Before I get going with the post, I just want to express my gratitude to Denver for bringing me aboard. When I started commenting here I was just an idiot who wanted to waste time in class talking about KU sports. Now I'm....well, I'm the same I guess, but it really is an honor to be invited aboard. Rockchalk and Denver have done a great job fostering a real community here, and if I can bring even half of what those two, Warden and KC bring to the table I'll call it a success.
2-2. Perfectly respectable. After the roller coaster ride that was our first four games, the Jayhawks have stabilized right in the middle. I don't think anyone would be surprised nor displeased with a 2-2 start, though the way we went about it is a bit unorthodox.
New Mexico St. was always going to be a blowout. The Aggies are one of the worst teams in Division 1, and as it appeared a lot of our NDSU type mistakes had been fixed, a win was all but certain.
To take a look back at just how the blowout happened, let's review our keys to the game:
Being at the game, I didn't really pay too much attention to this one to be honest. Statistically speaking, KU had 0 delay of game penalties, and they called their first timeout with just 4 mins left in the half. In the 2nd half, they took a timeout to decide whether to go for it on 4th and goal. They also finished both halves with timeouts in their pocket. It was just New Mexico St. (this might be a theme), but a big win for the coaching staff here.
2. Run The Football
Uh, yeah. 44 carries for 237 yards (5.4 YPC) as a team. James Sims had 16 carries for 115 yards (7.2 YPC) and 2 TD. Many of the yards were of the 5-10 yard variety, meaning that while the running backs had good games, the offensive line did a great job of opening holes and pushing around the NMSU defensive line.
3. Pass Protection
Jordan Webb had a 9.1 YPA (yards per attempt), which means that he had plenty of time to sit in the pocket and look downfield. More to the point, Kansas quarterbacks got sacked a grand total of zero times, and there was only one officially recorded QB hurry. Great work by the offensive line in both runblocking and pass protection on Saturday.
4. Adjustments on Defense
There are a lot of different ways to try to demonstrate this statistically, but I think I'm going to do it by looking at yards per play by quarter:
1st quarter: 17 plays for 97 yards (5.7 YPP)
2nd quarter: 18 plays for 63 yards (3.5 YPP)
3rd quarter: 13 plays for 91 yards (7 YPP)
4th quarter: 7 plays for 64 yards (9.14 YPP)
Well, that seems to be the opposite of adjusting. To play devil's advocate, it's human nature to let up a bit with a huge lead, and it's possible there was some of that going on. It's also possible that there were some backups in the game that I didn't notice. Overall, the defense gave up 275 yards and 16 points. Neither is anything to sneeze at, and all the points count the same, but it would be nice to see an improved 2nd half defense against Baylor next week.
5. Crisp Execution
For this one I'm going to use a stat developed by Football Outsiders called Success Rate. You can go to Rock M Nation for all the gory details, but basically success rates are a matter of efficiency that work like this. On first down you need half of the necessary yardage for it to be a successful play. On second down it's 70%, and on 3rd and 4th down it's 100% (duh). Rock M Nation does theirs broken up into runs and passes, as well as some other cool stuff. I am going to break it down by, um, downs and have a total as well.
1st down: 30 plays, 16 successes (53.3%)
2nd down: 21 plays, 14 successes (66.6%)
3rd down: 13 plays, 8 successes (61.5%)
4th down: 3 plays, 2 successes (66.6%)
Awesome work all around from the hometown 11 on this one. And if you need more good news, the first down percentage doesn't look great until you look at the fact that on a drive in the first quarter Kansas had 3 first down plays that went for 35 and 43 yards and then a TD run of 10 yards. They still count the same efficiency wise as a 5 yard run, but obviously are worth so much more.
It was just New Mexico State (hey there it is again!) but this win was a huge morale boost for the Jayhawks heading into conference play.