Kansas Football Report Card: Baylor

Overall, it was probably our best game since we beat Northern Illinois back in September.  This game featured some good play in all three phases of the game, which is something Kansas fans haven't seen much this year.  Granted, it didn't continue for all four quarters and we lost the game, but I suppose competitiveness is what we were asking for going into the season.  Still, should we ever be satisfied after blowing a 21 point lead in the fourth quarter?

Quarterbacks - F

Part of this simply has to do with what we had Webb doing this week, but at the end of the day, the passing game was awful.  Webb's adjusted yards per attempt was -.07.  That's NEGATIVE .07 yards per attempt.  For the uninitiated, ay/a measures a QB's yards per attempt with the relative damage of interceptions thrown, and benefit of TDs thrown, factored in.  His normal yards/attempt was only 4.  At the end of regulation it was 3.19 (adjusted -1.42).  That's beyond terrible.  Whether it's Webb, Long, the receivers, or any combination of the three...the passing game has to be considered a huge weakness for the team at this point.

 

Running Backs - A

I don't remember the last time I handed out an A, but the backs deserved one this week.  They picked up 311 yards (5.55 per rush) and basically carried the offense this week.  Miller and Sims split carries evenly this week, but Miller averaged 6.1 yards per try and looks like the best player in the backfield at this point.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends - C-

There were a couple of very nice catches, along with some bad drops, out of this group.  It would have been nice to get that pass interference call late in the 4th quarter, but it also would have been nice if Jacorey Shepherd had noticed that the ball had been thrown to him before it was hitting him in the side.  There was some nice blocking, but yet ANOTHER TD run called back to a wide receiver hold.  This is a frustrating group.

 

Offensive Line - B+

For the most part, the o-line controlled the line of scrimmage and opened up some nice creases for the running game.  Even the wildhawk formation was working this week.  They seemed to get a little tired in the fourth quarter, which led to some decreased effectiveness for the offense, but overall a fine performance from the line.

 

Overall offensive grade - B-

 

Defensive Line - D

The line did a better job of occupying blockers this week, but still got shoved around enough to allow RG3 his second biggest rushing game this year.  Due to depth issues as much as anything else, the line looked exhausted in the fourth quarter and played a big part in the defense's collapse.  Still, Griffin had all the time in the world to throw for most of the game, and we got lucky that he was missing open receivers in key situations early on.

 

Linebackers - C-

Another week of Johnson and Willis flying all over the field.  Opurum didn't do much on the stat sheet, but found himself near the ball and affecting the play on multiple occasions (though at this point, I should probably consider him part of the defensive line).  The linebackers still have a tendency to wander, though, and the result was the middle of the field being wide open for some very big plays in the fourth quarter.

 

Secondary - D-

I wanted to rate them higher, I really did.  The coaching staff has all but taken McDougald out of the pass protection game and has him playing near the line of scrimmage more often than not.  This plays to his strengths and he had another nice game, breaking up three passes near the line and making 10 tackles.  Still, Keeston Terry remains clueless in defending deep passes and nearly tripped over his own feet in the process of giving up a touchdown.  At one point Isiah Barfield looked up and saw his man 20 yards downfield, wide open, scoring a touchdown.  A lack of safety help allowed RG3's third TD pass.  There were two passes that Griffin simply missed on where receivers had beaten a corner by two or three steps (once it was Patmon, the other it was Davis).  Those both would have been touchdowns with accurate throws.  The secondary has improved, as there were times when Griffin looked downfield and simply didn't have anyone open, but those same tendencies that have been killing us all year killed us again Saturday.

 

Overall Defensive Grade - D

 

Special Teams - B

Good punting, good coverage, no missed kicks, and good starting field position.  Not much to complain about here.

 

Coaching - D+

The defensive gameplan was working early on, though it was clearly aided by some bad passes on third downs, and Baylor's early commitment to the screen pass game that we were expecting.  In the end, though, the defense did what it always does: it gave up a ton of rushing yards to a mobile quarterback, and big pass plays due to the ineptitude of our defensive backfield.  I know we all want to be proud of our defense in this one, but we gave up 505 yards of offense, and 8.7 yards per play.  The scoreboard and OT finish makes this a feel-good loss, but the fact is that, if not for some sloppy play on Baylor's part in the first half, this one would have looked a lot more like we expected it to.

Offensively, we fell back into our old habits in the fourth quarter, playing ultra-conservative and looking more to run time off the clock than to pick up first downs.  As for the end of the game, I'm not going to criticize too much.  I loved that we went for 2.  The play call wasn't what I would have run, but I'm sure Long assumed that Baylor would protect against the run, and thought he could catch their secondary (which is terrible) in single coverage.  It didn't work out, and it was frustrating, but it doesn't even make my list for top 100 coaching gaffes this season.

 

Overall Team Grade - C

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