When/where: 6 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence
TV/radio: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel; KCSP (610 AM)
The series: First meeting
The line: KU by 29 1/2
What’s at stake
David Beaty is still searching for his first victory as KU’s coach, and he’ll never have an easier opportunity than this. Rhode Island, which is 5-41 in its last four seasons while competing at the FCS level, is 0-13 all-time against FBS teams.
Cheers if ...
KU finds itself on the right side of a blowout. The Jayhawks haven’t won a game by more than 21 points since Turner Gill’s first year in 2010. On the other end, KU lost eight games by more than three touchdowns last season alone.
Jeers if ...
The offense struggles again. Beaty refused to announce a starting quarterback before the game and also took play-calling duties away from offensive coordinator Rob Likens after last season in hopes of jump-starting the offense. Even with a subpar day, the Jayhawks should get into high-30s or even low-40s against a poor Rams defense.
Jesse Newell’s pick: KU 41-14
Those football fans who have stuck with the Jayhawks should be rewarded by seeing the team’s first victory in 22 calendar months. Expect a big game from receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez, whose speed should give him an additional edge over a lower-level opponent.
at Texas Tech
at West Virginia
at Kansas State
RHODE ISLAND (0-0)
at Stony Brook
at James Madison
Three things about Rhode Island
1. The Rams had two players named to the preseason all-conference team: kick returner Harold Cooper and linebacker Adam Parker. It was the first time the Rams had a pair of players on the list since 2011.
2. Rhode Island is rebuilding itself, as 28 of its 84 players were not on the roster last season. The Rams’ latest recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the Colonial Athletic Association by 247sports.
3. The Rams scored more than 21 points just once in 2015 while averaging 13.2 points per game.
KU offensive line vs. Rhode Island defense: Though the Jayhawks’ O-line is one of the team’s biggest concerns heading into the season, it still should be good enough to overpower the Rams. KU shouldn’t have to rely on its passing attack to win this game … but if it does, things could get interesting, especially with Beaty not throwing his full confidence behind a quarterback before the opener.