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Dawg Preview: UCF Knights At Kansas Jayhawks.

The Kansas Jayhawks welcome another Big 12 newcomer to the Booth as the UCF Knights come to town for the first time ever. This is also the first-ever meeting between the programs, and with both teams looking to prove they're Big 12 contenders, anything can happen. Let's look at the tape.

Broadcast Info:

Date: Saturday, October 7th, 2023

Time: 4:00 pm EST

Where: David Booth Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kansas


Calling: Jason Benetti, Brock Huard, and Allison Williams

Radio: Jayhawk Sports Network (Kansas), 96.9 the Game (UCF)

Betting Line

UCF -2.0

Over/Under: 64

Tale of the Tape: Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas is coming off a bad loss to #2 ranked Texas in Austin 40-14. This is their first loss of the season, so it's not quite time to hit the panic button yet for the Jayhawk faithful, but what might alarm a few is that starting quarterback and Big 12 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Jalon Daniels is still dealing with a back injury that sidelined him Week 1 and this past week as well. Daniels has been practicing in a very limited capacity this week and as of now, it does not look like he will start against UCF. This leaves Jason Bean, who although has had his moments, was thrown into the fire last week versus Texas where his lack of self-confidence was exposed, throwing for just 9/21, 136 yards, and a single touchdown. He also fumbled the ball twice, one of which kicked off the Texas onslaught late in the 3rd quarter. Bean will have had more time to prepare though and a less challenging opponent this week in UCF, top that off with the run game that is still one of the best in the country in Devin Neal and Daniel Hishaw to go up against a weaker UCF run defense, and it's possible that this Kansas offense gets back on track. The lack of use of Devin Neal last week was potent, and Kansas will need to change that in order to be effective. Defensively it's a good matchup as well, as Kansas's secondary should be able to hold the fort down even with John Rhys Plumlee back at quarterback for the Knights. A speedy front seven that can get to the quarterback will also be beneficial against a team that loves to pass and exploit the flats. Kansas's physicality also plays to their advantage against a team that really doesn't have that physical of play. Overall, Kansas will be prepared to show out in front of their home crowd once again and give it their best shot at redeeming themselves.

Tale of the Tape: UCF Knights

UCF lost in heartbreaking fashion to a Baylor team that they should have beaten. After going up 35-10 at the start of the 4th quarter, UCF completely lost control of the game, allowing Baylor to put up 26 unanswered points and losing off a missed field goal. After a solid showing against Kansas State, this home loss certainly wasn't welcome. They will be looking for a win to get back on track when they come to Lawrence. With quarterback John Rhys Plumlee potentially back at the helm, their chances get a little better, but they do still face a hostile environment in Lawrence and a defense that matches up very well against their offense. UCF will need to out-physical Kansas on both sides of the ball, a tall task given what we've seen from Kansas so far and UCF's reliance on the pass and finesse-style play. If UCF can get the passing game going though and exploit the big play offensively, as well as contain the run defensively and shake Jason Bean's confidence, they have a big chance to win and get right back on track as one of the better newcomers to the Big 12. If not, then they fall to .500 and have a few questions to answer before facing #11 Oklahoma next week.

Conclusion and Final Score:

The line is somewhat misleading here. While Kansas is without their starting quarterback Jalon Daniels, Jason Bean is serviceable and has shown flashes of excellence over the past couple of years at Kansas. He can get the ball downfield with accuracy and kill with his speed, he just needs to build confidence and preparation, which he's had time to do this week. With Kansas's run game also, they can excel on the ground against a UCF run defense that allows 156.8 rushing yards a game. This game will be dictated by who can impose their will first and makes the least amount of mistakes. UCF wins this game if they can cause Jason Bean to revert and make mistakes, as well as if they can put the ball in the air without trouble. However, Kansas has the advantage in physicality and ability to run the football, and with that, Andy Kotelnicki can open up the playbook a little more to take advantage of a defense that will cheat up to stop the run if it gets going. Overall, this game will be close, but going with the home team (and very slight) underdogs will be your best bet. Kansas by 6.

Final Score Prediction: Kansas 34-UCF 28


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