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Preview: Kansas Looks To Build On Strong Start Against Struggling Coastal Carolina

The Jayhawks expect the return of Pooka Williams to give them a big boost against Coastal Carolina.

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Head coach Les Miles of the Kansas Jayhawks coaches from the sidelines - Getty Images - Jamie Squire
Getty Images - Jamie Squire

Last week wasn’t pretty, but the Jayhawks were able to escape with a victory in their first game under new coach Les Miles. With Anthony “Pooka” Williams suspended, quarterback Carter Stanley relied on big plays from wide receivers Andrew Parchment and Daylon Charlot to take the lead for good.

This week, they welcome in a battered and arguably less talented Coastal Carolina team. The Chanticleers lost their opening week game as a potential game-tying drive stopped before it started with an interception. They will look to correct some mistakes and get their first win against the Jayhawks.

This will be the first meeting between these teams. Coastal Carolina is also looking for their first ever win against a Power 5 school, as they are 0-7 in their previous attempts.

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Game Details

  • When: SAT, SEPT 7 at 6:00 PM CT
  • Where: Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS
  • Forecast: Partly Cloudy, 87F
  • Stream: ESPN+
  • Betting Line: Kansas -7.5, O/U 53.5

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (0-1)

The Chanticleers came out of their first game of the season with a lot of things to work on. Hurricane Dorian had other ideas, forcing the team to abandon campus and set up shop at Clemson. Based on what happened in their season opener against Eastern Michigan, they probably could have used that extra practice time this week.

Coming into the year, the Chanticleers were expected to have a very strong running game behind an experienced offensive line. While I realize it was just one game, they had 74 yards on 30 carries, or an average of 2.47 yards per carry. That is … not good. And the passing game was not much better.  Quarterback Fred Payton was 29-43 for 304 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he also threw four interceptions.

The lone bright spot on the offense for the Chanticleers is running back CJ Marable, who ran for 49 yards on 18 carries and caught 7 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown.  He was the only player to be consistently productive, and Coastal Carolina will need to build on his production to be successful in this game.

The defense wasn’t much better in their first game.  The secondary was expected to be an area of strength, but they surrendered 9 completions of 10 yards or more against Eastern Michigan. While the run defense technically fared better, the Eagles still had 5 drives of 60 yards or more. If Coastal Carolina wants to stay competitive against Kansas, they will need to shore up the defense quickly.

Kansas Jayhawks (1-0)

The Jayhawks were able to pull out a late victory in Week 1, despite the struggles of their offense. The Jayhawks committed 3 turnovers, nearly costing themselves the game. But the mistakes were outdone by the positives, and Stanley was able to do just enough to atone for his mistakes and deliver a victory to the Jayhawks faithful.

The return of Pooka Williams should give the offense a lot more options moving forward. The defense had a fundamentally strong performance against Indiana State, and they will look to continue to build on that.

Keys To The Game For Kansas

Get Pooka Going – I don’t agree with the narrative going around that the KU offense was bland and unimaginative last week. However, there is no denying that Pooka opens up a lot of new possibilities for Stanley and company. The Kansas starting running back needs to get involved early and often.

Bring Defensive Pressure – Fred Payton has already shown that he can be rattled by pressure, and his decision making is suspect at best. If the Jayhawks can hit him early, or get in his face often enough, it will only be a matter of time before they can force him into mistakes that the secondary can capitalize on. If they bring enough pressure, this one could get ugly pretty early. 

Build Chemistry – The Jayhawks are finally at full strength. The offensive line had some issues last week, especially on the right side. They need to use this game to figure out how to shore that up, either internally or by bringing extra help in a tight end or fullback. Just as important, Pooka needs time to build chemistry with the other playmakers on the offense. They will need to figure out spacing and and how to react to what the defense gives them on the multiple RPOs built into this scheme.

Game Prediction

This game shouldn’t be as challenging as last week. Coastal Carolina is rated lower than Indiana State. The Chanticleers are weak in the defensive secondary, and I expect Parchment and Charlot to have big games. The KU defensive front seven should be able to get plenty of pressure. Ultimately, I expect the Jayhawks to jump out to a lead early and never look back.

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