Though, there’s only so much sugar coating one can do after a team loses to an FCS school, one of the bright spots Kansas’ 41-38 opening game loss to South Dakota State was the emergence of running back Ke’aun Kinner.
The junior college transfer helped rally the Jayhawks out of a 31-7 hole with a 27 carry, 161 yard performance. He also scored two touchdowns on a day where Kansas racked up nearly 600 yards of total offense.
“Yeah, going into the game, we knew he was a talented guy. The one thing I wasn't really quite sure of was his top-end speed. But he showed some things today that I thought were pretty good,” head coach David Beaty said. “We're going to continue working with him on trying to just keep them shoulders squared and get going and trust his speed a little bit more. But he's a talented guy. I thought De’Andre Mann played really well. That guy played really good while he was in there.”
The running game was crucial to the ignition of the Jayhawk offense. As a team, they rushed for 285 yards and Kinner was a big reason. It’s likely he will see the ball many times as the season goes on, though there’s no exact number that coaches will be looking at.
“We feel like he's go to touch it,” Beaty said. “I'm not sure we're not going to put a number on it, but we feel he has to touch it because he's a talented guy.”