Time to look inside the numbers at what went good and what went bad during Saturday's road loss to the Northern Illinois Huskies. Honestly the bad is always going to outweigh the good after a tough loss like Saturday's, but on some level there were improvements when compared to a year ago so attention will be served where appropriate.
10 - 26 - Completions and attempts
This would have been bad in the 80's let alone now. Dayne Crist has to be better. Saturday was saw a breakdown in the offensive line, we saw a breakdown with some of the receivers, but the breakdown that stood out the most was the breakdown at quarterback. Missing a touchdown throw to a wide open Kale Pick was the biggest miss, but the bad misses on checkdown throw was equally baffling. Something has to give.
6.1 - Yards per carry for Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch
Once again Lynch led his team in rushing and this was his highest single game total on the year. This certainly wasn't the reason Kansas lost, but late in the game the defense seemed very frustrated with his ability to tuck and run. At one point NIU even hurried to the line to sneak a half yard first down and ended up going for 10+. Collin Klein is going to be a challenge to say the least.
25.0 - Yards per kickoff return by Tre Parmalee
Special teams is probably second in line in terms of responsibility for this loss, but Tre Parmalee was a bright spot in his debut fielding kicks. Parmalee wasn't a huge lift or anything, but I'll take 25 out of the endzone every time when compared to the 10-12 that DJ Beshears was getting.
10:22 - 3rd quarter time of possession
Things were going well at this point. Kansas was putting together longer sustained drives, but we still struggle to punch it in. Regardless the 3rd quarter was a great example of putting ourselves in a position to win. Then we get to the 4th quarter, score on a pick six and fall apart from there. Not sure what happened. Last year the 3rd quarter was our downfall, this year we're doing pretty good through three and then collapsing in the 4th.
115 - Yards from scrimmage for James Sims
You've been missed. Now give him his starting spot back.
4 of 16 - 3rd down conversions
This has been horrible all season and it continues to be a major problem for Kansas this year. It's going to be hard to get over the hump if the Jayhawks can't convert more 3rd down opportunities.
54.6 to 62.4 - Yards per kickoff KU v NIU
This wasn't hugely significant because the net ended up pretty even thanks to Parmalee and the kick coverage, but this is still frustrating to me and the kickoff out of bounds after the pick six was pretty critical.
4 for 21 - Penalties and yards
This as well as the turnover margin have been bright spots for Kansas. If nothing else this shows that we're a more disciplined program when compared to the last two years. We're in the top 15 nationally in both of these categories and I'll take that as a positive. Now let's find some other areas that we can turn into positive please.
15 - Tackles by the defensive line
Things shifted this week and part of that is the style that NIU plays. Either way the linebackers and secondary were making more of the plays defensively this week and a defensive line that was so effective against TCU, took a small step back.