After one of the better quarterback debuts in the history of Kansas football, Peyton Bender knows there is a lot he can do better during Saturday’s game against visiting Central Michigan. Bender led a quick-strike offense as the Jayhawks toppled Southeast Missouri State, giving his team a chance to start 2-0 for the first time since 2011 with a win over the Chippewas, who survived a triple-overtime battle with Rhode Island to take their opener.
Bender, a junior college transfer, became the first Kansas quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in a game since Todd Reesing did so in 2009, but also gave away a pair of interceptions. Bender needed only 5:17 to lead five touchdown drives, including strikes of 77 and 16 yards to Steven Sims, Jr., and three of the Jayhawks’ six scoring drives lasted less than a minute. “It was nice to see us clicking as an offense out of the gate,” Bender told the media. “We have a lot to improve on and left a lot out there to be honest.” Devon Spalding provided the difference with a 4-yard touchdown run in the third overtime and Central Michigan tied a team record with six interceptions against the Rams.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, FSN. LINE: Kansas -6
ABOUT CENTRAL MICHIGAN (1-0): Needing three overtimes to beat an FCS team that has won a combined four games over the last three seasons won’t sit well with the Chippewas, who ran the ball well despite up-and-down quarterback play. Shane Morris got the bulk of the time under center and struggled to complete half his passes while coughing up a critical fumble in the fourth quarter. The Jayhawks will have their hands full stopping the duo of Spalding and Jonathan Ward, who together rushed 39 times for 217 yards and two scores.
ABOUT KANSAS (1-0): Though held without a sack in the opener, Preseason All-Big 12 Defense Player of the Year Dorance Armstrong, Jr. came up with three quarterback hurries and was in on one tackle for a loss. The junior, who finished last season with 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, keyed a defensive unit that limited SE Missouri State to 253 total yards. Daniel Wise came up with the lone sack in addition to three tackles for loss last week.
1. Junior LB Joe Dineen, who missed the final nine games of last season, tied his career-high 15 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss, against SE Missouri State to earn Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.
2. Kansas and Central Michigan have met twice previously with the Jayhawks winning 52-7 in 2007 and 24-10 in 2014.
3. Josh Cox and Amari Coleman had two interceptions apiece and Darwyn Kelly and Alex Briones, who also had 11 tackles, had one pick each in the opener for the Chippewas.
PREDICTION: Kansas 31, Central Michigan 23