University of Kansas

Kansas-Central Michigan college football preview

Kansas Jayhawks running back Corey Avery.
Kansas Jayhawks running back Corey Avery. The Kansas City Star

▪ When/where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence

▪ TV/radio: Fox Sports KC; KMBZ (980 AM)

▪ The series: Kansas leads 1-0

▪ The line: Kansas by 3

KANSAS (1-1)

Date

Opponent

Result/time

Sept. 6

Southeast Missouri

W, 34-28

Sept. 13

at Duke

L, 41-3

Saturday

Central Michigan

2:30 p.m.

Sept. 27

Texas

3 p.m.

Oct. 4

at West Virginia

TBA

Oct. 11

Oklahoma State

TBA

Oct. 18

at Texas Tech

TBA

Nov. 1

at Baylor

TBA

Nov. 8

Iowa State

TBA

Nov. 15

TCU

TBA

Nov. 22

at Oklahoma

TBA

Nov. 29

at Kansas State

TBA

CENTRAL MICHIGAN (2-1)

Date

Opponent

Result/time

Aug. 28

Chattanooga

W, 20-16

Sept. 6

at Purdue

W, 38-17

Sept. 13

Syracuse

L, 40-3

Saturday

at Kansas

2:30 p.m.

Sept. 27

at Toledo

6 p.m.

Oct. 4

Ohio

TBA

Oct. 11

at Northern Illinois

5 p.m.

Oct. 18

Ball State

TBA

Oct. 25

at Buffalo

TBA

Nov. 1

at Eastern Michigan

TBA

Nov. 15

Miami (Ohio)

TBA

Nov. 22

Western Michigan

TBA

What’s at stake

After last week’s atrocious performance, coach Charlie Weis and Kansas are in need of a bounce-back performance against Central Michigan. That’s obvious. During a preseason appearance in Prairie Village, Weis pleaded with fans to give him September to show progress on the field. Come to Memorial Stadium, Weis said, and it’s up to him to take care of October and November. Well, Weis’ approval ratings are fading around Lawrence. After two mediocre performances, it’s imperative that Kansas beats Central Michigan — and does it in impressive fashion.

Cheers if …

Offensive coordinator John Reagan can unlock the Kansas offense. In the last seven quarters, KU has managed just 13 points. Weis was hopeful that Reagan’s new spread offense would add some simplicity and efficiency — especially to the passing game. Thus far, sophomore Montell Cozart is completing 45 percent of his passes for 285 yards.

Jeers if …

The Jayhawks lose the turnover battle again. Kansas was minus-two in turnovers after Cozart threw two interceptions last week. The Jayhawks need to protect the ball — and force some turnovers of their own.

Three things about Central Michigan

1 Central Michigan is expected to play without star running back Thomas Rawls, who is facing legal trouble after a reported theft charge. Rawls, a Michigan transfer, was the catalyst in the Chippewas’ blowout victory over Purdue on Sept. 6.

2 The Chippewas offense, led by longtime college assistant Morris Watts, is a throwback to a different era, featuring a starting fullback and tight end. Watts, who was the offensive coordinator at Kansas in 1982, began his coaching career at Drake in 1965.

3 Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush is a pocket passer who has completed 44 of 76 passes for four touchdowns.

Key matchup

Kansas’ running backs vs. the Central Michigan defense. Last week, Syracuse shredded the Chippewas for 289 yards rushing in a 40-3 victory. Three players rushed for at least 55 yards, and two players averaged more than 7 yards per carry. KU freshman Corey Avery and De’Andre Mann have looked like capable runners in two games. Can they make Central Michigan’s defense pay?

KANSAS OFFENSE

P

No.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

WR

19

Justin McCay

6-2

210

Jr.

LT

61

Pat Lewandowski

6-5

290

Sr.

LG

63

Ngalu Fusimalohi

6-2

310

Sr.

C

70

Keyon Haughton

6-2

300

Jr.

RG

65

Mike Smithburg

6-3

305

Sr.

RT

73

Damon Martin

6-3

305

Jr.

TE

41

Jimmay Mundine

6-2

240

Sr.

WR

8

Nick Harwell

6-1

193

Sr.

WR

3

Tony Pierson

5-10

175

Sr.

QB

2

Montell Cozart

6-2

200

So.

RB

23

De’Andre Mann

5-9

198

Jr.

K

17

Matthew Wyman

6-1

200

So.

KANSAS DEFENSE

P

No.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

DT

35

T.J. Semke

6-2

265

Jr.

NT

98

Keon Stowers

6-3

297

Sr.

DE

93

Ben Goodman

6-3

250

Jr.

LB

55

Michael Reynolds

6-1

240

Sr.

LB

31

Ben Heeney

6-2

230

Sr.

LB

57

Jake Love

6-0

220

Jr.

NB

30

Tevin Shaw

5-11

192

So.

CB

24

JaCorey Shepherd

5-11

195

Sr.

SS

5

Isaiah Johnson

6-1

210

Jr.

FS

33

Cassius Sendish

6-0

195

Sr.

CB

12

Dexter McDonald

6-1

205

Sr.

P

16

Trevor Pardula

6-5

212

Sr.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN OFFENSE

P

No.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

WR

85

Courtney Williams

6-1

212

Sr.

WR

84

Titus Davis

6-2

190

Sr.

LT

77

Ramadan Ahmeti

6-7

300

Jr.

LG

66

Andy Phillips

6-3

306

Sr.

C

54

Nick Beamish

6-3

310

Jr.

RG

75

Kenny Rogers

6-6

310

Jr.

RT

60

Kevin Henry

6-4

306

Sr.

TE

33

Mike Kinville

6-3

255

Sr.

QB

10

Cooper Rush

6-3

220

So.

FB

44

Anthony Garland

6-1

230

Sr.

RB

6

Saylor Lavallii

5-9

213

Jr.

K

17

Ron Coluzzi

5-11

185

So.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN DEFENSE

P

No.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

DE

45

Joe Ostman

6-3

250

So.

DT

58

Leterrius Walton

6-5

300

Sr.

DT

52

Jabari Dean

6-2

295

So.

DE

2

Blake Serpa

6-3

255

Jr.

LB

46

Justin Cherocci

6-0

231

Sr.

LB

51

Cody Lopez

6-1

228

Sr.

CB

4

Brandon Greer

6-1

203

Jr.

S

29

Jarret Chapman

6-0

200

Sr.

S

10

Kevin King

5-10

194

Sr.

S

18

Tony Annese

6-1

205

So.

CB

14

Jason Wilson

6-0

185

Sr.

P

17

Ron Coluzzi

5-11

185

So.

Rustin Dodd’s pick: Kansas 17-10

The Jayhawks may need a masterful performance to escape with a victory against Central Michigan, which lost 40-3 last week to Syracuse. It’s early, but the KU offense doesn’t appear capable of putting up big numbers.

Rustin Dodd, rdodd@kcstar.com

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