So, I went to the game today. I didn't really want to. Warden even spilled kool-aid all over RCT yesterday, I assume to try and lift my spirits. I don't have to regurgitate numbers for you guys to tell you why I didn't want to go. Do I? Ok, fine, real quick. 56-16. 59-21. 59-7. So yeah. I pretty much have been
expecting dreading another Sunflower Beatdown.
Pretty cool morning. Supposed to be sunny and lower 50s. Should turn into a nice afternoon for football. I notice an awful lot of purple at various tailgates on my way into the stadium. Yech. Today's uniforms are blue on red with red helmets. Meh.
KU receives the opening kick, and of course, comes out throwing. Three and out. KState doesn't fare much better, and punts the ball back to the Jayhawks. Cozart rolls to his left and throws a pick. Great. Three plays later KState is on the board with one of those fake QB runs where the QB pops up at the line of scrimmage and jump passes to a receiver. Replays in the stadium made it look like he may have passed the line of scrimmage. No review. Oh well.
Kansas doesn't do much on the next drive, and Pardula's second punt of the day is another bad one. Four plays later, KState has doubled their lead to 14-0. Hubert looks like he's going to be a PITA this game. Jake Heaps relieves Montell Cozart. Heaps promptly throws an incomplete pass, gets flagged for intentional grounding, and takes a sack on back to back to back plays. The quarter ends after another terrible Pardula punt, KState 14, KU 0.
Well the second quarter didn't start off well either. On the second play of the quarter, KState runs the same fake QB run jump pass to the TE for another touchdown. Come on defense. Really? The same play? Ridiculous. KState puts the kickoff out of bounds, so good field position (finally) for KU. But Kansas, of course, immediately fumbles on the next play. I decide that if KState scores and goes up by 4 TDs, my time in Section 4 for this year is over. However, the KU defense stiffens (finally) and forces a KSU punt.
Kansas still can't do anything offensively, but Pardula finally nails a punt. KState fields at the 5 yard line and gets nailed. The KU people in the crowd finally have something to cheer about. KState gets a first down and a few yards, but eventually punts back to Kansas. KU starts at midfield and Heaps finally starts hitting receivers. Or rather, the receivers finally start catching Heaps' passes. KU metriculates down the field, and facing a fourth and two at the KState 11 yard line, Weis elects to go for it. Heaps to Mundine is good for a touchdown, and the KU fans in the crowd are feeling that maybe, with 3:38 left in the first half, the momentum has shifted.
This is confirmed when KState fumbles the ensuing kickoff. Kansas begins working the ball down the field again, looking to close the gap more before halftime. This time facing a fourth and seven from the KSU 14, Weis elects for the field goal. Doherty clinks it off the upright, but it goes in, and suddenly Kansas has scored 10 unanswered. KState runs the clock out to take it to halftime.
The Jayhawks run off the field to cheers, applause, and with some momentum, trailing KState 21 to 10.
The KState band is here. Of course. They're really good. I'm not sure why we let them in. I'll rant on this later. The lady directly in front of me either hasn't showered in five days or hasn't washed her sweatshirt in two months. Yes, she's wearing purple.
Oh, I'm sorry, game analysis. Well, the Kansas run game has been nonexistant. Heaps looks OK. Cozart looked just terrible, so I'm OK with the switch. Haven't seen much of Daniel Sams, as Jake Waters has played most of the game for KState. If only our defense had stayed disciplined on those QB draw jump pass plays, this game would be so much closer.
The KU fans near me in Section 4 are happy with how we didn't fold and go down 28-0, which was a very strong probability at one point early in the second quarter. None of us feel like KU is going make a game of this, though. We are still bracing for a 59-10 final.
KState gets the ball first. KU defense holds and forces a punt. Four plays later, James Sims fumbles - his second of the day. Surely this is where KState turns up the heat, right? Well, normally, yes, you'd be correct. However, KState shoots themselves in the foot here. After a false start, an illegal chop block, and offensive pass interference, KState is faced with a first and 42. I'm pretty sure I've never seen a first and 42 before. I decide that
when if KState converts this, that my time in Section 4 for this year is over. Waters ends up throwing a pick on second and 37, but it's so far down the field, it's the same as a punt.
KU, of course, almost immediately give the ball back to KState. I am SO DONE with Jimmay Mundine. Put someone out there who isn't afraid to catch the ball. Heaps hits him in stride, but it bounces off his hands and into a KState defender. KState turns this turnover into points on a Jake Waters 15 yard TD run.
The quarter ends KState 28, Kansas 10.
KU starts of the fourth quarter with.... another turnover. Of course. Heaps picked off again. KState puts a short drive together, but KU holds and forces a field goal attempt, which gets blocked. KU still isn't out of it with 9:44 left in the game, but the Jayhawks need to do something quick, fast, and in a hurry. So of course Heaps throws another interception. Despite starting on the KU 22 yard line, KState is stopped again, but this time they make the field goal and go up 31 to 10.
Cozart comes back in with 7:21 left in the game, but the offense still doesn't go anywhere. The teams exchange punts until KSU finally runs out the clock.
Kansas 10, Kansas State 31
Terrible. Just terrible. Sims had no running lanes. Cozart looked horrible. He had trouble handling the snaps, and in my opinion, struggled with his decision making on the read-options. Jake Heaps actually looked OK I thought. The line was decent most of the day in pass protection (but not in terms of running lanes, as just mentioned). Also as previously mentioned, I am done with Jimmay Mundine. For every nice play or catch he has, he drops three more balls. Turzilli and McCay weren't innocent today, either. Drops plagued KU all year, and today was no different.
Got better as the day went on. That's about all I can say. They somehow regrouped and withstood the early KState onslaught. When KState was up 21-0 with the ball, they could have folded and let KState get started on yet another 55 point day against KU. But these guys played hard all day, and gave the offense every chance to do something. They recorded several sacks, and did a decent job against the KState run game. Yeah, Hubert got loose a few times, but overall, I was happy with the way the defense played. (Edit: So I just looked at a box score and apparently Hubert had 220 yards. Good grief. It didn't seem like that many at the time...)
Trevor Pardula struggled early with some terrible punts. He eventually got it figured out, though. Of course he had plenty of opportunities, as usual. KState generally makes a pretty good living scoring points on special teams. But Kansas pretty much matched them today. KU blocked a field goal and recovered a fumble on a kickoff. KU even made a field goal. The Jayhawks kept the KState return game in check as well. So, fortunately, not much to see here.
There were two points in the game when I said to myself I'm leaving if. Both times, "if" didn't happen. The guys hung around and played hard, but the offense just couldn't do anything. So, we didn't get the 59-10 beatdown that we expected. However, we never really felt like KU had much of a chance, either. I heard Bill Self say today something to the effect of, "There's a difference between playing hard and competing." Well, the same goes for Kansas football.
Next year could be a decent chance to show some real improvement. KU only loses five guys off the two deep on defense. The QB battle in camp between Heaps, Cozart, and Millweard
could should be interesting. Nick Harwell will finally be eligible. All we need is a tight end who can catch more than 33% of the passes thrown his way, right?
Can Weis fill out this year's recruiting class? He needs to hit that hard. Some quality recruits are needed to come in behind all these seniors that will be leaving after 2014. With Grunhard stepping away, rumor has it that KU will hire John Reagan from Rice to be the Offensive Coordinator. I see that as a net positive for Kansas, as I believe an offensive coordinator would do wonders for this offense. KU needs an identity on offense, and hopefully an OC will be able to bring that.
I do want to take this time to say that the gameday atmosphere today was a disappointment. The crowd was probably 60/40 with KU fans only a slight majority. It really felt like a KSU home game, especially when Willie Wildcat led that stupid KAAAY ESSS UUUU chant. The KState band was very, very good. I don't know why we let them bring their band when they blow our band out of the water in terms of numbers and sound. Their band was louder than ours and more enthusiastic than ours. The scoreboard operator did a pretty good job of blaring music whenever the KSU band would play, so kudos to that guy. I counted the KState fight song 15 times, and Wabash Cannonball six times. I feel like I lost count midway thru the fourth quarter, however.
Also, Willie Wildcat and his push-ups are a joke.
He She It should be embarrassed. I haven't done a push-up in ten years, but I could do 31 of those "push-ups" too.
A couple of winning seasons will correct all of this, though. Winning cures everything. Bandwagon fans will come back (and crowd out visiting teams fans). Recruiting will improve. Band enrollment will increase. Etc. Is Weis the man for the job? We have no choice but to find out, as it's pretty much guaranteed he'll be here through at least 2015.
Don't lose hope, my friends. Hopefully next year will be better. For now, let's enjoy basketball. Don't forget to check in on recruiting in February.
As always, Rock Chalk.