the Big 12 and FBS in solo tackles (9.0 per game) and ranks second in the conference and seventh in the nation in total tackles (12.6 per game). Dineen finished as the nation’s leader in solo tackles in 2017, while ranking third in both total tackles and tackles-for-loss. Dineen was named the Lott IMPACT Trophy Player of the Week on Sept. 11 following his 14-tackle, one-interception performance against Central Michigan. He is a candidate for the national award honoring college football’s Defensive Player of the Year who best exemplifies the IMPACT acronym: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Sophomore punter Kyle Thompson has had a strong start to the 2018 season. Thompson has booted the ball 33 times, averaging 43.6 yards per punt. He has recorded nine punts of 50 or more yards, including a career-long 65-yarder at Baylor in the Big 12-opener. Additionally, he has dropped 14 punts inside the 20-yard line. Thompson is third in the Big 12 Conference and ranks 26th in the FBS after five weeks of action with his 43.6 yards per punt.

Kansas hasn’t won a Big 12 road game since Oct. 4, 2008 when the Jayhawks defeated Iowa State, 35-33, in Ames – a streak of 41-consecutive true road losses (Kansas defeated Missouri in 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium and since then, has lost 44 conference games played outside of Lawrence, with losses at Arrowhead to Missouri in 2009, 2010 and 2011).

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 company 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).

As the 2018 season rolls along, the following is a cumulative list of honors earned by Kansas players:
Joe Dineen Jr.
–Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week (Sept. 10)
–Lott IMPACT Trophy Player of the Week (Sept. 11)

Pooka Williams Jr.
–Big 12 Newcomer of the Week (Sept. 10)
–ESPN True Freshman of the Week (Sept. 10)
–Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Week (Oct. 1)

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

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.

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.

Following a bye week, Kansas will stay on the road for a game at Texas Tech on Saturday, Oct. 20. A game time for the match up between the Jayhawks and Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium has not been set yet.




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