Kansas looks to bounce back at Memphis
Senior safety Bazie Bates IV recorded a career high 11 tackles against Ohio (Sept. 10).
September 17, 2016
Snapchat @ku_footballLAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football heads into its first road test of 2016 as the Jayhawks travel to Memphis, Tennessee, Saturday, September 17 for an 11 a.m. kickoff against the Tigers on ESPNU.
Saturday’s contest marks the second played between Kansas (1-1) and Memphis (1-0) as the Tigers won last year’s first meeting, 55-23, inside Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks hold a .500 record (13-13) against current American Athletic Conference foes dating back to 1933 with their last win against an AAC opponent coming by way of a 42-13 route of Houston in the Fort Worth Bowl December 23, 2005.
SERIES HISTORY VS. MEMPHIS
Overall Record: 0-1
Current Streak: Lost 1
Longest Win Streak: 0
Longest Winless Streak: 1, (2015)
In Lawrence: 0-1
In Memphis: 0-0
Neutral Sites: 0-0
Under David Beaty: 0-1
First Meeting: Sept. 12, 2015 (L, 55-23)
Last Meeting: Sept. 12, 2015 (L, 55-23)
vs. AAC Opponents: 13-13
First: L, 7-0 at Tulsa (Oct. 21, 1933)
Last: L, 55-23 vs. Memphis (Sept. 12, 2015)
On September 17: 3-7
First: L, 28-0 vs. TCU (1949)
Last: L, 66-24 at Georgia Tech (2011)
Week 2: 72-49-7 (.590)
Sophomore Steven Sims Jr. stands as one of eight FBS wide receivers to turn in back-to-back 100-plus-yard games to open up the 2016 season and is one of two players on that list with four touchdown receptions. Sims snagged five balls for 124 yards and two touchdowns against Rhode Island (Sept. 3) and followed that up with four catches for 114 yards and two scores against Ohio (Sept. 10). Sims’ back-to-back 100-yard games was a first for a Jayhawk since 2014 when Nigel King accomplished the same feat against Iowa State (Nov. 8) and TCU (Nov. 15).
FOUR SCORE AND TWO GAMES AGO
Steven Sims Jr. hauled in two touchdown receptions in back-to-back games to open up the 2016 season including a career-long 74-yard snag against Ohio (Sept. 10). The last Jayhawk to catch at least two touchdowns in back-to-back games was Kerry Meier in 2009 against SMU (Sept. 26) and Iowa State (Oct. 10). Of Sims’ four touchdown catches, two have been over 70 yards as he grabbed a 71-yard strike against Rhode Island (Sept. 3) in week one. Those four TDs rank Sims atop the FBS leader board among wide receivers for most scores this season, and he is just one of two players from a power five school.
COZYING UP AT QUARTERBACK
Redshirt-junior Montell Cozart earned back-to-back starts for the Jayhawks through the first two weeks of the season and has been a steady force as KU’s signal caller. Through his first two starts in 2015, Cozart completed just 57.6 percent of his passes (38-of-66) for 409 yards and one touchdown with one interception for a 111.6 efficiency rating. Through two starts in 2016, he has completed 71.4 percent of his passes (35-of-49) for 397 yards and five touchdowns with one interception for a 169.1 efficiency rating – ranking him among the FBS’ top-25 quarterbacks in that category at No. 23.
BEHIND THE LINE
In KU’s loss against Ohio (Sept. 10), the Jayhawk defense tallied 14.0 tackles for loss, the most in a single game for Kansas since the 2007 squad also recorded 14.0 against Florida International (Sept. 22). The last time Kansas recorded more than 14 tackles for loss was earlier in 2007 when the Jayhawks feasted on Southeast Louisiana (Sept. 8) for 20.0. As a team, KU averages 9.5 tackles for loss per game and rank t-12th in the FBS and t-1st in the Big 12 with Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Of those 14 TFLs against Ohio, senior safety Tevin Shaw (2.0) and sophomore defensive tackle Daniel Wise (4.0) each posted career bests.
Junior wide receiver/kick returner LaQuvionte Gonzalez returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter in Saturday’s loss to Ohio (Sept. 10). That was the first kickoff return for a touchdown since Ryan Schadler returned one for 91 yards against South Dakota State in 2015 (Sept. 5) and was also the fifth-longest in school history surpassing Dezmon Briscoe’s 98-yard return against Texas (Nov. 21, 2009). Gonzalez is one of eight kick returners with a touchdown this season and holds the second-furthest return at 99 yards.
Junior wide receiver/kick returner LaQuvionte Gonzalez returned the fifth-most kickoffs in a single game in KU history against Ohio (Sept. 10) after returning six for 201 yards and a touchdown. Those 201 yards rank second on KU’s single-game chart. So far in 2016, Gonzalez has returned eight kickoffs for 242 yards, averaging 30.3 yards per return that ranks him 12th in the FBS and second in the Big 12 Conference. Kansas’ single-season marks for most kick returns and most kick return yards are 49 and 1014, respectively, while the highest average with a minimum of 25 returns is 28.6 set by Marcus Herford in 2007.
Three different KU defenders tallied double-digit tackling efforts in senior safety Bazie Bates IV (11), senior linebacker Marcquis Roberts (10) and junior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. (10). Bates’ 11 tackles set a new career best while it was the fifth double-digit tackling effort for Dineen and the second for Roberts. The last time Kansas had three players with 10 or more tackles come against TCU in 2015 when senior safety Fish Smithson (12), Roberts (12) and Dineen (11) boasted double figures.
The Kansas secondary broke up eight passes in back-to-back games against Rhode Island (Sept. 3) and Ohio (Sept. 10) including two interceptions. Those 16 PBUs are more than half of KU’s total (26) in 2015. The eight PBUs are the most since the Jayhawks defended 14 against Iowa State (Nov. 8) in 2014 as they rank atop the Big 12 in pass defense. Senior safeties Tevin Shaw and Fish Smithson are among the league’s best with three PBUs apiece.
When Kansas plays Memphis on Saturday at 11 a.m., no current Jayhawk that steps on the field after kickoff will have experienced a victory away from Memorial Stadium. Kansas will look to snap a staggering winless streak of 38 games played outside of Lawrence.
In the Jayhawks’ last road victory – a 34-7 bout over UTEP on Sept. 12, 2009, running back Jake Sharp engineered two touchdowns and 104 yards, while quarterback Todd Reesing threw 25-of-41 passes for 260 yards and a score. Wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe turned in 154 yards on eight catches.
*KU is 0-35 in true road games dating back to 2009. Adding three neutral-site losses to Missouri in 2009, 20 and 11 gives Kansas its 38-game winless streak in games played outside of Memorial Stadium.
The Jayhawks open up their Big 12 Conference slate on the road at Texas Tech, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. Kansas hasn’t played a Thursday night game since October 14, 2010 against Kansas State. (L, 59-7).
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