90 Days Until Kansas Football: Lindenwood Preview

The Jayhawks open the season against the newly D-I Lions on August 29.
Kansas head coach Lance Leipold watches his players and coaches work during a team practice Tuesday, April 2, 2024, inside the Indoor Football Practice Facility.
Kansas head coach Lance Leipold watches his players and coaches work during a team practice Tuesday, April 2, 2024, inside the Indoor Football Practice Facility. / Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA

The excitement and anticipation is palpable for this 2024 Kansas Jayhawks football squad after a busy offseason, which means it’s never too early to start looking at the opponents on the schedule. 

KU has a real shot at the conference title in the new-look Big 12 – due to a mixture of talent returning and a favorable schedule – and with the 12-team College Football Playoff format taking place this year, optimism is sky high in Lawrence. 

The first test for Kansas is Lindenwood University at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 29. This game will take place at Children’s Mercy Park – home of Sporting Kansas City – in Kansas City, Kansas.

Pre-Game Notes

Unfamiliar with Lindenwood University? It’s not a surprise. Though I am well aware of the school, but for a reason that speaks to its rise. When I was in college in the late 2000s and early 2010s, Lindenwood was an NAIA school in our conference that never felt like it belonged. The St. Louis-area school was much bigger than its peers (around 7,000 students while other NAIA schools had 1,500) so it was no surprise when it moved to D-II in 2013. Then, in 2022, the Lions made the jump to D-I and joined the Ohio Valley conference. 

After a successful 7-3 inaugural season in the OVC, Lindenwood went just 3-7 last year, with only one of those wins coming in conference play. 

The Mike Plank Four-Down Scouting Report

First Down 

The Lions’ offense wasn’t exactly lethal in 2023. Lindenwood averaged 22 points per game, which isn’t too bad, but if you take out a 77-9 victory over a D-III Wisconsin-Stevens Point team, that number drops to 16 points per game. The Lions only scored more than 30 points against a D-I team once and had six games in which they were held to under 20 points.  

Second Down

Only two quarterbacks on the spring roster made appearances for Lindenwood a year ago. The likely starter is junior-to-be Carter Davis, who played in five games and threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns (though completed just 53% of his passes). The other was freshman Tyler Kubat, who was slightly more accurate (59%) while throwing for 300 yards and two TDs in two games. 

Third Down

The most dangerous offensive weapon is wide receiver Jeff Cladwell, who led the OVC in touchdown receptions at eight while leading the team with 599 receiving yards in nine games. That performance earned him a spot on the Big South-OVC All-Conference First Team. Meanwhile, it was a running back by committee as no rushers gained more than 500 yards on the season but instead three combined for 1,065 yards. 

Fourth Down

Lindenwood wasn’t awful in any one area on defense, though most susceptible through the air, giving up 271 passing yards per game. Though it does have some nice pieces returning on that side of the ball. Kobe McClendon recorded the fourth most sacks in school history with 6.5 a season ago. That and his 9.5 tackles for loss earned him a second-team all-conference selection. Also back is second-team All-OVC linebacker Ethan Stuhlsatz, who led the team with 70 tackles last year. 

Final Whistle 

This will certainly be an unusual early season test for the Lions. Kansas is the first FBS opponent that Lindenwood has played as a football program. Meanwhile, KU will have a good opportunity to work some things out early with a new OC Jeff Grimes before a road trip to face Illinois. 

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Kyle Davis


Kyle Davis is an Editor for Blue Wings Rising where he provides features, breakdowns, and interviews for Kansas basketball, football, and other sports.