Kansas came into today’s game expecting to get the first win for second-year coach David Beaty, but the day got off to an uneasy start. Kansas received the ball first, but the first play from scrimmage was a delay of game penalty. I’m not sure how that even happens at the very beginning of the game.
After what seemed like a never ending game of cat and mouse concerning the starting quarterback, Montell Cozart lined up to start the game. The first drive went only 15 yards on 6 plays, but the Kansas special teams were able to make a big play, forcing a fumble on the punt that was recovered on the Rams’ 13 yard line to set up a short drive. Cozart came back out and the Jayhawks needed 5 plays to punch the ball in for the first score of the season.
Rhode Island appeared to be ready to drive down for a score of their own, but the Kansas defense made their presence known, as Damani Mosby forced a fumble that was recovered by Dorance Armstrong. Ryan Willis made his first appearance in the game, sandwiching a 28 yard pass to Bobby Hartzog Jr. and an 18 yard TD pass to LaQuvionte Gonzalez around an incomplete pass. The snap was fumbled for the extra point though, so Kansas only took a 13-0 lead.
The teams traded three-and-outs, plus another punt by the Rams, and then Kansas put together their first long drive of the game, starting on their own 38 yard line. In 6 plays, they drove down for another score, ending with a 35-yard pass from Montell Cozart to a falling over Steven Sims Jr. just 15 seconds into the second quarter.
Rhode Island finally put some plays together, gashing the Kansas defense for big runs as they worked their way down the field. Tevin Shaw intercepted the ball for Kansas, but a pass interference call on Tyrone Miller gave the ball back to the Rams, and on 3rd and 7 from the KU 23, Rams QB Wesley McKoy scrambled and floated a pass to Aaron Parker, who stretch for the pylon to get the TD. The PAT was blocked, and Kansas led 20-6.
The Jayhawks answered with a long drive of their own, as Cozart completed 5 passes to 3 different receivers, and Taylor Martin had 2 long runs and finished the drive with a 1 yard TD run.
The half ended with another interception (Bazie Bates picking off McKoy again at the KU 45) and then a missed field goal attempt by Matthew Wyman (who I thought was bad enough last year that they wouldn’t give him another chance this year) before the Rams ran out the clock.
Kansas outgained Rhode Island in the first half by only 130 yards, but they forced 3 turnovers without giving the ball away. They led 27-6.
The slaughter continued in the second half, as the Rams were forced to punt quickly before Cozart marched the Jayhawks down the field yet again, ending the drive with a 20 yard TD pass to Tyler Patrick.
Rhode Island got their last highlight of the night in the next drive when they intercepted a Cozart pass in the end zone to keep the margin steady, but from that point forward they would only get 2 first downs as the Kansas defense clamped down.
After the Cozart interception, Willis entered the game again and quickly scored. His second pass was a screen pass to Steven Sims Jr. that turned into a quick 71-yard score.
Ke’aun Kinner ran for another touchdown to make it 48-6 on the next drive, and garbage time had officially begun. 3rd-string QB Carter Stanley came in for the last 3 Jayhawk drives, getting one touchdown on a 13 yard pass to Chase Harrell.
Final Score: Kansas 55, Rhode Island 6. To put that in perspective:
For those wondering: #kufball hasn't scored 50 in game since a 52-45 victory over Colorado on Nov. 6, 2010. At 48 now with 14:07 left.— Matt Galloway (@themattgalloway) September 4, 2016
And of course the best highlight of the night was saved for the celebration:
The Kansas Jayhawks are undefeated. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.