Jordan Webb will start under center for the Jayhawks in the team’s second game. Webb had a good first week against McNeese State going 7-10 passing for 146 yards for three touchdowns. Webb is a mobile QB with a good, sound football mind. “I know he can throw. He was a very good high school quarterback,” said NIU head coach Dave Doeren. “I recruited that area and I know a lot about the kid.” The Huskies have been emphasizing run defense for weeks after the long preparation for Army, so that preparedness will only make Webb’s job harder.
Through the first week, the Jayhawks had seven different players carry the ball against McNeese State for 301 total yards. “They’re committed to running the football,” Doeren said. “When you run the ball that many times, you’re going to get yards.” Three of those seven players ran for 60-plus yards. The Jayhawks leading rusher, James Sims, ran the ball 19 times for 104 total yards. “We have to make it a physical, four-quarter game,” Doeren said. “We have to take their running backs, as good as we can, out of it”
Kansas presents a balanced offensive attack, in contrast to Army. “We’ll just play our regular defensive schemes, and game plan against them like we would a regular team,” said NIU safety Demetrius Stone. JaCorey Shepherd stood out as the Jayhawks go-to big play receiver, accumulating 107 yards on only three catches last week. Two of those three catches were for touchdowns. There is no doubt NIU’s Rashaan Melvin will have to play lock down defense on the high yardage receiver in Shepherd.
There is one big difference between the offensive line the Huskies faced in Army and the offensive line they will see Saturday in Kansas. “They’ve gotten better across the line and that showed in their ability to run the football Saturday,” Doeren said. In order for the Huskies to be successful, they will have to get to the quarterback early and often. That starts with NIU’S defensive ends, which include Alan Baxter, Joe Windsor and Sean Progar. “We go against 300-plus [pound] offensive linemen every single day at practice, so it helps a ton when we’re playing big-time opponents like Kansas,” Baxter said.