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Kansas Football Set for Friday Night Season Opener Against Missouri State

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By University of Kansas Athletics

 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (kuathletics.com) — Kansas Football will kick off its 132nd season on Friday, September 1 under the lights when the Jayhawks host Missouri State at 7 p.m. CT from David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. The game will air on ESPN+ with Chuckie Kempf (Play-by-Play) and Ahman Green (Analyst) on the call.

Friday night’s season opener kicks off a highly anticipated season for the Jayhawks, who enter year three under head coach Lance Leipold. Kansas returns a wealth of experience, returning 17 starters, 398 career starts and the most offensive production in the country from a season ago (91%).

Kansas and Missouri State will meet for the third time in program history, with the previous meetings coming in 2002 (Kansas 44, Missouri State 24) and 2001 (Kansas 24, Missouri State 10). For the third-consecutive season, Kansas will make its season debut on a Friday night, following last year’s 56-10 win over Tennessee Tech and a 17-14 victory over South Dakota in 2021. Prior to 2021, Kansas hadn’t opened the season with a Friday night home game since beating Washburn, 47-0, to open the 1944 season.

The Jayhawks enter the 2023 season after a 6-7 (3-6 Big 12) finish in 2022, resulting in Kansas’ first bowl appearance since 2008. Kansas is led by Preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Jalon Daniels, alongside Preseason All-Big 12 First Team selections in running back Devin Neal, center Mike Novitksy and cornerback Cobee Bryant.

Neal enters the 2023 season as the Big 12’s leading returning rusher from a season ago, rushing for 1,090 yards on 180 attempts and nine touchdowns. Neal became Kansas’ 13th individual to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. Kansas’ 29 rushing touchdowns in 2022 were the most by the Jayhawks in a single season since 2007.

Defensively, Kansas returns seven starters, including 81% of its returning production from the 2022 season. The Jayhawks return their top-three tacklers from 2022, including Logan Jr. (106), Miller (94) and Young (60).

Missouri State enters Friday night’s matchup under first year head coach Ryan Beard, who became the program’s youngest head coach in school history. The Bears compiled a 5-6 (3-5 MVFC) record in 2022 and return eight starters from a season ago.

Following Friday’s season opener, Kansas will return home to host Illinois to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Friday, September 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Fans can purchase single-game tickets to all seven of Kansas Football’s home games this season, including Missouri State (Sept. 1), Illinois (Sept. 8), BYU (Sept. 23), UCF (Oct. 7), Oklahoma (Oct. 28), Texas Tech (Nov. 11) and Kansas State (Nov. 18).

In addition to season tickets, fans can purchase the Friday Night ticket package for tickets to Missouri State and Illinois for just $65. Season tickets, recent grad packages mini plans and more are available by clicking here.

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