So that happened.
Kansas jumped on Rhody early and the game was never really in doubt. Despite Rhode Island rushing for 170 yards on the night (111 in the first half), the Rams couldn’t get anything going through the air as Kansas routinely harassed URI quarterback Wesley McKoy. However, the KU defense was only credited with three QB hurries and one sack. The Kansas secondary was credited with eight pass breakups, helping lead to McKoy’s 6/23 line for 49 yards.
Kansas outgained URI 570-219. KU converted 28 first downs compared to URI’s 13. One concerning note is that the Jayhawks were “only” 6/11 on third downs against this FCS opponent, but held URI to 4/15 on third down. KU turned it over twice while forcing three Rhode Island turnovers. The Jayhawks converted their only fourth down attempt and missed their only field goal attempt, a 31-yarder.
Montell Cozart started and went 18/25 for 199 yards with 3 TDs and an INT. Cozart threw a couple of really nice balls, especially when on the run, but the INT was just a terrible play. No idea why he thought he could fit that pass in there. Cozart added 17 rushing yards on 4 carries. Despite the head-scratching INT, Cozart was still the best QB on the field for the Jayhawks Saturday night.
Ryan Willis got a lot of playing time as well as Beaty altered QBs throughout the game. Willis was 7/9 for 144 yards and 2 TDs, but keep in mind, one of those TDs was a screen pass that Steven Sims broke open for 71 yards. Willis also constantly underthrew receivers throughout the game. He added 22 rushing yards on two carries.
Carter Stanley saw mop-up duty late in the fourth quarter, but did get to fire off four passes. He went 3/4 for 56 yards and a TD. Two of those catches were long balls, both to Chase Harrell, and as was the theme for Kansas QBs all-night, both were underthrown with the receiver making a good play on the ball for the reception.
Khalil Herbert, the true freshman out of Florida, started at RB but had a tough time of it, gaining only 15 yards on four carries. His longest tote went for nine yards.
Taylor Martin was the second RB into the game. He went for 33 yards on 6 carries.
Ke’aun Kinner was the third RB into the game for Kansas and ended up leading the Jayhawks in rushing. He entered the game with a little over four minutes to go before halftime and was consistently the best back wearing Jayhawk blue all night long. Kinner finished with 69 yards (nice) on only 7 carries with a TD. His longest rush went for 20 yards. Kinner also added one reception for 15 yards.
Denzell Evans, the Arkansas transfer, was the fourth RB into the game, seeing his first action during the same drive as Ke’Aun Kinner. Evans struggled to find running room, going for only 24 yards on 9 attempts.
Steven Sims, Jr. is the BMOC this week. Sims had at least one drop that was pretty bad, but redeemed himself two plays later. He finished with 124 yards on 5 receptions with 2 TDs and a long of 71 yards - a WR screen where he weaved through the URI secondary and blew past everyone.
Quiv Gonzalez shined in his Kansas debut. The former five-star Texas A&M recruit was steady all-night long for the Jayhawks, leading the team in receptions with 7 going for 78 yards and a TD. Quiv made a great play for KU’s second touchdown of the night, catching a badly underthrown pass from Ryan Willis with a defensive back all over him.
Quiv was also KU’s primary kick and punt returner, but was forced to call for a lot of fair catches on the night. He returned one punt for 17 yards and two kickoffs for a total of 41 yards.
Tyler Patrick hauled in five catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Chase Harrell was Carter Stanley’s favorite target, getting two receptions for 51 yards and a TD.
Matthew Wyman continues to be a headcase as a placekicker. He missed his only attempt, a 31-yarder. He did have a solid game as the kickoff specialist, hitting several out of the end zone and ending up with five touchbacks. URI only returned four of Wyman’s nine kickoffs.
Cole Moos is apparently the new punter. He nailed three punts for an average of 42.0 yards, with two of those settling inside the opponent’s 20 yard line.
DT Daniel Wise led the Jayhawks with five tackles (4 solo) while also being credited with two QB hurries and a blocked PAT.
SS Bazie Bates was credited with four solo tackles as well, one TFL, and had KU’s only INT on the night.
FS Fish Smithson collected four tackles (3 solo) to go along with a pass break-up.
LB Courtney Arnick got KU’s only sack to go along with his four tackles (3 solo).