Kansas hosts SEMO to open 2017 season
Beginning in August 2017, fans will be allowed to bring only one clear plastic bag no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches or a one-gallon, clear, resealable plastic storage bag per person inside Kansas athletics events.
Fans will also be allowed a small clutch purse not to exceed 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches.
Junior defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., was named Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
|Game 1: vs. Southeast Missouri State|
|Memorial Stadium (50,071)|
|JTV // WatchESPN.com|
|Jayhawk Radio Network|
|Points per game||20.2||20.8|
|Time of Possession||27:48||31:31|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football is set to open the 2017 season on Saturday, Sept. 2 against Southeast Missouri State. The game, which is slated for a 6 p.m. start, is just the second meeting between the Jayhawks and Redhawks, with the first coming in 2014, a 34-28 victory for Kansas.
SERIES HISTORY VS. SEMO
vs. SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE: 1-0
Current Streak: Won 1
Longest Win Streak: 1, 2014
Longest Winless Streak: N/A
Last 10 Games: 1-0
In Lawrence: 1-0
In Cape Girardeau: 0-0
Neutral Sites: 0-0
Under David Beaty: 0-0
First Meeting: Sept. 6, 2014 (W, 34-28)
Last Meeting: Sept. 6, 2014 (W, 34-28)
SAME STADIUM, NEW LOOK
For the 97th-consecutive season, Kansas will play its home games inside Memorial Stadium, which was built in 1921. This season, however, fans will notice some new additions to the stadium’s facade. “Rock Chalk” banners on the east and west sides greet fans as they converge on the stadium. The north bowl’s exterior now displays 12 Kansas greats, highlighting not only the historic past, but the bright future of Kansas football.
The exterior isn’t the only thing that will look different about Memorial Stadium this season. New seating options were unveiled for fans who are looking for a different experience at Kansas games. A new Field Goal Club will take up the North Bowl and Cabana Suites will sit just 15 feet past the back of the end zone on the south end of the stadium.
Memorial Stadium is tied for seventh-oldest in the country behind Georgia Tech (1913), Mississippi State (1914), Cincinnati (1916), Wisconsin (1917), Oklahoma State (1920) and Washington (1920). Others schools which started play in their current stadiums in 1921 include Stanford and Tennessee.
UNDER THE LIGHTS
Since permanent lights were installed at Memorial Stadium ahead of the 1997 season, Kansas is 34-14 in home night games. The week one 11 a.m., kickoff in 2015 ended a 12-season streak of home-opening night games (6 p.m. start or later) for Kansas. During the 12-straight season-opening night contests in Memorial Stadium that ended two seasons ago, the Jayhawks established a 10-2 record and had outscored the opposition by a wide margin of 402-177.
The Jayhawks restarted the tradition last season with a 6 p.m. kickoff against Rhode Island in week one. Kansas continued its successful night game lid-lifting tradition, by pummeling the Rams 55-6. As a sophomore, wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., had a breakout game to start the season, catching five passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. A big chunk of Sims’ yardage came on a 71-yard touchdown in the third quarter to put the Jayhawks up 41-6 following the extra point.
Dating back to 2003, Kansas has not opened its season away from the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium. The last time KU didn’t host an opening week contest (2002 loss at Iowa State), this year’s freshman class was just three years old. The Jayhawks have also been routinely successful in the last 14 years in week one, winning 11 games in that span. KU’s offense has also been a tough out in the opening week as the Jayhawks have scored at least 20 points in 13 of the last 14 lid-lifters, outscoring first game opponents 495-224 and averaging 35 points-per-outing.
CAPTAINS OF THE SHIP
Voted on by team members, the 2017 Kansas football captains are junior defensive tackle Daniel Wise, junior defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., junior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., senior running back Denzell Evans and junior wide receiver Jeremiah Booker.
RING OF HONOR
First Team All-Americans from the 2007 season, Aqib Talib and Anthony Collins, will forever be remember as Kansas legends when their names are added to the Kansas football Ring of Honor on the north bowl of Memorial Stadium on September 2.
PREVIOUS RING OF HONOR MEMBERS
Ray Evans (42)* (1941–42, 1946–47) DB/RB
Otto Schnellbacher (1942, 1946–47) End
Mike McCormack (1948–50) OL
George Mrkonic (1950–52) OL
Ollie Spencer (1950–52) OL
John Hadl (21)* (1959–61) QB/RB
Curtis McClinton (1959–61) RB
Gale Sayers (48)* (1962–64) RB
Bobby Douglass (1966–68) QB
John Zook (1966–68) DE
John Riggins (1968–70) RB
David Jaynes (1971–73) QB
Nolan Cromwell (1973–76) QB/S
Willie Pless (1982–85) LB
*Denotes retired jersey number
HONORING THE ORANGE BOWL CHAMPS
September 1, 2007 marked the start of a historic year for Kansas football. A 12-1 season including monumental wins against Kansas State (the first in Manhattan in 18 years) and Nebraska (a 76-39 drubbing that marked just the second win against the Cornhuskers in 39 years), the season was capped with a 24-21 victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl on January 3, 2008. Ten years and one day after the start of the greatest season in Kansas football history, the team is back in Memorial Stadium to be honored at halftime. The 2007 Jayhawk team is being inducted into the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame and three individuals from the team will also be inducted into the hall of fame. Cornerback Aqib Talib, offensive lineman Anthony Collins and head coach Mark Mangino will forever live in Kansas Athletics history by being inducted into the hall of fame.
THE D.A. – WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE
Already one of the most notable Jayhawks in recent history, junior defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., is primed to have a season that could launch him to the top of the list when it comes to Kansas greats. Named the Preseason All-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by a unanimous decision, Armstrong is the first Jayhawk to earn an individual Big 12 preseason award, as well as the first to be a unanimous selection for the Preseason All-Big 12 Team. Along with his Big 12 preseason honors, Armstrong has been named to the Athalon Sports 2017 Preseason All-America Team, the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list.
Junior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., has not only put his name among the best pass catchers in recent Kansas history, but also on a list with just 18 current players on FBS rosters across the nation. Sims has a current streak of 23 games with a catch, joining the short list of players with a current active streak of 20 or more games with a reception. Since 2006, only three players at Kansas – Dexton Fields, Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier – have had longer streaks with a catch than Sims. That consistency and reliability has garnered the Houston, Texas native some preseason attention, as he was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list and was nominated for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.
20-PLUS STRAIGHT GAMES WITH A CATCH SINCE 2006
1. K. Meier, 35 (2007-09)
2. D. Briscoe, 30 (2007-09)
3. D. Fields, 25 (2006-08)
4. S. Sims Jr., 23 (2015-)
CENTER OF ATTENTION
Sophomore center Mesa Ribordy saw his name pop up on the 2017 Rimington Trophy watch list, announced in July. The trophy is awarded to the best Division I center in the nation. Ribordy, a Louisburg, Kansas native, is a former walk-on for the Jayhawks. Playing in 11 games last season at both guard and center, Ribordy started the final five as the offensive line’s centerpiece. Never recording a bad snap, he posted 27 knock-down blocks on the season. Ribordy was extremely efficient for the Jayhawk offensive line in his rookie campaign, missing a team-low 10 assignments in his 800 plays of 2016.
THE MAYOR GIVES BACK
A native of Lawrence, Kansas, redshirt junior Joe Dineen Jr. has always known the benefits of giving back to his community, but roughly one year ago he became passionate about one cause in particular – childhood cancer. Due to his devotion to raising awareness and funds to fight the disease, 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 at Children’s Mercy.
EYES ON 84
Fifth-year senior Ben Johnson was named to the John Mackey Award preseason watch list for the second time in his career, announced in July. An All-Big 12 honorable mention tight end in 2015, Johnson has played in 33 career games and has been nothing but reliable for the Jayhawks. Starting 11 contests for KU over his career while catching 31 passes for 307 yards, the Basehor, Kansas product has been able to come up with big plays in the air, as well as helping block for the ground game.
CLIMBING TO THE TOP
After a breakout sophomore campaign for wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., the junior from Houston, Texas will look to claw his way to the top of the Kansas football record books. With 79 receptions last season to bring his career total to 102, Sims sits in 13th on the career receptions list at KU. By just matching his production from last season, the junior would move to third all-time at Kansas with 181 catches, 38 shy of Dezmon Briscoe (2007-09) with 219. Kansas’ leading pass-catcher, Kerry Meier, grabbed 226 passes from 2006-09.
Sims is also poised to make waves on the career total yardage list, as he currently sits just outside of the top-20 in Kansas history with 1,208 yards, 21 yards shy of 20th-place Clark Green (2002-05). Recording 859 yards last season, a matched year from Sims would put him at 2,067 career receiving yards, which would rank fifth in the Kansas career annals.
Nine career touchdowns for the Travis High School product puts Sims in line to also climb up the career receiving scoring list. Seven touchdowns last season was the most by a wide receiver at Kansas since 2009, when Kerry Meier hauled in eight touchdown catches and Dezmon Briscoe caught nine TDs.
GET BEHIND THE LINE
Dorance Armstrong Jr., catapulted himself into the national spotlight last season by posting massive defensive numbers, specifically in the tackles for loss and sacks columns. Notching 20.0 TFLs and 10.0 sacks, Armstrong was a force very few could handle. Adding to 5.0 TFLs from his freshman season, Armstrong is poised to climb into the Kansas football career charts in the category. Four players (Charlton Keith, David McMillan, Dana Stubblefield and Gilbert Brown) ended their Jayhawk careers with 30.0 TFLs to tie for ninth all-time. Kansas’ career record holder, Willie Pless, notched 41 TFLs in his four seasons in the Crimson and Blue.
Head coach David Beaty preaches a simple philosophy to his players, “You have to go out and earn everything you get. Nothing in life is going to be handed to you – on the football field or in the professional world – it has to be earned.” That simple statement is a pillar that the Kansas players strive to uphold on a daily basis and is the foundation for the type of player Beaty wants to recruit at the University of Kansas. His go-to sermon to the Jayhawk community is, “We are going to earn the support of our fans one person at a time, and we are not going to sleep until we can give everyone something to be proud of at Memorial Stadium.” As a result, a simple #EarnIt hashtag is plastered on everything Kansas football to show the culture Beaty brings to the table.
Kansas will host Central Michigan on Saturday, September 9 inside Memorial Stadium. Kickoff against the Chippewas is slated for 3 p.m. with the broadcast designated to Fox Sports Network. Kansas and CMU have matched up just two times prior to this season, with the Jayhawks taking both contests, a 52-7 rout in 2007 and a 24-10 victory in 2014.