Kansas vs. Nicholls fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, September 1
Game Time: 7:00 pm ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS
Kansas (0-0) vs. Nicholls (0-0) Game Preview
Kansas won its opener last season against SE Missouri State from the FCS world, and went on to finish 1-11.
It beat FCSer Rhode Island to kick off the 2016 season, and finished 2-10.
Over the last seven seasons, KU has won a total of 12 games, with half of them coming against the FCS portion of the program. It can’t whiff on this year’s game, but Nicholls is just good enough to pull off the win.
The Colonels are coming off a strong 8-4 season including a tough-played 24-14 loss to Texas A&M, and now it’s going to be even better.
Eight starters return on each side of the ball to a team that was almost perfectly balanced offensively, and nasty at getting into the backfield on D.
This is going to be anything but a layup for the Jayhawks.
One Reason Why Nicholls Will Win
The Colonel offensive balance is going to be a problem for the KU defense.
QB Chase Fourcade threw for 2,316 yards for a passing game that averaged 206 yards per outing through the air, and a good group of backs return – led by Kyran Irvin – who helped crank up 200 yards per game on the ground.
And Kansas might not be able to stop any of it.
There’s a whole lot of experience coming back for the Jayhawk D, but the secondary has to prove right away that it can stop someone from hitting on the deep play – allowing over nine yards per throw – and the run defense that has several good parts has to hold up.
There’s no intimidation factor here playing a Power Five program – Nicholls knows how to win tough games. However …
One Reason Why Kansas Will Win
It’s not all doom and gloom for the Jayhawk defense.
For all of the issues coming up with stops, the activity into the backfield was there, leading the Big 12 in tackles for loss.
There’s an influx of talent for the front line from the JUCO ranks, and Daniel Wise is a good playmaker on the nose. Nicholls might not have allowed a whole lot of plays behind the line, but that should change in the opener.
The other big key will be takeaways. Kansas needs all the breaks it can get, and if this season is anything like last year, turnovers will be an issue for the Colonels. At the very least, KU won’t get thumped in the turnover margin.
What’s Going To Happen
Yes, finally, Kansas is going to start being better at this college football thing.
It’s not going to win the Big 12 championship, and it’s probably not going to be close to going to a bowl, but it’s too experienced with too much depth to not be stronger.
At the very least, the Jayhawks are going to be good enough to beat a terrific FCS team.
There are good enough parts to the offense – including WR Steven Sims and RB Khalil Herbert – to get past the Colonel D with a little bit of balance and even some explosion. The line will do its part – at least this week – and the defense will come up with a surprisingly strong effort.
Kansas will start to look like it’s about to turn a corner.