Film Room: Breaking down key plays from KU's win over SEMO
The immediate reaction from Kansas coach David Beaty after his team’s 38-16 victory over Southeast Missouri on Saturday was the Jayhawks have plenty to improve on.
There were some great moments, like the offense scoring on its first two drives of the season, and some low points, a few turnovers and inability to pull away from SEMO for much of the night.
In this (hopefully weekly) breakdown, we’ll take a look at a few plays that catch my eye throughout the game.
They may not be plays seen on the highlight shows or immediately remembered afterward, but I'll try to pick plays that have an impact on the outcome of the game.
Daniel Wise starts fast
Throughout fall camp, players and coaches heaped plenty of praise on junior defensive tackle Daniel Wise. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound Wise lined up several times at defensive end, on the opposite side of Dorance Armstrong.
Wise, at defensive end, helped set the tone on the first series with a tough tackle against SEMO’s speedy running back Marquis Terry. On 3rd-and-9, Terry caught a pass out of the backfield and had two offensive linemen in front of him. Terry had to adjust his body to make a catch, making an extra spin move, but that allowed Wise to catch him from behind for a diving tackle.
In the clip, you can see how Wise saw the swing pass developing and immediately shifted into his track background. That tackle forced a quick three-and-out series for SEMO’s offense, and the Jayhawks would take a 7-0 lead only three plays later.
As a bonus for Wise, who had a dominant first quarter, he was credited with a sack on the second series when he forced SEMO QB Jesse Hosket into an intentional grounding penalty. Wise completed a swim move against SEMO offensive lineman Junior Pierre, and did a nice job of holding onto Hosket, who tried to escape the pocket.
Two of SEMO’s offensive series were derailed by Wise in the first few minutes, both leading to KU touchdowns on the ensuing drives.
Jeremiah Booker delivers key catch
When the Jayhawks offense stalled for a few drives in the first half, KU looked for a quick score at the end of the half. Enter senior receiver Jeremiah Booker, who helped set up the score with a nice grab on a jump ball.
KU quarterback Peyton Bender fired a pass toward Booker with 40 seconds remaining in the second quarter, and Booker adjusted to the ball, which was a little under thrown. Booker, as receivers are taught, caught the ball at its highest point and put the Jayhawks inside of the 10-yard line.
Booker’s catch gave the Jayhawks plenty of time to complete their drive in the end zone, which is exactly what happened when Steven Sims caught a 16-yard TD pass with nine seconds left.
Hudson Hall springs Dom Williams with big block
The Jayhawks didn’t have much success on the ground against the Redhawks, averaging only 2.9 yards per attempt. KU coach David Beaty said afterward there weren’t many opportunities to run the ball against SEMO because the Redhawks stacked the box with defenders in their basic alignments.
But one of the longest runs of the day, an 10-yard touchdown by true freshman Dom Williams, at the beginning of the third quarter. Junior fullback Hudson Hall (number 49) set up the score with a key block against SEMO inside linebacker Zach Hall, which created a huge hole. Williams did the rest with a nice cut past a defender, allowing himself to high step into the end zone.
KU’s offensive line didn’t have many opportunities to showcase their improved run blocking, but it all came together on this touchdown run. One other notable part of the play is the offensive line’s formation, which the Jayhawks did a couple of times throughout the night. They are spread out more than normal, which, I think, puts a bigger emphasis on each of them doing their individual jobs on blocking the right person.