Kansas returns to action on the road against Texas Tech
|at Texas Tech|
|Oct. 20 // 2:30 p.m.|
|Jones AT&T Stadium|
|FS1 / FoxSportsGo.com|
|Jayhawk Radio Network|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Coming off a bye week, Kansas football will travel to Lubbock, Texas to face Texas Tech on Saturday, October 20. The Jayhawks and Red Raiders will square off at Jones AT&T Stadium at 2:30 p.m., with the game being televised on FS1.
BEHIND THE LINE
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 39.0 TFLs in his career, which ranks fourth on KU’s all-time chart. Fellow senior Daniel Wise is right behind Dineen with 38.0 career TFLs, ranking fifth in Jayhawks history. Kansas’ career record holder, Willie Pless, notched 41.0 TFLs in his four seasons in the Crimson and Blue.
ON THE COME UP
Through six weeks of the 2018 campaign the KU defense has made huge strides in comparison to a year ago (after 6 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 // 124 // 1 // +123
Turnovers Gained // 104 // 1 // +103
Interceptions // 103 // 5 // +98
Fumbles Rec. // 75 // 10 // +65
Scoring Defense // 128 // 74 // +54
Pass Efficiency Def. // 124 // 77 // +47
First Downs Defense // 85 // 48 // +37
Total Defense // 114 // 80 // +34
Def. TDs // N/A // 5 // N/A
IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL
Kansas has had three players rush for a touchdowns of 50 yards or longer. Freshman Pooka Williams Jr., has scoring runs of 60 and 52 yards, while junior Khalil Herbert has a 59-yard scoring run to his credit and senior Deron Thompson has recorded a 55- yard touchdown.
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 third-highest rushing contest in the Big 12 thus far with his 163-yard performance in KU’s win over Rutgers. Williams has collected 539 yards on 72 carries, good for 7.5 yards per carry and four touchdowns.
Through the first five 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 with 539 rushing yards. Additionally, Williams ranks third in rushing among the top true freshman running backs in Big 12 history through the first five games of his career.
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.
Senior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., is approaching several career milestones. He currently ranks third in career receptions (187) and is third in receiving yards (2,271) and tied for third in touchdown receptions (17).
Ten different Jayhawks have snagged a total of 11 interceptions, with three being returned for touchdowns. Junior CB Hasan Defense leads the way with two picks. Seniors LB Joe Dineen Jr., CB Shakial Taylor, juniors S Mike Lee, S Bryce Torneden, S Jeremiah McCullough and CB Elmore Hempstead Jr., sophomores S Davon Ferguson and S Ricky Thomas and freshman CB Corione Harris have each gotten in on the action. Taylor (55 yards), Torneden (39 yards) and Lee (31 yards) have each made their way to pay dirt following their interception as the Jayhawks lead the Big 12 in defensive touchdowns with three.
Kansas has put together a +13 turnover margin through its first six games of the 2018 season, which leads the FBS. The Jayhawk defense and special teams have combined to force their opponents into 18 turnovers, including six in consecutive wins over Central Michigan and Rutgers, after producing just nine turnovers by its opponents in all of 2017.
Senior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., hit the ground running in 2018 as he leads KU with 74 total tackles, including 53 solo stops. Dineen now has 20 career games with 10 or more tackles. He currently leads the Big 12 and FBS in solo tackles (8.8 per game) and ranks second in the conference and fourth in the nation in total tackles (12.3 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.
FLIPPING THE FIELD
Sophomore punter Kyle Thompson has had a strong start to the 2018 season. Thompson has booted the ball 37 times, averaging 44.0 yards per punt. He has recorded 11 punts of 50 or more yards, including a career-long 65-yarder at Baylor in the Big 12-opener. Additionally, he has dropped 15 punts inside the 20-yard line. Thompson is first in the Big 12 Conference and ranks 26th in the FBS after six weeks of action with his 44.0 yards per punt.
BIG 12 ROAD WOES
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 42-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).
A trio of seniors in wide receiver Jeremiah Booker, linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., and defensive tackle Daniel Wise were 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).
2018 PLAYER HONORS
As the 2018 season rolls along, the following is a cumulative list of honors earned by Kansas players:
–CBS Sports Defensive Player of the Week (Oct. 7)
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.
THE MAYOR GIVES BACK
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.
WATCHING THE JAYHAWKS
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 cited 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 TCU for its annual Jayhawks for a Cure game on Saturday, Oct. 27. KU and TCU will kick off at 2 p.m., with a live broadcast on FOX Sports 1.