Saturday’s 51-22 Kansas football win over UCF was one of those games where, for a while at least, seemingly everything went right for the home team.
The Jayhawks were fast, physical, fired up all afternoon and anything but gracious hosts for the Big 12 newcomers from Orlando, Florida, who fell behind big early and were never really in the game.
You’ve seen the tomahawks on the back of the Florida State helmets, the buckeye tree leaves on the Ohio State helmets and the paw prints on the back of the Clemson helmets.
These are your weekly Wheaties.
Each Monday, after every KU football game, we take one last look back at the game that was and hand out different amounts of the iconic breakfast cereal to the Jayhawks’ top performers.
So, be sure to come get your Monday morning Wheaties and feel free to hit up the comments section — subscribers only for now — with any players you feel we might’ve missed.
Picture on the box
• Sophomore running back Daniel Hishaw Jr. & junior running back Devin Neal – All offseason, the Jayhawks talked about what a luxury it was to have these two backs in the running back room. So far this season, they’ve both shown why. Both players had monster first halves despite getting just 10 carries apiece. Neal had just two carries in the second half — one was a 75-yard TD run on the first play of the third quarter — and Hishaw eventually let Dylan McDuffie (91 yards on 13 carries and 2 TDs) close it out after racking up a career-best 134 yards and 2 touchdowns on 19 carries. These two, behind the commitment and physicality of KU's offensive line, set the tone for the type of day it would be for the home team, and everyone else followed their lead.
A full bowl
• Junior wide receiver Trevor Wilson – That’s back-to-back weeks with a big-time explosive play for the veteran receiver. Last week in the loss at Texas, he hit the Longhorns for a deep touchdown reception. This week, it was a punt return — KU’s first since 2014 — that went down as one of the game’s biggest highlights. KU nearly got a second punt return touchdown later in the game, but Kenny Logan Jr. was tripped up by one of his own teammates near midfield as he started eyeing the end zone on a separate punt return.
• Sophomore D-Lineman Austin Booker – Booker only had four tackles in this one, but boy were they meaningful. Two went for losses, one was a sack and all four featured his two best traits as a defensive lineman — athleticism and quickness. Booker’s terrific start to his KU career added another chapter this week. The guy is a menace out there and teams are having a hard time handling him.
• Junior linebacker Taiwan Berryhill Jr. – The player who wears No. 6 for the KU offense missed this game because of his lingering back issue. But the No. 6 on defense was back out there and he delivered his best performance of the season to date. Berryhill’s 8 tackles led the team and 7 of them were of the solo variety. He also had a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss. The outing was a huge bounce-back for the team as a whole, but KU’s linebackers had the best single position bounce back of the week. After a horrific game by the position in the Lone Star State, three of KU’s top four tacklers this week were linebackers.
• Junior cornerback Cobee Bryant – Seven tackles, seven solo tackles for the Jayhawks’ top cover man, who has shown this year that he’s much more than a weapon against the pass. Bryant has shown the ability to hit and appears to be more comfortable doing so than at any point in his career so far.
• Senior safety Kenny Logan Jr. – Like his secondary counterpart, Logan was a tackling machine in this one. He finished with 7 tackles and 6 were of the solo variety. All of them came with the kind of physicality that the Jayhawks wanted to impose on UCF from the start. The offense did it, the defense did it and it paid off in a big way.
Drink the milk
• Senior QB Jason Bean – Nobody really talked much about Bean in this one, and his numbers certainly didn’t merit much discussion. But this was an important bounce-back game for him, too, and he proved he was up for the challenge. He ran the offense to near perfection and did everything you’d want your QB to do on a day when you were planning to run the heck out of the ball. He didn’t hit every throw and still had a couple of hiccups. But he looked much more comfortable than he did a week earlier, and, depending upon the status of Jalon Daniels moving forward, that could be hugely important for these Jayhawks.
• Sophomore linebacker Jayson Gilliom – Gilliom had one of the Jayhawks’ four sacks on the day and it came on the kind of play that is indicative of what this program is all about right now. After lining up on the right side and rushing off the edge, Gilliom was pushed wide of the pocket but never quit on the play. Instead, he kept coming, got his feet under him and then sprinted to the ball, catching the UCF QB from behind before he could get back to the line of scrimmage.
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