The Jayhawks were close but came up just short in Saturday's upset bid of a Texas team ranked in the top 25. After a somewhat slow start the Jayhawk defense controlled the game through the middle of the fourth quarter and the Kansas offense did just enough to put Kansas in a position to escape with a win. Unfortunately the ending didn't quite turn out that way as Texas drove the length of the field to snag a last second victory with twelve seconds on the clock.
Despite the loss there are plenty of positives to take away from this game as Kansas continues to improve as a team and show an increased competitiveness which is all everyone was asking for a year ago. If this is truly a sign of the direction of the program then Charlie Weis and Dave Campo are doing a few things right and they still have four more weeks to hammer that message home.
342 Yards and 21 points - Texas offensive output against Kansas
This represents a 100 yard decrease along with a 23 point decrease from the Longhorns average production on the season. Take away the final drive and Kansas looks even better. Obviously you can't do that and the whole performance dictated a loss, but this Kansas defense took it to Texas and played a very physical brand of football. The linebackers looked very solid and much of that has to be credited to a defensive line that is playing gap sound fundamental defense in a way that needs to be recognized. This group really has come a long way since last year.
28, 178, 6.2 ypc - James Sims
While Sims didn't reach the endzone, he was the reason that Kansas was able to score 17 points. Sims has turned into a potential record breaking back at Kansas with 16 games remaining in his career. He is showing a new level of maturity and another step of explosiveness this year and he should be recognized as one of the better backs in the Big 12.
42.6 to 33.2 - Average yards per punt
Similar to the Oklahoma State game, this is probably one area where Kansas can swing this game and come away with a win. Field position was a battle that the Jayhawks lost on Saturday and while there are certainly other areas that need improvement, this is a fix that must be addressed in the offseason because it's a one person fix.
10:16 to 4:44 - 3rd quarter time of possession
The defense held throughout the third quarter, but you can't help but think this amount of time on the field hurt the Jayhawks ability to hold up in the 4th quarter.
3 of 9, 39 yards - Kansas passing game
Michael Cummings adds an element that Dayne Crist does not, but I'm not sure this line is really progress. Offensively we have been fortunate with our backfield and the play up front. Hats off to Tim Grunhard for getting his offensive line to play tough, physical, disciplined football but something tells me we're going to have to let Cummings throw a little bit more if we want to win one this year. It doesn't have to be much, but a well placed play action with easy reads seems doable.
30 Tackles, 2.5 TFL's, 1 Sack - Line for Kansas starting linebackers
Not too shabby. This represents three of the top four tacklers on the team and does not include a full game from Jake Love who is an animal on the field. Huldon Tharp is playing with confidence, Ben Heeney is looking more and more seasoned with every game. This is a fun group to watch and it's been since probably 2008-2009 that we could say that about this entire unit.
65 to 58 - Total offensive plays
Charlie Weis effectively slowed down this game once again. It's serving us well, now they just have to close.
3 for 4 - Kansas in the red zone
For a team near the bottom of the league in red zone scoring, this an improvement. Combine that with the 7 of 15 3rd down conversion rate and we've got a marked improvement when it comes to key conversions.
4 of 12 and 3 of 5 - Texas 3rd down conversions and red zone scoring
Conversely the Jayhawk defense was getting off the field. Kansas is actually one of the better red zone defenses nationally believe it or not so while the 3 of 5 isn't stellar, two turnovers and a fourth down stop in the red zone speaks to the improvement of this group.
3rd and Five at the UT 11 - Down and distance on the missed 3rd down conversion before the field goal.
Not really a stat but how close were we to closing this game out? One first down here is all it would have taken. Cummings missed on a pass to Omigie, is that the right call in this game?
3 and 3 - Fair catches and inside the 20 punts for the Texas punt team
Not to beat a dead horse but look what this unit was able to do against us. Three times Kansas started inside the 20 without even attempting a return. That's putting a pretty mediocre offense in front of a long field and telling them to earn it. The Kansas defense was better than the Texas offense, but the Texas offense pretty consistently had a short field. What if Kansas consistently has a short field? What if Texas is consistently chasing a long one? Things can change in a hurry.