Kansas Football 2013: Previewing the Jayhawks vs. The Coyotes

John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

Kansas Football 2013: Previewing the Jayhawks vs. The Coyotes

We'll plan on diving into this a little more with upcoming opponents and spacing it out throughout the week, but for the opener, here's a quick rundown of Kansas v South Dakota.

South Dakota in Week One

South Dakota's defense pitched a shutout for 56 minutes and its offense ran out the clock late as the Coyotes beat UC Davis 10-7 in the season opener for both teams. USD has won 11 consecutive home openers dating back to 2003.

Freshman kicker Miles Bergner capped a six-minute drive with a 39-yard field goal that gave South Dakota a 10-0 lead with 6:38 to go. The Aggies countered with a nine-play drive capped by a 1-yard leap into the end zone by Gabe Manzanares with 3:41 left. UC Davis kicked off and never got it back as the Coyotes gained 52 yards on five consecutive runs to seal the win.

Sophomore linebacker Keyen Lage and senior cornerback Dyllon Knox led a USD defense that limited the Aggies to one scoring drive and 267 yards of offense. Lage had eight solo tackles, one of two USD sacks and broke up a pass early in the fourth quarter that prevented a big gain and led to a punt. Knox recovered a fumble early in the first quarter and blocked a 20-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. Vander Maten scored on a 3-yard run early in the second quarter for the only score of the first half. Terrance Terry's 21-yard sweep down to the 3 preceded the score. Vander Maten completed 9 of 17 passes for 91 yards. His quarterback sneak on 2nd-and-1 with 1:55 left and with no UC Davis timeouts remaining ended the game.

Scouting The KU Offense
The Jayhawks return one of top rushing offenses in the country. Led by senior halfback James Sims, KU will look to again control the tempo of the game by using its powerful running game. Junior quarterback Jake Heaps will look to rejuvenate the KU passing attack. Heaps, who transferred to KU from BYU and had to sit out the 2012 season, is armed and ready to lead the Jayhawks through the air. He will be assisted by the versatility of junior H/F Tony Pierson, who is one of the most explosive playmakers in the Big 12. Additionally, Heaps will have junior tight end Jimmay Mundine, who is primed for a breakout season, at his disposal.

Scouting The KU Defense
The Kansas defense returns only four starters from the 2012 season, but fortunately the top player from last season is back. Junior linebacker Ben Heeney, who ranked second in the Big 12 with 112 tackles last season, returns as the leader of the Jayhawks. Up front, seniors Kevin Young and Keba Agostinho will anchor the line, along with junior Keon Stowers. Heeney will have help from fellow linebackers Samson Faifili and Jake Love, while Ben Goodman and Michael Reynolds will look to rush the quarterback from the Buck position. The KU secondary will feature four new starters; a group that will be a little short on experience is loaded with athleticism and speed.

Scouting The South Dakota Offense
The Coyotes used a heavy rushing attack to ground out a 10-7 win against UC Davis as three different backs, including quarterback Josh Vander Maten, logged at least 10 carries. Trevor Bouma, who earned USD's Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year honor as a redshirting freshman last season, ran for a game-high 95 yards on 17 carries. Jordan Roberts, another redshirt freshman and former Gatorade Player of the Year in Wyoming, scorched UC Davis for 6.6 yards per carry en route to 66 yards and Vander Maten showed he's a true dual threat with 42 yards on 16 carries, including a three-yard TD run in the second quarter. Vander Maten threw for 1,662 yards a year ago and ran for nearly 500, while leading the team in rushing attempts (138) and rushing touchdowns (6). In all, 195 of the Coyotes' 286 offensive yards came on the ground in the first week. On special teams, freshman kicker/punter Miles Bergner was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after kicking the eventual game-winning 39-yard field goal and placed all five of his punts inside the 25, including two inside the 12.

Scouting The South Dakota Defense
South Dakota shutout UC Davis for three quarters and surrendered just one touchdown in a 10-7, season-opening win in Vermillion, S.D., last Saturday. The Coyotes limited UC Davis to 267 total yards, including just 110 yards through the air. The Coyotes feature an impressive linebacking corps in Tyler Starr, Keyen Lage and Auston Johnson. Starr, a member of the Buck Buchanan Award watch list was an All-MVFC performer a year ago and recorded a pair of tackles against UC Davis on Saturday. Lage, one of just two freshmen to letter for the Coyotes during the 2012 season, led USD with nine total tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss and proved to be ball disruptive with a forced fumble and pass break-up from the linebacker position. Johnson, a junior college transfer who was courted by FBS teams like BYU, Ohio State, UTEP and Texas A&M, recorded seven tackles at linebacker in his USD debut against UC Davis.

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