Jayhawks set for road contest at West Virginia

Sep, 15, 2018; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; ©Kelly Ross

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KU Athletics) Kansas football will travel east to Morgantown, West Virginia on October 6 to take on No. 9/8 West Virginia in the Jayhawks' second Big 12 road contest of the season. KU and WVU will square off at Milan Puskar Stadium at 11 a.m. CT (Noon ET) on ESPN2.

Joe Dineen Jr., is climbing the Kansas tackles-for-loss chart after turning in a Big 12-best 25.0 in 2017. Dineen's 25.0 stops behind the line of scrimmage marked a new KU single-season record. He now has 38.0 TFLs in his career, which ranks fourth on KU's all-time chart. Fellow senior Daniel Wise is right behind Dineen with 34.5 career TFLs, ranking seventh in Jayhawks history. Kansas' career record holder, Willie Pless, notched 41.0 TFLs in his four seasons in the Crimson and Blue.

Tackles-for-Loss No. Years
1. Willie Pless 41.0 1982-85
2. Nick Reid 40.0 2002-05
Jim Zidd 40.0 1977-79
4. Joe Dineen Jr. 38.0 2014-Present
5. Ben Heeney 35.5 2011-14
6. Algie Atkinson 35.0 1998-2001
7. Daniel Wise 34.5 2015-Present
8. Dorance Armstrong Jr. 34.0 2015-17
Jake Laptad 33.5 2007-10
10. Mike Butler 33.0 1973-76

Through five weeks of the 2018 campaign the KU defense has made huge strides in comparison to a year ago (after 5 games), as the Kansas defense currently leads the Big 12 conference in four categories and the FBS in turnover margin and turnovers gained.

Category '17 FBS Rank '18 FBS Rank Improvement
Turnover Margin 122 1 +121
Turnovers Gained 91 1 +90
Interceptions 92 4 +88
Scoring Defense 126 57 +69
Pass Efficiency Def. 126 64 +62
Fumbles Rec. 65 5 +60
Total Defense 122 68 +54
First Downs Defense 94 61 +33
Def. TDs N/A 3 N/A

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr., has had an impressive start as he is the first freshman in Jayhawk history to rush for back-to-back 100-yard rushing games to open his career. Williams owns the second highest rushing contest in the Big 12 thus far with his 163-yard performance in KU's win over Rutgers. Williams has collected 474 yards on 60 carries, good for 7.9 yards per carry and four touchdowns.

Kansas Freshmen Rushing Records
RK YDS Player Game (Date)
1. 237 June Henley Iowa State (10-16-1993)
2. 216 Kerwin Bell K-State (11-1-1980)
3. 178 June Henley Oklahoma (10-23-1993)
4. 177 Tony Sands Oklahoma St. (11-12-1988)
5. 163 Pooka Williams Jr. Rutgers (9-15-2018)
6. 160 Clark Green Oklahoma St. (11-16-2002)
7. 157 Kerwin Bell Colorado (11-15-1980)
8. 156 Kerwin Bell Iowa State (10-18-1980)
9. 148 June Henley Nebraska (11-6-1993)
10. 143 Kerwin Bell Syracuse (10-4-1980)
11. 131 Clark Green SW Mo. St. (9-14-2002)
12. 125 Pooka Williams Jr. Central Michigan (9-8-2018)

Through the first four games of his career, Kansas freshman running back Pooka Williams Jr., has posted the top rushing output of any first-year player in KU history. Williams has topped the Kansas Comet, Gale Sayers, and ranks at the top among the Jayhawk all-time rushing leaders.

Top Jayhawk Rushers Through First 4 Career Games
Player Year Rushing Yards
1. Pooka Williams Jr. 2018 474
2. Gale Sayers 1961 403
3. Kerwin Bell 1980 342
4. James Sims 2010 329
5. Clark Green 2002 287

Pooka Williams Jr., is the first player in FBS history (with records dating back to 1996) to have a 40+ yard rush in each of their first four games. Williams is also the first Kansas player (records dating back to 1996) of any class to have four-straight games with a 40+ yard-carry. The only Kansas player with a streak of three-consectuve games with a rush of 40+ yards is Khalil Herbert in 2017. Additionally, Williams and Memphis' Darrell Henderson are the only players in the FBS to post a four-game streak with a 40+ yard rush in 2018.

Most Consecutive Games with Rush of 40+ Yards to Start Career (Since 1996)
Pooka Williams Jr., Kansas 4 9/8/2018 9/29/2018
Travis Etienne, Clemson 3 9/2/2017 9/23/2017
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska 3 9/4/2010 9/18/2010
Joel Armstrong, Rice 3 9/25/2004 10/09/2004
Tony Hollings, Georgia Tech 3 8/31/2002 9/14/2002
Cecil Collins, LSU 3 9/13/1997 9/27/1997

Pooka Williams Runs of 40+ yards
at Central Michigan 41 yards*
vs. Rutgers 52 yards*
at Baylor 72 yards
vs. Oklahoma State 60 yards*
*play resulted in a TD

Senior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., is approaching several career milestones. He currently ranks third in career receptions (184) and is fourth in receiving yards (2,164) and tied for third in touchdown receptions (17).
Kansas Career Receptions
RK Name Number Years
1. Kerry Meier 226 2007-09
2. Dezmon Briscoe 219 2007-09
3. Steven Sims Jr. 184 2015-Present

Kansas Career Receiving Yards
RK Name Yards Years
1. Dezmon Briscoe 3,240 2007-09
2. Kerry Meier 2,309 2007-09
3. Willie Vaughn 2,266 1985-88
4. Steven Sims Jr. 2,164 2015-Present
5. Mark Simmons 2,161 2002-05

Kansas Career Receiving Touchdowns
RK Name TDS Years
1. Dezmon Briscoe 31 2007-09
2. Kerry Meier 18 2007-09
T3.Steven Sims Jr. 17 2015-Present
Willie Vaughn 17 1985-88
Bruce Adams 17 1972-74

Eight different Jayhawks have snagged an interception, with three being returned for touchdowns. Seniors LB Joe Dineen Jr., CB Shakial Taylor, juniors S Mike Lee, S Bryce Torneden, S Jeremiah McCullough and CB Elmore Hempstead, sophomore S Ricky Thomas and freshman CB Corione Harris have each gotten in on the action. Taylor (55), Torneden (39) and Lee (31) have each made their way to pay dirt following their interception as the Jayhawks lead the FBS in defensive touchdowns with three.

Kansas has put together a +12 turnover margin through its first five games of the 2018 season, which leads the FBS. The Jayhawk defense and special teams have combined to force their opponents into 14 turnovers, including six in consecutive wins over Central Michigan and Rutgers, after producing just nine turnovers by its opponents in all of 2017. KU has had 11 players have a hand in the turnovers forced thus far with Joe Dineen Jr., (INT, FR), Bryce Torneden (INT, 2FR), Shakial Taylor (INT, FF) Kyron Johnson (FR, FF) and Mike Lee (INT, FF) have all been a part of multiple forced turnovers. Kansas leads the Big 12 and ranks fourth in the FBS in interceptions (8) and fifth in fumbles recovered (6).

Senior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., hit the ground running in 2018 as he leads KU with 63 total tackles, including 45 solo stops. Dineen now has 20 career games with 10 or more tackles. He currently leads the Big 12 and FBS in solo tackles (9.0 per game) and ranks second in the conference and seventh in the nation in total tackles (12.6 per game). Dineen finished as the nation's leader in solo tackles in 2017, while ranking third in both total tackles and tackles-for-loss. Dineen was named the Lott IMPACT Trophy Player of the Week on Sept. 11 following his 14-tackle, one-interception performance against Central Michigan. He is a candidate for the national award honoring college football's Defensive Player of the Year who best exemplifies the IMPACT acronym: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Sophomore punter Kyle Thompson has had a strong start to the 2018 season. Thompson has booted the ball 33 times, averaging 43.6 yards per punt. He has recorded nine punts of 50 or more yards, including a career-long 65-yarder at Baylor in the Big 12-opener. Additionally, he has dropped 14 punts inside the 20-yard line. Thompson is third in the Big 12 Conference and ranks 26th in the FBS after five weeks of action with his 43.6 yards per punt.

Kansas hasn't won a Big 12 road game since Oct. 4, 2008 when the Jayhawks defeated Iowa State, 35-33, in Ames - a streak of 41-consecutive true road losses (Kansas defeated Missouri in 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium and since then, has lost 44 conference games played outside of Lawrence, with losses at Arrowhead to Missouri in 2009, 2010 and 2011).

The vote is in and a trio of seniors in wide receiver Jeremiah Booker, linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., and defensive tackle Daniel Wise have been selected by their teammates to serve as permanent team captains for the 2018 season. Booker and Wise are each filling the role for the second-straight season, while Dineen is in his third season as a designated leader of the team. Dineen is in rare company when it comes to three-time captains as he is only the third player in KU's 128-year history to serve as a captain three-consecutive seasons joining QB Zac Wegner (1998-99-2000) and linebacker Banks Floodman (2003-04-05).

As the 2018 season rolls along, the following is a cumulative list of honors earned by Kansas players:
Joe Dineen Jr.
--Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week (Sept. 10)
--Lott IMPACT Trophy Player of the Week (Sept. 11)

Pooka Williams Jr.
--Big 12 Newcomer of the Week (Sept. 10)
--ESPN True Freshman of the Week (Sept. 10)
--Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Week (Oct. 1)

In 2018 Kansas fields a team with 11 players on it who have already earned their undergraduate degrees. KU is one of 16 FBS schools with 11 or more graduates suiting up in 2018:
No. of Grads School
19 UAB
17 Clemson
15 Arizona State
15 Pittsburgh
14 Baylor
14 Northwestern
14 SMU
12 Alabama
12 Akron
12 Houston
12 Maryland
12 Temple
12 Virginia
11 Kansas
11 Old Dominion
11 Penn State

A native of Lawrence, Kansas, senior Joe Dineen Jr., has always known the benefits of giving back to his community, but roughly two years ago he became passionate about one cause in particular - childhood cancer. Due to his devotion to raising awareness and funds to fight the disease, for the second year in a row Dineen was nominated to the Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team and named to the Wuerffel Trophy watch list, which honors college football's top community servant.

Dineen's dedication to helping the cause started when Cole Hayden (son of Shanda Hayden, Assistant Athletics Director for Academic and Career Counseling) was diagnosed with cancer. Since the diagnosis, Dineen has led his teammates in a number of activities to help benefit those diagnosed with the disease, by visiting kids at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, participating in the Hilltop Hustle 5K (in which all proceeds were donated to Children's Mercy in honor of Cole), and taking part in a local baseball game that raised funds for childhood cancer research. Most recently, Dineen put together the first-ever "Cole's Christmas in July" in which he and his teammates donated toys that were gifted to Cole before his passing to kids in Children's Mercy.

Five Jayhawks found their names on Preseason Watch Lists as the various Awards announced the players they have their eyes on to open the season. Senior defensive lineman Daniel Wise led the way for KU as he was named to three watch lists including the Bednarik Award (top defensive player), Nagurski Trophy (top defensive player) and the Outland Trophy (top interior lineman). Senior linebacker Joe Dineen was also sited three times as he was also tabbed by the Bednarik Award in addition to the AFCA Good Works Team (community service) and Wuerffel Trophy (community service). Senior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., was recognized by the Biletnikoff Award (top receiver) and the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award (top offensive player from Texas), while senior tight end Mavin Saunders was on the John Mackey Award Watch List (top tight end). Junior offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji joined Wise on the Outland Trophy Watch List.