But again, it wasn't really a 'must win' game. Just a game that we really needed to win to maintain any semblance of hope for a Big 12 North title. And hey, look at what happened; a Kansas victory, a Missouri loss at the hands of a very capable Okie State game (just wait for the MSM to freak out over us missing out on the Cowboys this year) andnd, all of a sudden, we are in first place in the Big 12 North, alone. But we can discuss our Big 12 North aspirations at a later time, most likely some time in November. For now, here are some assorted thoughts on the game.
- Jake Sharp looks to be the long-term answer at RB. 31 carries, 118 yards (the first 100+ yard performance of the season), mostly on runs to the outside and option-type plays. Which, despite Todd Reesing's less-than-deal quciks, works pefrectly with the shiftiness of Sharp. He is a good, maybe even great running back, when afforded open spaces to dodge, dive, dip, duck and doge his way through defensive backfields. He can't create his own holes, he can't power through the 'big uglies' on draws up the middle, can't muscle through Brandon McAnderson-style. He just isn't that kind of running back. What he can do, however, is make plays when given room to wiggle. As long as we try and get him the ball on the perimeter, he can be a major contributor. Of course, when facing off against speed-heavy teams (like, for instance, this weekend against Oklahoma) much of that advantage is likely to be negated. Still, if Jake Sharp can still figure out a way to get over 100 yards this Saturday, are chances of winning go up exponentially.
- Kerry Meier. Little more has to be said. Even on one leg, he is one of the best receivers in the country and, quite possibly, the most valuable player on this offense. Without him, our offense becomes a helluva lot more pedestrian; and it is simply the let's-see-what-Todd-Reesing-can-cook-up show. He needs to be 100% this weekend for us to have a shot.
- The most encouraging part of the game, to me, was the semi-emergence of the two pass-rushing ends; Jake Laptad and Max Onyegbule. Now, obviously the primary example of this was the safety, where both got significant pressure and Laptad was able to take Cody Hawkins down in the endzone. But both managed to squirm their way into the backfield a handful of times, forcing Cody Hawkins to roll out and throw on the move. And while you can't exactly equate that with a Dwight Freeney coming off the edge, it is a significant upgrade over simply having all day-and-a-half to throw in a perfect pocket. We all saw, at least most of us did, how poorly Chase Daniel threw the ball while on the move; sometimes, all it takes is to make the QB move. Hopefully, that is what Laptad and Max O can provide.
- Overall, it was a pretty solid performance from our Jayhawks. Not a tremendous start, but a pretty good finish as we slowly played up to our talent. Our secondary needs to improve, sure, but overall, I'm happy.
We will focus more in a fairly substantial post tomorrow, analyzing each of the positions at the seasons' halfway point.