Kansas welcomes Big Ten foe Rutgers for week 3 tilt

vs. Rutgers
  Sept. 15, 11 a.m.
  Lawrence, Kan.
  David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium
  FSN / FoxSportsGo.com
  Jayhawk Radio Network
  Live Stats

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football is set to host Big Ten foe Rutgers at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 15, with kickoff slated for 11 a.m. The week three battle between the Jayhawks and Scarlet Knights will be aired live on Fox Sports Net and online on FoxSportsGo.com.

Kansas has one player on its roster from the state of New Jersey in junior offensive lineman Kevin Feder (Ramsey), while Rutgers features one native Kansas in Olathe native wide receiver Cole Murphy.

Kansas has put together a +6 turnover margin through its first two games of the 2018 season. The Jayhawk defense and special teams have combined to force their opponents into seven turnovers, including six in its win over Central Michigan, after producing just nine turnovers by its opponents in all of 2017.  Seven KU players have had a hand in the turnovers forced thus far as Joe Dineen Jr., Ricky Thomas, Shakial Taylor and Jeremiah McCullough have each recorded an interception, Bryce Torneden, Kyron Johnson and Denzel Feaster have all recovered a fumble and Taylor was also credited with a forced fumble.

Kansas freshman running back Pooka Williams Jr., had quite a debut as he turned in 125 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries in helping lead Kansas to a 31-7 win over Central Michigan  in the first game of his Jayhawk career. Williams scored on runs of 20 and 41 yards on his way to putting together the top rushing performance in the Big 12 to date in the 2018 season.
Pooka Williams’ Notables vs. Central Michigan
• Williams is the first freshman to debut with 100+ rushing yards since James Sims rushed for 101 yards against Georgia Tech on Sept. 11, 2010.
• Williams is the first KU freshman to score two touchdowns in their debut since JaCorey Shepherd had two receiving scores against McNeese State on Sept. 3, 2011.
• Williams is also the first Jayhawk to rush for over 100 yards in their KU debut since Ke’Aun Kinner recorded 157 rushing yards against South Dakota State on Sept. 5, 2015.
• Williams rushed for a total of 125 yards against the Chippewas. The last Jayhawk to rush for 100 yards was Khalil Herbert with 291 yards against West Virginia on September 23 2017

Kansas senior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, while freshman running back Pooka Williams Jr., earned conference Newcomer of the Week honors, following KU’s win over Central Michigan.

Dineen Jr. earned the Defensive Player of the Week nod after leading the Kansas defense by totaling 14 tackles (8 solo), 0.5 tackles-for-loss and one quarterback hurry. He also recorded his first-career interception in the third quarter of the game. His 14 stops marked the 17th time in his career the Lawrence, Kansas native notched double-digit tackles and was the second this season after posting 16 total takedowns in the season opener.

Williams Jr. made his Kansas debut against Central Michigan, where he totaled 125 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while adding eight receiving yards on one catch in the game. His 125 rushing yards came on 14 carries, giving him an average of 8.9 yards per rush. The New Orleans, Louisiana product broke off a 20-yard run in the third quarter to score his first-career touchdown, then came back on his very next touch with a 41-yard scamper down the sideline for his second score of the game.

Senior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., is approaching several career milestones. He currently ranks third in career receptions (169) and is fifth in both receiving yards (2,108) and touchdown receptions (16).

RK Name Number years
1. Kerry Meier 226 2007-09
2. Dezmon Briscoe 219 2007-09
3. Steven Sims Jr. 169 2015-Present

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. Mark Simmons 2,161 2002-05
5. Steven Sims Jr. 2,108 2015-Present

RK Name tds years

1. Dezmon Briscoe 31 2007-09
2. Kerry Meier 18 2007-09
3. Willie Vaughn 17 1985-88
Bruce Adams 17 1972-74
T5. Steven Sims Jr. 16 2015-Present

Kansas senior cornerback Shakial Taylor provided a spark for the Jayhawks in their win over Central Michigan. Taylor first forced a fumble of a Chippewa receiver to open the third quarter to provide KU with great field position for its first offensive possession. Taylor opened the fourth quarter with a bang as he intercepted CMU quarterback Tony Poljan and returned it 55-yards for his first-career pick 6. The score gave KU a 28-7 lead and put the game out of reach.

Kwamie Lassiter II and Keith Loneker Jr., are each following in their father’s footsteps by suiting up for the Jayhawks, sort of. Kwamie II is finding success as KU’s punt returner and seeing time as a wide receiver, while his father, Kwamie Lassiter, was a hard-hitting safety who teamed up with the late Keith Loneker Sr., to lead the Jayhawks to the 1992 Aloha Bowl title. The elder Lassiter went on to have a 10-year NFL career where he collected 25 interceptions, including nine in 2002. Keith Jr., also followed his father’s path to KU, and like Kwamie II it is on the opposite side of the ball as his Dad. While Keith Sr., played tackle on the KU offensive line and then spent three seasons in the NFL before going on to a successful acting career, Keith Jr., has found his niche at linebacker. The Lassiter and Loneker sons are having strong 2018 seasons as Lassiter ranks third in the Big 12 in punt returns at 10.0 yards per return, while Loneker ranks second on the team in tackles with 18 through two games and leads the Jayhawks in tackles-for-loss with 2.5.

Senior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., hit the ground running in 2018 as he led KU with 16 total tackles in KU’s outing against Nicholls, including 12 solo hits. He followed that up with a 14-tackle (8 solo) performance against Central Michigan. Dineen now has 17 career games with 10 or more tackles. He currently leads the FBS and the Big 12 in both total tackles and solo tackles. Dineen finished as the nation’s leader in solo tackles in 2017, while ranking third in both total tackles and tackles-for-loss.

Sophomore punter Kyle Thompson had a strong start to the 2018 season. Thompson has booted the ball 16 times, averaging 43.7 yards per punt. He has recorded five punts of 50 or more yards, including a career-long 62-yarder against Nicholls in the season-opener. Additionally, he has dropped eight punts inside the 20-yard line. Thompson leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks 24th in the FBS after two weeks of action with his 43.7 yards per punt.

One season removed from a roster that featured only eight seniors, KU has a much more experienced group in 2018 as 25 seniors are on the roster. Amongst those 25 players are a combined 257 career FBS starts, including 208 starts at KU, led by Daniel Wise’s 32 career starts.

Joe Dineen Jr., is climbing the Kansas tackles-for-loss chart at a fast pace 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 35.0 TFLs in his career, which ranks sixth on KU’s all-time chart. Fellow senior Daniel Wise is right behind Dineen with 32.5 career TFLs, ranking 10th in Jayhawks history. Kansas’ career record holder, Willie Pless, notched 41.0 TFLs in his four seasons in the Crimson and Blue.

Tackles for a Loss No. Years
1. Willie Pless 41 1982-85
2. Nick Reid 40 2002-05
Jim Zidd 40 1977-79
4. Ben Heeney 35.5 2011-14
5. Joe Dineen Jr. 35.0 2014-Present
Algie Atkinson 35 1998-2001
7. Dorance Armstrong Jr. 34.0 2015-17
8. Jake Laptad 33.5 2007-10
9. Mike Butler 33 1973-76
10. Daniel Wise 32.5 2015-Present

Kansas head coach David Beaty has put an emphasis on the Jayhawk offense improving its first down efficiency and against Central Michigan, the Jayhawks did just that. Kansas ran 33 first down plays, averaging 6.5 yards per play. Overall, KU had 50 percent of its first down plays go for four or more yards.

Senior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., is a key factor of the Jayhawk offense and has been since he first stepped on the field in the Crimson and Blue. In 36 career games, Sims has caught a pass in all but one. His lone game without a catch was week two in 2017, where he tried to battle through an injury, but ultimately sat out the majority of the game. Sims was never targeted in the game, but by taking the field he unfortunately snapped a 24-game streak of catching a pass. Sims currently has a 12-game streak with a catch and has recorded a catch in 35 career outings. With his 24-game reception streak, Sims was just one of four players to do so since 2006 for Kansas. Kerry Meier, Dezmon Briscoe and Dexton Fields each had streaks of 20-plus games with a reception.

In its 128th season of play, Kansas football has competed on September 15 on eight occasions, combining for a 3-5 mark. KU’s most notable win on Sept. 15 came with a 45-13 route of Toledo in 2007. In that win the Jayhawks were able to avenge an overtime loss to the Rockets from a season prior.

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 are 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).

Kansas sixth-year senior long snapper John Wirtel looks to bounce back after having two-consecutive seasons cut short due to injury. Wirtel, who has started the first three games for KU in each of the last five seasons, is back to handle the long snapping duties for the Jayhawks. After sporting jersey No. 68 during his first five seasons, Wirtel is wearing No. 39 in 2018. His brother, Steven, is the long snapper at Iowa State and also sports No. 39.

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.

Kansas will open Big 12 Conference play on Saturday, Sept. 22 when it travels to Waco, Texas to take on the Baylor Bears. KU-BU will kick off at 2:30 p.m., at McLane Stadium, with a live broadcast on FOX Sports 1.



KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.