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A Lesson In Losing Momentum

In both Kansas losses the Jayhawks had moments where they were competitive across the board.  The offense was moving the ball, the defense managed a stop or two and things looked to be manageable.  So what happened?  Pressure maybe? Inexperience perhaps? 

It's been well documented that Kansas is a fairly young and inexperienced team.  Drop that inexperience into the pressure cooker of college football and what do you get?  The potential for huge momentum swings. 

When would you guess the Kansas defense is at it's worst?  When they are trailing by a ton and all is lost maybe?  How about when Kansas has a nice lead and the tendency is to let up?  Wrong again, try looking at when the game is tied or close.  That's where Kansas has struggled most.

Situation Games Plays Yards Average TD Long 1st Downs 10+ 20+
Score Tied 3 26 321
5 95 11 9 6
Kansas up less than 7 3 33 177
3 19 10 8 0
Kansas down less than 7 3 19 141
2 63 5 4 2

Kansas just hasn't been able to manage those close situations.  Honestly when the Jayhawks are up the defense has performed fairly well.  The same can be said for when the Jayhawks are down big which isn't a huge surprise as that number includes quite a few junk plays by the opposing offense.

Somewhere out there is someone who follows the numbers and looks at stats more closely than I do, but at first glance these are the three scenario's given where our defense is the worst and these are the three scenario's where we have the most to lose.  By comparison Kansas typically gives up about 3-4 yards per play when either ahead or behind by more than 7 points, that's not horrible.  

Looking back and comparing to last year when our defense seemed to improve and you'll find that across the board Kansas was allowing between 4-5 yards per attempt on any given play and scenario.  Oddly enough the Jayhawks best defensive numbers occurred when they were in tie situations a year ago, although it's worth noting that our offense rarely put us in a situation to be close last year and that's something we have to at least be grateful for this year.  Silver linings right!