University of Kansas

KU football should get top defensive players back Saturday

Kansas’ Dorance Armstrong celebrated after tackling Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes during Thursday’s game.
Kansas’ Dorance Armstrong celebrated after tackling Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes during Thursday’s game. The Associated Press

Kansas coach David Beaty shared some good news during Monday’s Big 12 teleconference.

Dorance Armstrong and Daniel Wise, who have emerged as all-conference-type defensive players through the first four weeks of the season, should be able to play Saturday against TCU after suffering injuries in the second half of KU’s 55-19 loss to Texas Tech on Thursday.

“We think Dorance is going to be fine. Daniel Wise, we think he’ll be OK,” Beaty said. “We’ll know a lot more definitively (Tuesday).”

Armstrong, a sophomore, has two sacks in each of KU’s last two games, and his four sacks are tied for the Big 12 lead.

Wise, who also is a sophomore, has four tackles-for-loss and as of last week was ranked as a top-five interior defender in the nation according to grades at Pro Football Focus.

Both players left Thursday’s game, which could have been a reason for Texas Tech’s late offensive dominance. The Red Raiders scored four touchdowns in the final quarter and a half, turning a nine-point game into a laugher.

“I look up out there toward the end of the game, and there’s nine of the 11 guys that are young, freshmen or sophomores that really hadn’t been on the field most nights,” Beaty said. “We got a lot of people in the game, which is good opportunity, but we did have some guys that got banged up.”

Some of KU’s freshmen struggled. That included safety Mike Lee, who delivered one of the game’s biggest hits early but also was beaten in coverage frequently. He allowed seven of nine catches for 140 yards with three touchdowns and one pass breakup, according to Pro Football Focus.

“Really the message with our guys is, ‘You have to be prepared. Whether you’re first or third on that depth chart, when your time comes, man, we need you to stand up and answer that bell,’ ” Beaty said. “We can’t have a dropoff.

“Even though I understand why there’s a reason why a guy’s a starter and maybe a guy isn’t, at the end of the day, we all have to prepare like we’re the starter, because when your time comes and your opportunity comes, you’ve got to be able to produce at the same rate.”

Jesse Newell: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell

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