Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 game in our Kansas vs. Coastal Carolina preview and prediction.
Saturday, September 10th, 2020; 11 a.m. kickoff, Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman, Bo Garrett)
Radio: Jayhawk Radio Network (Brian Hanni, David Lawrence)
Spread: Kansas -7
RB Pooka Williams
The entire offense runs around Pooka, as it should. He is a massive talent who will be playing on Sundays. Williams enters his junior season with 2,186 yards and 10 touchdowns on 364 carries, averaging 6.0 yards per carry. He became just the second Jayhawk to rush for 2,000 or more yards in his first two seasons, joining Kansas legend Gale Sayers. He ranks 12th on the KU career rushing list and expect to see him skyrocket up that list this fall.
LB Dru Prox
Prox was a leader for the KU defense at the start of last season, but his 2019 year was cut short by injuries as he only ended up playing in four games. But coincidentally enough, he had a career-best 11 tackles against Coastal Carolina in the loss last year. This is a young defense and Prox as a junior should provide some stable, veteran leadership.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
RB CJ Marable
Marable is a second-team all-conference selection for Coastal and he lit it up against KU last year. In a low-scoring game (12-7), he rushed 24 times for 148 yards and a score, and also caught a 20-yard touchdown pass to account for both of CCU’s touchdowns in the win.
DE Tarron Jackson
Jackson started 12 games last season and has 25 starters for his career. He was a first-team All-Sun Belt selection last season when he also set a single-season record with 10.0 sacks. The 72 yards lost from his 10.0 sacks on the season was also a CCU single-season record. He led the team and ranked fifth in the Sun Belt with 13.0 tackles-for-loss, of which 9.5 came in conference play, and was second on the team with a total of 60 tackles on the year in 2019.
The Jayhawks have to find an identity on offense and figure out who their quarterback is going to be moving forward, either Thomas MacVittie or Miles Kendrick. They are both expected to play this weekend. Pooka Williams is an incredible talent, but he can’t be expected to do it all. One place Kansas’ offense did perform well in was the red zone, as the Jayhawks converted on 88.2 percent of trips to the red zone, which ranked 38th in the FBS. They’ll need to cash in on these opportunities on Saturday night because the Coastal defense will be pretty stout.
Coastal needs to use the clock as its friend and get to the new quarterback. On offense, that means riding Marable, like they did last season in their win over KU when Coastal held the ball for 12:40 of the fourth quarter. Last year KU ranked 124th in rushing defense. Meantime, if Coastal can get to whoever is under center for KU and make them uncomfortable, it can be a surprisingly good night for them to try and pull off the upset.
Kansas 21, Coastal Carolina 17
This is not going to be an easy one for KU. There is a ton of talented players back for Coastal Carolina and they have the confidence following last year’s win too. Also, Coastal is returning a lot of players from last season, which could play a big role in an offseason where teams couldn’t practice and prepare as much as normal. The offense returns 10 starters, while the defense brings seven back. Coastal Carolina can absolutely win this game, but I’m going to believe that KU’s superior natural talent and it’s coaching staff will help the Jayhawks prevail.
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