Big 12 Previews

Kansas vs. Coastal Carolina: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: South Dakota at Kansas

Here is everything you need to know about the Kansas Jayhawks and Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in our Kansas vs. Coastal Carolina preview.

Game Info

6:30 p.m. Central Time, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, Brooks Stadium, Conway, South Carolina

TV: ESPN2

Radio: Jayhawk Sports Network

Records: Kansas, 1-0; Coastal Carolina, 1-0.

Ranking: Kansas: None; Coastal Carolina: No. 17 (AP); No.   19 (USA Today/Coaches)

Last week: Kansas def. South Dakota, 17-14; Coastal Carolina def. The Citadel, 52-14.

 

Key players

Kansas

QB Jason Bean: Kansas announced the day of the opener that Bean would be the starting quarterback against South Dakota. Been had a solid outing, throwing for 163 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. It made him the first Kansas quarterback in more than a decade to throw for multiple touchdown passes and no interceptions in his Kansas debut. He also rushed for 54 yards, the most for a Kansas quarterback in nearly two years. Bean transferred to Kansas from North Texas in the offseason and won the job against Kansas’ holdovers from the Les Miles era.  Now, the task is to build on that solid outing against Coastal Carolina.

WR Lawrence Arnold: This is supposed to be Kwamie Lassiter’s wide receiving corps. But, it looks like he may have some help. Arnold, a redshirt freshman, caught just three passes against South Dakota last week. But, two of those were touchdown passes, including the game winner. He’s the first Kansas freshman in a decade to have two touchdowns in a season opener. If Arnold can be consistently productive that could help bolster the numbers of Lassiter and the other wide receivers on this roster. At the least, it was an auspicious season debut for the second-year college player.

LB Gavin Potter: Three players had seven tackles for the Jayhawks against South Dakota. Two were usual suspects in defensive end Kyron Johnson and safety Kenny Logan. The third was Potter, a junior who built some momentum last season with five straight starts to end the season. He finished 2020 with 35 tackles (25 solo, 10 assisted) and two tackles for loss. The Broken Bow, Oklahoma, native is emerging as a powerful piece of the Kansas defense and should serve to further solidify the second level for Kansas.

Coastal Carolina

QB Grayson McCall: Jayhawks fans already know McCall pretty well by this point. The redshirt sophomore picked up where he left off against The Citadel last weekend, throwing for 262 yards and one touchdown. The rub is that he completed 16 of his 19 passes in the contest. McCall didn’t have to play the entire game because Coastal Carolina had things well in hand by the fourth quarter, so he should be well rested and ready for Friday’s game.

WR Jaivon Heiligh: Tight end Isaiah Likely gets a lot of national attention, and it’s justified. But keep an eye on the senior, Heiligh, too. He’s coming off a game against The Citadel in which he had six catches for 133 yards and a touchdown. He had three catches for 74 yards and a touchdowns against Kansas last season, and by the end of 2020 he had 65 catches for 998 yards.

DT C.J. Brewer. Brewer, a super-senior, had nine tackles against The Citadel last week. He’s on practically every preseason watch list for his position. He was a third-team Associated Press All-American in 2020 after he had 6 1/2 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and 60 tackles. At 6-foot-2, 290 pounds, he’s playing his way into a spot in the NFL. Right now, he’s the party crasher of Coastal’s front four.

 

Key storylines

Kansas

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold said he wasn’t into “style points” after Kansas defeated South Dakota, and The Jayhawks’ 17-14 victory certainly wasn’t stylish. But it got the job done. It got the Leipold era started with a victory. And it at least gives Kansas a bit of a springboard going into their game with Coastal Carolina. Kansas should be happy with their defense. It gave up 262 yards of total offense, the fewest in an opener since 2017. Kansas gave up 98 passing yards, their third straight game giving up less than 117 passing yards (dating back to last season). Kansas held the South Dakota offense to just 3-for-16 on third and fourth downs. Coastal Carolina will be a significant jump in competition, but at least Kansas has something to feel good about defensively going into that game.

Coastal Carolina

Coastal Carolina is riding high right now. In just its fifth year in FBS, the program started the season ranked in both national polls for the first time, is coming off a season in which it lost just one game and enters Friday’s contest looking for another win over a Power Five opponent. Coastal may play in the Sun Belt Conference, but they look like a team that could be competitive in a Power Five league every week. Thanks in part to the COVID-19 waivers, the Chanticleers have 19 of their 22 starters returning. Last season, they appeared to be poised to crash the College Football Playoff’s New Year’s Six bowl system (it ended up being Cincinnati). Moving into 2021, the Chants are going to get everyone’s best shot. And that includes Kansas.

Fun fact: This fact may not be fun for Kansas fans, but Coastal Carolina has a 2-0 advantage over Kansas in their all-time series. Kansas fell to Coastal Carolina, 38-20, in the season opener for both teams in 2020. Kansas also lost to Coastal in the 2019 opener. Both of those games were in Lawrence, Kansas. This will be the Jayhawks’ first visit to Conway.

 

Prediction: Coastal Carolina 37, Kansas 21

The Jayhawks go into this game as big underdogs on the road, and they should be. They’ve lost their only two games with Coastal Carolina, and the Chanticleers look like the better team. Kansas played well against South Dakota, but it’s also clear they have a long way to go to be competitive in the Big 12, much less with a program like Coastal. The Chants may not cover the spread in this game, but they will win. They drew more than 16,000 to their game with The Citadel last week. You can expect a bigger crowd when they host Kansas on Friday.

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You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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