Sep 22, 2012; DeKalb, IL, USA; Northern Illinois Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch (6) rushes the ball against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second quarter at Huskie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE
The Jayhawks were reminded Saturday how tough it can be to get a win on the road. After putting together a solid performance for much of the game, and perhaps even looking like the better team at times, Kansas fell apart down the stretch and lost to the Huskies after giving up 17 unanswered fourth quarter points.
It's hard to say exactly what the Kansas gameplan was today. At times, we ran a lot of option in Jayhawk formations with Chrisitan Matthews at the helm, ostensibly trying to take advantage of the same weaknesses Army capitalized on last week. Other drives we looked like the same vanilla offense that sputtered against TCU last Saturday. Overall, there was much more focus on the run this week, with 45 rushes to just 26 pass attempts, but the running game had no explosiveness and was (once again) pretty ineffective in the fourth quarter. Dayne Crist was the same Dayne Crist we've come to know over the early part of the season, missing wide open receivers and holding the ball far too long, putting up yet another sub-50% performance. Overall, we moved the ball fairly well for much of the game, but our inability to capitalize on the opponent's half of the field probably cost us this game in the end.
The defense continues to be...ok. The improvement from last year is noticeable, but it still has a long way to go. Jordan Lynch made us look pretty bad, throwing for 235 and rushing for another 134. We kept him from going off for one of his homerun carries, but had enough large chunks to sustain drives and put us away. On a bright note, Tyler Patmon had a pick six early in the fourth quarter that, at the time, seemed like it might have put us over the hump. Unfortunately, the Huskies basically got whatever they wanted from us from that point on. Special teams was, as we've come to expect, awful. Doherty missed an extra point that was extended by a bizarre holding penalty, and had several low, short punts. We also had a kickoff sail out of bounds, and allowed a return past the 40.
Even though we were underdogs, and expecting a road win out of this group is probably unreasonable, this win felt very attainable after Patmon's touchdown put us up 23-13 in the 4th. Seemingly on cue, we were called for holding on an extra point, missed the retry, and gave up a 65 yard touchdown pass. I suppose I'm being a bit hard on the team right now, but this had the feel of last year's games again Texas Tech, Baylor and Iowa State, where we had every reason to feel hopeful but we just inevitably found ways to lose. It's time to accept that this year's team isn't that much different from last year's, and hope for improvement. As of right now, it doesn't look like better results on the scoreboard are coming any time soon.