Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 game in our Kansas vs. Indiana State preview and prediction.
11:00 a.m. Central Time, Saturday, August 31st, 2019, Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kansas
TV: Fox Sports KC
Radio: Kansas: Jayhawk IMG Radio Network (PxP: Brian Hanni); Indiana State:
Fun Fact: Les Miles and Indiana State Coach Curt Malloy have a connection. Malloy played linebacker at Michigan from 1988-91, which is when Miles was an offensive assistant coach with the Wolverines.
QB Ryan Boyle
Boyle enters his final season with huge expectations. He was named Missouri Valley Football Conference Newcomer of the Year in 2018 after finishing the season as a true dual-threat quarterback with over 1,600 passing yards and more than 610 rushing yards and a combined 18 touchdowns. He led the team to five-straight wins to close out the 2018 season and finish 7-4 last year after going 0-11 in 2017.
LB Jonas Griffith
The fellow senior is the conference’s top returning tackler after earning First Team All-MVFC (132 tackles). He also led the team with 9.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He is the heavy favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year this fall and also earned Preseason All-American honors from a handful of media outlets (STATS FCS, HERO Sports and Phil Steele).
RB Khalil Herbert
Herbert saw his playing time dwindle last season because of the emergence of Pooka Williams. But Williams is suspended for the season opener so Herbert is likely to get the bulk of the carries. He struggled to get going at any point last season, but in 2017 he rushed for nearly 700 yards on 5.5 yards per carry, including a 291-yard game against West Virginia. It wouldn’t hurt to have one of those this weekend.
LB Azur Kamara
Kamara has the most experience returning at a very inexperienced group of linebackers. He played in all 12 games last season and wrapped up with 16 tackles, 5 tackles for loss and one sack. He’s a starter heading into this season and much will be expected as he tries to slow down an Indiana State offense led by a legitimate dual-threat quarterback in the aforementioned Ryan Boyle.
Stop the run. With Pooka Williams out of this game, Indiana State wants to stop the run to start the game and force whoever is playing quarterback for Kansas to beat them. It seems more and more likely that both Carter Stanely and Thomas MacVittie will play on Saturday. And you know what they say, when you have two quarterbacks you really have none.
The Jayhawks need to win the turnover battle. One thing the Jayhawks did very well last season was just that, finishing +16 in the category, which was the best in the Big 12. Their 27 takeaways were also tops in the conference. Granted some key players are gone from last year’s defense like Joe Dineen and Daniel Wise, if KU can keep that going and get the Indiana State offense off its game, that will bode well for its offense, which will take as much help as it can get to start the season.
Indiana State 21, Kansas 17
Kansas has lost its best players on defense and is very inexperienced, especially in the front seven. Meantime, the offense doesn’t have a clear winner at quarterback as head coach Les Miles said he will not name a starter before the game. Throw in Pooka Williams being suspended and there’s too many questions here. Meantime, Indiana State is ranked No. 16 in the FCS Preseason Poll with a lot of experience back on a team that closed on a five-game winning streak last season. I hate to call this one this way, but I see a disappointing start to the Les Miles tenure.
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