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Benton Smith

Stories by Benton

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KU defense trying to adjust to Big 12 QB play

Members of the Kansas football defense figured Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer would test their mettle in their Big 12 opener. They left Waco, Texas, following a 26-7 defeat, understanding not only that Brewer outplayed them, but also that they have a long way to go in terms of defending talented QBs. By Benton Smith

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QB Miles Kendrick 'day-to-day' with shoulder injury

After suffering a shoulder injury during the Kansas football team’s 26-7 road loss at Baylor this past Saturday, sophomore quarterback Miles Kendrick’s status for the Jayhawks’ upcoming matchup with Oklahoma State remains undetermined. By Benton Smith

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Bears welcome Jayhawks to Big 12 play with 26-7 defeat

The harsh reality of Big 12 football hit visiting Kansas hard Saturday afternoon inside Baylor’s McLane Stadium. After winning their final two nonconference games by an average margin of more than 30 points, the Jayhawks couldn’t score on the Bears until six-plus minutes into the third quarter and stumbled to a 26-7 loss. By Benton Smith

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Gameday Breakdown: KU football at Baylor

Sure, Baylor remains in the early stages of a massive rebuild, finished ninth in the Big 12 in 2017 and was picked in the preseason poll to again land next to last (also known as one spot better than KU). Nevertheless, the Bears (2-1) are easily the best team Kansas has faced this season. By Benton Smith

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Pooka Williams rated 3rd-best true freshman in FBS

Pooka Williams’ skills aren’t only dropping jaws around Lawrence. According to Pro Football Focus, the Jayhawks’ young offensive star is the third-best true freshman in all of FBS through three weeks. By Benton Smith

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Can KU football lay another streak to rest?

Jayhawks haven't won a Big 12 road game since 2008

Especially for the players who have suffered through the program’s struggles the longest, burying KU’s 46-game road losing streak in Mount Pleasant, Mich., and delivering consecutive victories for the first time since 2011 felt meaningful. Now there is another streak for the Jayhawks to vanquish. And redshirt senior linebacker Joe Dineen didn’t need to hear the entirety of a question earlier this week to identify it. By Benton Smith

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Defensive takeaways fueling KU football's confidence

“Guys are playing more confident and more relaxed and listening to (defensive coordinator Clint Bowen), and obviously applying it,” Daniel Wise said. “And you see what happens when you do that.” The most eye-popping upshot, through three nonconference games at least, has been the defense’s ability to turn opponent mistakes into punishing takeaways. By Benton Smith

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'Little sprain' won't keep KU defensive tackle Daniel Wise out of lineup

When Daniel Wise hurt an ankle badly enough to limp off the field this past Saturday during the Kansas football team’s home game against Rutgers, the redshirt senior defensive tackle was adamant about checking back in. By Benton Smith

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Peyton Bender will remain KU's starting QB at Baylor

Miles Kendrick remains part of game plan

Although he watched the entire second half of the Kansas football team’s home win over Rutgers from the sideline with coaches and reserves, senior quarterback Peyton Bender will keep his spot as the Jayhawks’ starting QB on Saturday at Baylor. However, David Beaty also said Bender might man the spot for “one” play or “50” plays. By Benton Smith

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Beaty: Pooka Williams' eligibility issue 'behind me until somebody tells me different'

If the undisclosed eligibility issue that kept Kansas running back Pooka Williams from playing in the football team’s season opener remains unresolved — head coach David Beaty won’t address its status — the matter, Beaty insists, is not one currently causing him grief. By Benton Smith

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In 1 fewer game than competition, KU RB Pooka Williams leads Big 12 in rushing yards

As the Kansas football team prepares to open Big 12 play this Saturday at Baylor, it does so with the conference’s leading rusher residing in Lawrence, and spending most of his waking hours inside Anderson Family Football Complex. In just two games — KU kept him out for its season-opening loss to Nicholls State for what was later described as an eligibility issue — freshman sensation Pooka Williams’ 288 rushing yards put him atop the Big 12. By Benton Smith

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Does KU football have a QB controversy?

Starting role unclear after Miles Kendrick plays more in Week 3

Head coach David Beaty planned all along to use Miles Kendrick in every game this season. Just three weeks in, though, the dual threat sophomore reserve played more than senior starter Peyton Bender in the Jayhawks’ 55-14 thumping of Rutgers. By Benton Smith

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Notebook: KU limits QB Peyton Bender to 1st-half reps

Beaty won't say who will start at QB next week

The third start of his senior season began in similar fashion to the previous two weeks for Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender, with him watching from the sideline on occasion while backup Miles Kendrick took over for the offense. However, unlike the past two games, Bender didn’t play at all after halftime Saturday in KU’s 55-14 drubbing of Rutgers. By Benton Smith

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Pilfer party: KU's 6 takeaways power blowout win over Rutgers

KU’s takeaway-happy defense left the field with possession of the ball three times in the first quarter alone. Then, during the timeout leading up to the second quarter, former KU star quarterback Todd Reesing capped his Ring of Honor ceremony by leaping and delivering one of his signature fiery fist pumps. The stage, Mike Lee felt, was set for his big moment. And he pounced with an interception that he doggedly returned 31 yards for a touchdown, further inciting the Jayhawks to drub visiting Rutgers, 55-14. By Benton Smith

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Jayhawks pummel Rutgers, 55-14

For the first time since 2011, members of the Kansas football team can say they’ve won back-to-back games. The Jayhawks followed their road losing streak-killing victory at Central Michigan by closing nonconference play with a 55-14 home drubbing of Rutgers on Saturday. By Benton Smith

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'Do you think I can play or not?': Once disregarded, QB Todd Reesing joining KU Ring of Honor

Back when he was a high schooler at Lake Travis, in Austin, Texas, Todd Reesing had a difficult time convincing college football coaches he could play quarterback for them. Fortunately for the University of Kansas football program, Mark Mangino thought he could. By Benton Smith

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Gameday Breakdown: KU football vs. Rutgers

Considering a program that spent nine years always losing in games outside of Lawrence actually won on the road in Week 2, Kansas should stick with what worked in its victory at Central Michigan. The Jayhawks’ rushing attack — and freshman back Pooka Williams in particular — made snapping a 46-game road losing skid possible. By Benton Smith

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KU's Kerr Johnson Jr. a WR 'you better pay attention to'

Around the Kansas football team’s facilities it’s easy for Kerr Johnson Jr. to go unnoticed. The senior receiver’s head coach, David Beaty, jokes he sometimes needs to hold a mirror under Johnson’s nose to ensure the calm and quiet California native is in fact alive. No such concerns exist when the 5-foot-11, 193-pound Johnson is running routes for the Jayhawks. By Benton Smith

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KU football offense not perfect, but much cleaner through 2 games

Sure, the season is only two weeks old. But as of this moment, Kansas football, the same program that finished 2017 ranked an ugly 127th out of 129 FBS teams in turnover margin, is sitting pretty in the same category. By Benton Smith

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Notebook: Game ball from KU's win at CMU makes the rounds

Inside the visiting locker room at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Mich., this past Saturday, after he became the first Kansas football coach to win a road game since Mark Mangino’s final season, in 2009, David Beaty received the game ball as the Jayhawks celebrated. He didn’t hang onto it long, though. By Benton Smith

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David Beaty maintains vague stance regarding Pooka Williams' availability past this week

Yes, Kansas freshman running back Pooka Williams will play in the Jayhawks’ home football game Saturday against Rutgers. But will Williams also play the following week at Baylor, and for the remainder of the schedule? By Benton Smith

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KU football's ball-hawking defense key to successful road trip

The Kansas football team scored more points against an FBS opponent in Saturday’s road losing streak-killing 31-7 win at Central Michigan than it had since defeating Iowa State at home, 34-14, in 2014. Nonetheless it was KU’s defense that made sure no doubt crept into the Jayhawks’ minds in the second half, as six takeaways allowed the visitors to cruise. By Benton Smith

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Pooka Williams expected to play for KU this week vs. Rutgers

RB named Big 12 Newcomer of Week

Some mystery still surrounds what kept the Kansas football team from playing Pooka Williams in its season opener. But head coach David Beaty said Monday morning the freshman running back who raced to 125 rushing yards and two touchdowns in his debut will be back in action this Saturday for the Jayhawks’ home game versus Rutgers. By Benton Smith

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Redshirt seniors Daniel Wise, Joe Dineen revel in their first KU road win

So many times KU defensive standouts Daniel Wise and Joe Dineen set their minds on carving out ways to bounce back from losses, and far more often than not those endeavors ultimately didn’t produce the victories they kept chasing. However, Wise shared following the Jayhawks’ 31-7 win at Central Michigan, that it seemed to him right after KU’s Week 1 loss to Nicholls State that their latest rebound attempt would prove different. By Benton Smith

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Notebook: RB Pooka Williams cleared for debut ‘late, late’ Friday night

Exactly what kept Pooka Williams out of the Kansas football lineup a week earlier remained unclear following the freshman running back’s debut Saturday, which sparked a 31-7 road win at Central Michigan. Following KU’s victory at Kelly/Shorts Stadium seven days later, head coach David Beaty did not offer many specifics when asked how it was determined Williams could suit up and participate in the game at CMU.

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'Unreal': Freshman RB Pooka Williams ignites rare KU football road win

One man and one result might not prove capable of changing a program’s fortunes. But for one sunny Saturday afternoon at Kelly/Shorts Stadium the Kansas football team, losers of a major college football record 46 consecutive road losses, finally left an opponent’s stadium victorious. And it seemed one new Jayhawk in particular deserved as much credit as any. By Benton Smith

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Notebook: KU wideout Steven Sims Jr. 'tough' on himself after TD drop

The play happened early in the second quarter of his team’s season opener, with more than 43 minutes left in regulation. All the same, Kansas senior receiver Steven Sims Jr. had a hard time forgiving himself for dropping what looked like a sure touchdown in the end zone. By Benton Smith

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Gameday Breakdown: KU football at Central Michigan

In the Jayhawks’ season-opening loss, running backs Khalil Herbert and Dom Williams actually finished with solid numbers in terms of average yards per carry. By Benton Smith

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Unheralded Kansas WR Stephon Robinson Jr. wants to build on debut showing

Not one other Power Five program actively recruited Stephon Robinson Jr. Yet there the sophomore junior college transfer was Saturday in his Kansas football debut, tying for the team lead in receptions and blocking a punt on special teams. By Benton Smith

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KU defensive lineman Isi Holani's DUI charge dismissed

Kansas football coach David Beaty suggested earlier this week that a resolution was coming on defensive tackle Isi Holani’s summer DUI charge. On Tuesday Holani’s case was dropped because he didn’t meet the legal standard for the violation. By Benton Smith

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David Beaty owns up to 'Hawk Talk' gaffe

According to Kansas football coach David Beaty, he mistakenly described some of the circumstances surrounding his team’s final offensive play of an overtime home loss to Nicholls State, while appearing on his weekly radio show, Hawk Talk, Monday night. By Benton Smtih

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Jayhawks might play reserve O-linemen more after lackluster opener

After a preseason full of coaches and players talking up the potential of KU’s revamped offensive line, the idea was to put a much more polished product on the field to kick off Year 4 of the David Beaty era at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Asked at his Tuesday press conference to assess the play of the new starting five up front, Beaty admitted it looked like Fontana, left tackle Hakeem Adeniji, left guard Andru Tovi, right guard Dwayne Wallace and right tackle Kevin Feder were playing their first game together, which of course was the case.By Benton Smith

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Notebook: No update yet on RB Pooka Williams' availability

University of Kansas football coach David Beaty didn’t provide many particulars when the team on Saturday kept ballyhooed freshman running back Pooka Williams out of the lineup for the season opener due to a “non-disciplinary matter.” Two days later, Beaty didn’t have much new information to make public, either, during his weekly Hawk Talk radio show, other than to say the coaching staff hopes there “might be” an update this week on Williams’ status. By Benton Smith

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Notebook: KU letting 'due process' conclude following Isi Holani's summer arrest

When Kansas defensive tackle Isi Holani got arrested in late July on suspicion of DUI, the football team issued a statement saying that details of the situation were being collected and an update would be provided once the process was completed. On Saturday night, in the Jayhawks’ season-opening loss to Nicholls State, the 6-foot-3, 325-pound redshirt senior didn’t start, but Holani subbed in to play on the defense’s first series. By Benton Smith

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Jayhawks intent on recovering from disappointing season debut

A 12th consecutive defeat, this one in overtime of the opener to an admittedly successful FCS opponent, on the surface looks like the type of blow that could crash a team’s season. Football players at the University of Kansas who lived through Saturday’s 26-23 home loss to Nicholls State are here to tell you that won’t be the case. By Benton Smith

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Notebook: Pooka Williams unavailable in Week 1

The long-awaited debut of freshman running back Pooka Williams didn’t go as planned Saturday night at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

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Familiar result: Kansas football suffers overtime loss to Nicholls State

In a game marred by bad snaps, sacks and no real running threat, the Kansas football team somehow found itself with a chance to open the season with a victory, in overtime at that. But head coach David Beaty’s fourth season opener ended the same as his first, in 2015, with a home defeat at the hands of an FCS opponent.

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Gameday Breakdown: KU football vs. Nicholls State

Nicholls State, ranked No. 17 in the preseason FCS Coaches Poll, has too many experienced, confident players for Kansas to give the Colonels a big head start and still get out of Week 1 with a victory. By Benton Smith

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KU safety Mike Lee prepared to battle familiar faces on Nicholls roster

University of Kansas safety Mike Lee knows too much about football players from his hometown of New Orleans to disregard the Jayhawks’ season-opening opponent, Nicholls State. By Benton Smith

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Report: Former KU linebacker Ben Heeney out for season

A former standout linebacker at the University of Kansas, Ben Heeney’s fourth NFL season ended Wednesday before it ever really began.

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Jayhawks think each of the top 3 RBs could be 'explosive'

Herbert, Dom and Pooka Williams all potential starters

Next to running back on the Kansas football team’s published depth chart this week, you can find the names of three players, each separated by an “or.” When the Jayhawks make their season debut Saturday against Nicholls State, the starter might be junior Khalil Herbert. Or it could be sophomore Dom Williams. Or just maybe true freshman Pooka Williams will be the first to line up in the backfield. By Benton Smith

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David Beaty: Backup QB Miles Kendrick has 'it factor'; position battles continue

Ahead of Saturday’s season opener, Kansas football head coach David Beaty has a message for his counterpart at Nicholls State, Tim Rebowe. It came when asked during his Tuesday press conference to elaborate on his declaration the night before on his Hawk Talk radio show that backup quarterback Miles Kendrick will play this week, as well as in “every game” this season. By Benton Smith

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KU starting QB Peyton Bender treating 'every day' like he has to 'win the job'

Peyton Bender learned a week ago he would open the season as the Kansas football team’s starting quarterback. As the senior approaches Saturday’s matchup with Nicholls State, Bender also understands he will have to prove himself worthy of maintaining that status in Week 2 and beyond. By Benton Smith

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KU football reveals its first depth chart of 2018

We already knew the identity of the starting quarterback for the Kansas football team’s season opener against Nicholls State. Now some greater clarity exists for the rest of the Jayhawks’ lineup, too. By Benton Smith

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David Beaty: Peyton Bender 'taking command' at QB for KU

Speaking publicly for the first time since naming Peyton Bender his team’s starting quarterback for Saturday’s season opener, Kansas football coach David Beaty shared Monday morning some of the details that led to the decision. By Benton Smith

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'Production' a must in Year 4 for KU football coach David Beaty

Internally, head coach David Beaty knows how critical it will be for his fourth University of Kansas football team to outperform the three that preceded it. While externally, Beaty won’t say how many games his Jayhawks need to win to squelch questions about his job security, he has acknowledged such debates come with his position. By Benton Smith

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Memorable lessons from forgettable debut season have Kansas WR Daylon Charlot confident

Ask Daylon Charlot to name one Kansas football receiver he thinks is ready to have a breakthrough season and he won’t vacillate. “I would pick myself,” the junior from Patterson, La., will respond. By Benton Smith

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'Running different': RB Dom Williams striving for impactful sophomore season

Junior Khalil Herbert just might be the frontrunner to start at running back for Kansas this fall. And most of the Jayhawks’ supporters are counting down the days until they get to see true freshman Pooka Williams with the football in his hands. Just the same, sophomore Dom Williams allocated too much of his offseason time to becoming a more effective rusher to get overlooked. By Benton Smith

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KU football awards newly retired RB Kezelee Flomo scholarship

When the KU football team’s medical staff discovered Kezelee Flomo, a transfer from North Dakota School of Science, had a heart condition, the 5-foot-10, 215-pound would-be senior had to retire. Even so, Flomo remains involved in a student-coach capacity, and the program announced Wednesday the former running back will be awarded a scholarship. By Benton Smith

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KU's older, larger offensive linemen 'making their statement'

When Peyton Bender returns to his spot as the Kansas football team’s staring quarterback Sept. 1 for the season opener, the ultimate success of not only the QB, but also every other skill position player who touches the ball, will boil down to one question. Do the Jayhawks have a capable offensive line this season? By Benton Smith

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