Jayhawks look to improve 2-0 under first-year head coach Charlie Weis.
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas (1-0) will look to pick up its second-straight win under first-year head coach Charlie Weis when it plays host to Rice (0-1) on Saturday, Sept. 8. The Jayhawks will take on the Owls at 2:30 p.m., at Kivisto Field in Memorial Stadium with the game being broadcast on Fox Sports Net. Kansas and Rice will be meeting for the second time in program history. KU defeated Rice, 33-7, in the 1961 Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston–marking the program’s first-ever bowl win. The Jayhawks enter Saturday’s contest fresh of a season-opening, 31-17, win over South Dakota State, while Rice is looking to get in the win column for the first time in 2012 after falling to UCLA, 49-24, in its opener.
Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis
Charlie Weis (Notre Dame, 1978) is in his first season at the Kansas helm, after being named the University’s 37th head football coach on Dec. 9, 2011. Weis, who snagged a win in his KU opener, arrives at Kansas after spending the 2011 season as the offensive coordinator at the University of Florida. Prior to that he spent the 2010 season in the same position for the Kansas City Chiefs, where he helped guide the team to a playoff appearance and mentor three Chiefs players to Pro Bowl Honors. Weis came to KC after spending five seasons as the head coach at his alma mater, Notre Dame. During his five seasons in South Bend, Weis compiled a 35-27 mark, leading the Irish to back-to-back BCS Bowl Games in 2005 and 2006. Weis has coached 16 years in the NFL and owns four Super Bowl rings, three as the offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots (2001, 2003, 2004) and one as a defensive/special teams assistant with the New York Giants (1990).
Rice Head Coach David Bailiff
Rice head coach David Bailiff is in his sixth season at the helm of the Owl program. In his first five seasons, Bailiff has led the Owls to their first bowl title in over 50 years– and has also produced a pair of All Americans. In 2008, the Owls endured a series of challenges as well as the aftermath of Hurricane Ike and produced the first 10-win season for Rice since 1949 and the Owls’ first victory in a bowl game since their memorable win over Alabama in the 1954 Cotton Bowl. For his efforts, Bailiff was honored by his conference peers as the 2008 Conference USA Coach of the Year. With their 38-14 victory over Western Michigan in the Texas Bowl, the Owls closed the season with seven straight wins. Bailiff went to Rice after three seasons as the head coach at Texas State University in San Marcos, where he posted a 21-15 record while leading the Bobcats to their first Southland Conference championship and the semifinals of the NCAA Division 1-AA playoffs in 2005. Prior to being named Texas State head coach, Bailiff spent three seasons on the staff at TCU. He served as the Horned Frogs’ defensive coordinator in both 2002 and 2003 while working with the team’s defensive linemen.
Rice Scouting Report
The Owls enter Saturday’s game at Kansas with an 0-1 mark on the season after falling to UCLA, 49-24, in their season opener last week. Rice trailed 19-0 early in the game, but stormed back to within five points at 29-24 with just over a minute to play before halftime. It was all UCLA after that, as the Bruins claimed the win in Houston. Cameron Nwosu was all over the field for the Owl defense as he set an NCAA record with three PAT blocks in the game. He also had nine tackles and one interception. Quarterback Taylor McHargue led the Owl offense as he had 95 yards rushing on 22 attempts and completed 17-of-28 passes for 172 yards and two TDs. Sam McGuffie was his top target as he caught eight passes for 63 yards and a TD. Rice returns 41 letterwinners, including 11 starters, from last season’s 4-8 team.
Rice’s coaching staff is filled with former Jayhawks. Three of the Owls four graduate assistants are Kansas alums as Ryan Cantrell and AJ (Anthony) Steward serve as offensive GAs andAdrian Mayes serves as a defensive GA. All three former Jayhawks played on the offensive side of the ball during their KU careers–Cantrell and Mayes on the offensive line and Steward as a tight end. Additionally, Rice offensive coordinator/running backs coach,John Reagan, was a member of the KU coaching staff for five seasons under Mark Mangino.
Kansas has five players on its roster from the greater Houston area: Keba Agostinho (Katy), Greg Allen (Houston), Ron Doherty(Klein), Tyree Williams (Stafford) and Darius Willis (Houston). Overall, the KU roster has 35 players from the state of Texas suiting up.
South Dakota State Leftovers
•Senior Kale Pick’s 43-yard reception from senior Dayne Crist on the first drive of the game was the longest of his career, surpassing a 36-yard catch against Northern Illinois last season. For Crist, it was his longest pass completion since an 80 yarder against Western Michigan in 2010 while at Notre Dame.
•Sophomore Tony Pierson’s 47-yard touchdown rush in the third quarter matched his career long rush versus McNeese State last year. It was the first multi-TD game of his career.
•Junior Taylor Cox had 121 rushing yards. The last time a KU player rushed for at least 100 yards in a debut was James Sims with 101 against Georgia Tech during the 2010 season (9/11/10).
•With Pierson and Cox topping the century mark, it was the first time Kansas had two players with 100 or more yards rushing in a game since playing Central Michigan in 2007 (9/1/07) when Brandon McAnderson had 110 and Jake Sharp had 106.
•Senior Toben Opurum was the lead blocker on Pierson’s three-yard touchdown run. It was Opurum’s first time on the offensive side of the ball since the 2009 Texas game (11/21/09). KU’s communications staff believes it is the first time KU had a player play offense and defense since Bradley McDougald against Missouri in the 2009 season finale (11/28/09).
•Senior Mike Ragone caught his first career touchdown from Crist in the third quarter. For Crist, it was his 17th career TD pass and first since the Notre Dame-Navy game in 2010.
•Senior Bradley McDougald’s interception in the third quarter was the fifth of his career and added a sixth later. With his last pick against Missouri in the 2011 season finale, McDougald recorded interceptions in consecutive games. The last KU player to record interceptions in consecutive games was Justin Thornton during the 2007 season against Baylor (10/13/07) and at Colorado (10/20/07).
•McDougald’s two interceptions marked the first time a Jayhawk had two picks in the same game since Darrell Stuckey had two picks against Missouri in 2008 (11/28/08).
•Kansas had four interceptions against South Dakota State. The last time KU had four interceptions in a game was against Nebraska in 2007 (11/3/07).
•Junior Chris Omigie’s blocked punt in the first quarter was the first for KU since Nick Sizemore blocked a punt at Oklahoma State last season (10/8/11).
•In addition to Omigie’s block, junior WR Josh Ford also recorded a blocked punt. The last time Kansas recorded multiple blocked kicks in the same game was at Oklahoma in 2004 (10/23/04).
McDougald Honored By CFPA
Kansas senior free safety Bradley McDougald had an outstanding game in KU’s win over South Dakota State. For his efforts, McDougald was honored by the College Football Performance Awards as an honorable mention defensive back of the week. McDougald hauled in two interceptions in the win over the Jackrabbits, becoming the first KU player have more than one pick in a game since Darrell Stuckey grabbed two in KU’s season finale in 2008. McDougald also had six tackles, including five solo stops, and one TFL for minus one yard.
Thunder And Lightning
Jayhawk halfbacks Tony Pierson and Taylor Cox each had dominant performances in KU’s win over South Dakota State. The pair of ball carriers each eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark as Pierson finished the game with 124 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 20 carries, while Cox had 121 yards and one TD on 16 carries. Pierson scored on a 47-yard dash to the end zone that displayed his electrifying speed, while Cox had a 39-yard run that showcased his toughness and speed.
When halfbacks Tony Pierson and Taylor Cox each rushed for more than 100 yards versus South Dakota State, it marked the 18th time in KU history two or more players had hit the century mark in rushing in the same game. Pierson and Cox combined for 245 rushing yards, which ranks 10th among Kansas’ 18 games with multiple 100-yard rushers. On one occasion KU had three players rush for more than 100 yards. In 1975, Dennis Wright (113), Norris Banks (120) and Laverne Smith, Jr. (236) joined forces to account for 469 rushing yards in a win over Missouri.
It had been nearly eight seasons since KU had recorded multiple blocks in the kicking game, but the Jayhawks came storming out of the gates in the special teams–recording two blocked punts in the season-opening win over SDSU. Junior WR Chris Omigie was able to get to the punter in the first quarter, while junior WR Josh Ford was able to block a punt in the second quarter and recover it at the SDSU seven yard line. Ford’s block and recovery led to a KU field goal just before the end of the first half. The Jayhawks scored a TD on the ensuing possession following Omigie’s block.
Kansas had 16 players see game action for the first time in a Jayhawk uniform in its game versus South Dakota State. Eight offensive players and seven defensive players made their way on to Kivisto Field Saturday evening for the first time in their KU careers. The following are the players who made their official Jayhawk debut: Offense – Dylan Admire (OL), Taylor Cox(HB), Dayne Crist (QB), Josh Ford (WR), Blake Jablonski (H/QB), Reilly Jeffers (SN), Aslam Sterling (OL), Tre’ Parmalee(WR), Mike Ragone (TE)–Defense – Ben Goodman (DL), Jake Love (LB), Schyler Miles (LB), Keon Stowers (DL), Jordan Tavai (DL), Josh Williams (DL), Tyree Williams (CB).
First Time Starters
On top of debuting as Jayhawks, eight players picked up their first career start at KU in the win over South Dakota State. The following players opened the game on the field: Offense – Dayne Crist (QB), Aslam Sterling (RG), Gavin Howard (RT), Trent Smiley (TE), Mike Ragone (TE)–Defense – Jordan Tavai (N), Josh Williams (DE), Ben Heeney (MLB).
Punt Team Performs Well
KU’s special teams showed great improvement in game one, in particular the punt team. Kansas junior punter Ron Dohertyhad a good day, booting the ball six times for an average of 45.8 yards per punt. He recorded a new career long punt with a 63 yarder in the first half. Doherty currently ranks 16th in the NCAA in punting. Additionally, KU only allowed two punt returns from South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits were held to just one yard on the two returns.
Follow Kansas Football on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access
Kansas fans were able to watch the Jayhawks’ football season-opener vs. South Dakota State on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access, the first of more than 400 events to air in 2012-13 on KU’s online network via kuathletics.com. This marks the eighth consecutive year that AT&T Jayhawk All-Access will broadcast Kansas Athletics events either with video, audio or both. In addition to the football season opener, Kansas football fans who subscribe to AT&T All-Access can also see:
• Charlie Weis’ weekly press conferences
• Football weekly television show KU Football Fans who subscribe may also listen to:
• The complete radio broadcasts of KU football, including pre- and post-game shows and post-game interviews with Charlie Weis
• Hawk Talk with Charlie Weis Kansas football fans can subscribe to Jayhawk All-Access by going to www.kuathletics.com and clicking on the AT&T Jayhawk All-Access button on the right. Jayhawk All-Access subscriptions are only $9.95 per month or $79.95 per year.
Crist In Rare Company
Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist is one of just five signal callers who are starting at quarterback for a school where there are no returning players with starts at that position. Crist, who started 10 games at Notre Dame, is the only player on the KU roster with any starting experience at the QB position. San Diego State, SMU, Tulsa and Wisconsin are the other four schools whose only starting experience at QB comes from a player who has transferred into its program.
On April 24, Charlie Weis announced the team captains for the 2012 season. This year’s permanent team captains include: on offense, QB Dayne Crist and LT Tanner Hawkinson and on defense, DE/LB Toben Opurum. All three players are seniors and Opurum is one of just 15 players at Kansas to be named a team captain for more than one season. Opurum was also named a team captain for the 2011 season. A fourth captain will be selected for each game–aside from the season opener–based on special teams play from the previous game.
Kansas football has seven players on its roster in 2012 who already have one undergraduate degree in hand. Three players have already earned a degree from KU, as Brandon Hawks, Trevor Marrongelli and Daymond Patterson each walked down the hill in either the spring or summer of 2012. Four other Jayhawks earned degrees at their previous institutions before arriving at KU–Notre Dame grads Dayne Crist, Anthony McDonald and Mike Ragone and Nebraska grad Josh Williams.
Early TV Slate
The time for Kansas’ first three games of the 2012 season have been set by the Big 12 Conference office. Kansas’ season-opener versus South State will be televised on the Jayhawk IMG TV Network, and will also be streamed live on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access and kicks off at 6 p.m. The Jayhawks’ Sept. 8 game versus Rice will have a 2:30 p.m., start time with a live broadcast on Fox Sports Net. KU will then kick-off at 11 a.m. (Central), when it plays host to Big 12 rival TCU on Saturday, Sept. 15. The KU-TCU game will be televised live on FX.
Jayhawks Making The Grade
The University of Kansas football team set a team record for the 2012 spring semester with a 3.0 grade-point average, and the department’s overall GPA of 2.99 was its fourth-highest in history. The football program’s previous high mark was a 2.75 in the spring of 2010. Four of the 35 KU student-athletes with a 4.0 were football players, heading the list of 36 football players who achieved a 3.0 or higher. Of those 36, 14 (including the four 4.0’s) earned head coach Charlie Weis’sdesignation of “Dean’s List” with GPA’s of over 3.5.
Strength of Schedule
Kansas’ 2012 schedule is widely considered one of the toughest in the NCAA. According to multiple media outlets, KU has one of the top five toughest schedules in the nation. The Jayhawks’ entire October schedule is filled with teams ranked in the preseason Top 25, while nine of its 12 opponents are either ranked or receiving votes.
Hawkinson Anchors Experienced Line
Senior LT Tanner Hawkinson is returning to the left side of the offensive line after starting all 12 games at the right tackle position in 2011. After redshirting in 2008, Hawkinson has been a mainstay for KU’s line, starting 36-straight games entering Saturday’s contest versus South Dakota State. He is joined by fellow seniors Duane Zlatnik (RG) and Trevor Marrongelli (C) as the veterans up front. Zlatnik has 21 starts to his credit, while Marrongelli has 18 starts.
Jayhawk Melting Pot
The 2012 Kansas football roster features players from 20 different states. Texas is the largest supplier of players, as 35 Jayhawks call it their home. There are 24 Sunflower State natives on the KU roster, while California ranks third with six Jayhawks hailing from the Golden State. Five different states (Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio and Oklahoma) have produced three or more Jayhawks on the 2012 roster.
Four Jayhawks Awarded Scholarships
At the conclusion of 2012 Fall Camp, head coach Charlie Weis had a few scholarships remaining of the team’s total of 85 and he decided to reward a quartet of KU’s hard working walk-ons with one-year grants. Seniors Ryan Burton (RB) andBrandon Hawks (S) and juniors Justin Carnes (SN) and Shane Smith (DL) were each put on scholarship for the 2012-13 school year.
Son Of A Gun
Several members of the Kansas football team come from extremely strong football bloodlines. One Jayhawk is the son of a current collegiate head football coach and a second player’s father is an assistant coach at the collegiate level. Sophomore WR Connor Embree’s father Jon is in his second year as the head coach at Colorado. Additionally senior RB Ryan Burton’sfather, Ron, is the defensive line coach at Air Force. Also to be noted is special teams quality control coach Kyle Brey is the son of Notre Dame head men’s basketball coach Mike Brey, while Charlie Weis, Jr., student-manager/offensive assistant, is the son of KU head coach Charlie Weis.
Kansas head coach Charlie Weis, who has 16 years of NFL coaching experience, has an amazing record of sending his collegiate players to the NFL. Weis has had 24 of the players he coached collegiately get drafted by an NFL team. Additionally, one of his top players from his time at Notre Dame, Jeff Samardzija, was drafted in the fifth round of the 2006 MLB Draft and is currently a starting pitcher fo rthe Chicago Cubs.
Wounded Hawks Return
A couple of veteran players did not play, or saw limited action due to injury in 2011, but have returned to the Jayhawk line up in 2012. The following are capsules for those players:
• WR Daymond Patterson… Injured leg in 2011 season opener and sat out remainder of the season.
• DL John Williams… Started first two games of 2011 season before suffering season-ending injury.
Rock Chalk Chant Tops Coolest Football Sayings
The world famous Kansas Rock Chalk Chant has been named the No. 1 coolest football saying according to the Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report columnist Alex Callos ranked the top 50 coolest football sayings and wrote this about KU’s: “The chant may be great at basketball games, but it is also goosebump-worthy at football games.” Part of Kansas Athletics tradition for more than 100 years, the Rock Chalk Chant was first followed by Notre Dame’s Play Like a Champion, Oklahoma’s Boomer Sooner, Alabama’s Roll Tide and Marshall’s We Are Marshall rounding out his top five.
The Jayhawks will host new Big 12 Conference member TCU on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 11 a.m., in a game televised by FX. The game will mark the first conference game for the Horned Frogs. TCU was off on the opening weekend of play and will host Grambling State on Saturday, Sept. 8.
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