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Circle Rutgers as potential victory for Kansas football

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Kansas players take the field for warmups prior to kickoff against Rutgers on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Kansas players take the field for warmups prior to kickoff against Rutgers on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey. by Nick Krug

Doug Meacham became the Kansas football team’s seventh offensive coordinator in eight seasons at the start of 2017, one of the more disturbing of many signs of instability in the program.

Amazingly though, KU hasn’t had the most turnover at the OC spot, even though two head coaches, Charlie Weis and David Beaty, hired and fired themselves as offensive coordinators.

A school on KU’s 2018 schedule has had even more turnover.

John McNulty, back at Rutgers after spending nine seasons working in the NFL, is the school’s ninth offensive coordinator in nine seasons.

McNulty had a successful run as OC at Rutgers under Greg Schiano, but he doesn’t inherit the sort of talent he worked with during those glory years.

Rutgers visits David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium for an 11 a.m. kickoff Sept. 15. For a number of reasons, this qualifies as a realistic shot for Kansas to land its first nonconference victory vs. an FBS school, if it doesn’t already happen the previous week at Central Michigan.

Kansas ranked 118th in the nation among 130 schools in total offense with 329 yards per game in 2017. Rutgers ranked 129th with 262.7 yards. KU was 120th with 18.7 points per game. RU checked in at 121st with 18 points a game. The Jayhawks had six more turnovers than the Scarlet Knights.

Quarterback play was a problem in 2017 for Rutgers, which scored big on the recruiting front. True freshman Artur Sitkowski graduated high school a semester early so that he could compete for the starting job and generated a great deal of excitement with an impressive spring game.

A three-star, 6-foot-5, 205-pound pro-style quarterback from Old Bridge, N.J., originally committed to University of Miami but changed his mind.

Jerry Kill, who retired after one season as OC at Rutgers, did a terrific job in convincing Sitkowski to come back home to New Jersey after spending a year at IMG Academy in Florida.

Nobody disputes that Sitkowski is the most talented QB on the Rutgers roster, but head coach Chris Ash has not yet named him the starter.

If Sitkowski does win the job, facing a quarterback in his third collegiate game, even a talented quarterback, isn’t such a bad thing. An experienced Kansas defense might be able to confuse him and/or hurry him into making mistakes.

Plus, the Scarlet Knights play Ohio State the week before visiting Kansas, so they’re liable to come into town with plenty of aches and pains.

The schools last played in Beaty's first season, when Rutgers own at home, 27-14.

In keeping with the tradition of a KU sports fan who circles potential victories for the football team and potential losses for the basketball team on pocket schedules, circle Rutgers, even though the Scarlet Knights won three Big Ten games last season.

Also, be prepared to win a trivia contest should you be asked to name all of the offensive coordinators at Kansas and Rutgers since the start of the 2010 season.

Rutgers: Kirk Ciarrocca, Frank Cignetti, Dave Brock, Ron Prince, Ralph Friedgen, Ben McDaniels, Drew Mehringer, Kill, McNulty.

Kansas: Chuck Long, Weis, John Reagan, Eric Kiesau, Rob Likens, Beaty, Meacham.

Comments

John Fitzgerald 5 months, 3 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Bryson Stricker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Remember that time you wrote an article trying to shame our coach for blocking you when you tweet negative things about him? But then you blocked me when I have never tweeted at you or about you in my life?

YoureALoser #NotAJayhawk

Jacob Zutterman 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Probably because he can’t block you on this particular site. Not like you’ve ever said anything negative towards him here or on the slant....

Bryson Stricker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I think you're missing the point. He literally tried to bash our HC for blocking him on twitter for saying bad things about him. (which I see no fault in).

but he also blocked me on twitter. I just expose him and his wrong takes. People point out the few times I'm wrong. You don't see me blocking anyone.

Richie Wilson 5 months, 3 weeks ago

our out of conference schedule is one of the easiest in the NCAA, as it should. Anything worse than 2-1 will be bad. 3-0 should be a surefire goal.

Joe Norgay 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Bryson, you’re about 5 minutes away from having a restraining order put on you by the University of Kansas Athletic Department. You are seriously mentally troubled.

Seek help.

Bryson Stricker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Yo Joe, was a crazy 5 minutes. Just got back from Prison because the Athletic Department put a restraining order on me.

I think you may need to look in the mirror to see who needs help...

Marius Rowlanski 5 months, 3 weeks ago

We've got Rutgers at home and we should be 2-0 when the game takes place. Still, I don't see Kansas beating any Division I school this year.

And WTF is wrong with ESPN lately. They move SportsCenter to ESPN2, bringing a crappy show "Get Up" instead and now with ESPN+ you need to spend more money?

Jacob Zutterman 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I can't even watch ESPN anymore. It's horrendous

Jeremy Wilhm 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Lots of kool-aid drinking here.

Athlon sports has KU at 116th. Central Michigan is 105 and they crushed KU in Lawrence last year. KU hasn’t won a road game in almost 10 years. I don’t see them winning in week 2.

Rutgers is ranked 87th and they won 4 games last year. They are on the rise and should come into Lawrence ready. I don’t see KU winning in Week 3.

The only legitimate shot at a win is the first game against Nicholls State, and even that’s questionable. Nicholls State was tied at Texas Tech late in the 4th quarter last year before losing, and they were leading at Georgia two years ago in the third quarter and almost came back to win.

I know that a lot of KU fans want to be optimistic. I’m trying to be, but I just don’t see it.

Lawrence McGlinn 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Rutgers played 5 teams ranked in the top 20 in total defense: Michigan,Ohio State, Penn State, Washington and Michigan State. None of KU's opponents were close to the top 20. I guess Tom is at least trying to head toward the season with a little bit of illogical optimism. Based on nothing but past performance and the fact that they could not even put on a spring practice game I am predicting 1-11, 2-10 if Beaty gets canned early in the season. I believe I predicted 2-10 last year, so I am an illogical optimist, too.

Brad Sherp 5 months, 2 weeks ago

So you are saying that there is a chance.....

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