On a night where the Kansas Jayhawks honored Aqib Talib, Anthony Collins, Mark Mangino and the 2007 Orange Bowl team, Peyton Bender shined in his debut as he tries to lead this team to its own successful season.
Southeast Missouri State didn’t appear to know how to handle the Jayhawks early in the game, as they failed to get a first down before Kansas was already up 14-0. While they stopped the Kansas offense until the very end of the half, they were only able to score after forcing a fumble on a punt return that set up an extremely short field. Kansas came alive for a final drive as they scored a touchdown with just a few seconds left to take a 21-7 lead into the half.
SEMO scored a field goal after KU went 3-and-out to start the half, but Kansas came right back, scoring two TDs in a total of 4 plays on their next two drives. A fumble by SEMO led to a KU FG, and at that point the game was basically over. SEMO scored a TD on the next drive, but their next drive came up empty. Bender forced a throw and got an interception late in the game, but at that point there was just nothing SEMO could do to make it a game again.
Kansas starts 1-0 for the second year in a row, beating an overmatched opponent at home. Peyton Bender was 23-37 for 364 yards, with 4 TD and 2 INTs. The leading rusher for the Jayhawks was Dom Williams with 41 yards on 10 carries. Steven Sims Jr was the leading receiver, with 142 yards and 2 TDs on only 4 receptions. Bender threw to 9 different receivers tonight, so he did a great job and spreading the ball around.
The defense didn’t have a great night, with the only turnover coming on a botched snap by the Redhawks. I didn’t see anyone credited with a sack on the night, so while the line got some consistent pressure, it was a bit frustrating to see that not pay off in negative plays.
Hopefully this win can give the team enough confidence to build into a strong showing against Central Michigan and at Ohio. We’ll have more analysis for you in the next few days, but for now, we’ll turn the comments section over to you to celebrate.