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Kansas vs. Baylor: Quick Hits

A first glance back at the Jayhawks loss to Baylor in Waco on Saturday.

Cooper Neill

Baylor 41 Kansas 14

This honestly went about as well as we could have expected. Through the half Kansas had done enough to be in the game against a team with an offense that really presented a horrible mismatch for Kansas. When you look at the Jayhawks and start thinking about what the deficiencies are, much of it revolves around having the athletes to compete across the board. Some of that can be masked with coaching, scheme and a little bit of heart, but that eventually only goes so far. Baylor's gameplan and personnel is designed to capitalize on that deficiency by spreading you out and making you cover in space. Kansas did an admirable job at times and they continue to be one of the best redzone defenses in the Big 12, but you're not going to shut the Baylor offense down. You can hope to contain them and look to outscore them, but with the Kansas offensive woes, that hope slipped away early in the second half. It was the least competitive Kansas has been outside of Kansas State and Oklahoma which means this team has battled in 6 of 9 games now, but even in a rather large loss, there were definitely some positive things that can be taken from this one. If you were expecting Kansas to go on the road and get a win in this one you were bound to be disappointed. Three games to do, Tech, ISU and WVU.

Offensive MVP - James Sims - 21 Carries, 126 Yards, 1 TD

The impressive thing about what Sims is doing is that nobody really respects our ability to pass. Why would you? Sims is a workhorse, he's one of the best backs in the league and he's putting up some great numbers during a dark era for Kansas football. In a three year span that has seen very little in the way of positive tangible results, Sims is exactly that. This year has been one of his best years despite the three game suspension. Another year under this coaching staff, combined with what we all hope is an improved offense in 2013, and Sims will work his way up the career rushing list at Kansas in a hurry.

Defensive MVP - Ben Heeney - 13 Tackles, 1TFL

This is one of those games where it's a little tough to pick a defensive MVP but Heeney is turning into a steady producer at linebacker thanks to the improved play on the defensive line. Yes Heeney was beat early on a touchdown pass, but teams are struggling in the redzone against Kansas and Heeney is one of the big reasons why. With two years of eligibility remaining, the Hutchinson Kansas product is exactly the type of player that could leave his mark on the Kansas rebuilding project at hand.

Three Things to Like Against Baylor
  • The Jayhawks answered after an early setback and made this a game by halftime. Last year this team would have packed it in, just like some of the fans probably turned the television off when this game started out with a quick 14-0 deficit. Fortunately this team doesn't do that and the defense stepped up to make a few stops and the offense produced behind the leadership of Sims. With a better offense Kansas is leading this one at half. Baby steps.
  • James Sims is a warrior and the biggest bright spot on a dark offensive unit. A six yard per carry average when everyone knows you're going to have to run the ball is an admirable accomplishment. Sims is one of those guys that gets better with time and he still has a full season of football ahead of him.
  • 2 of 14, that's the Baylor 3rd down conversion rate. The bad news is that there were also four, fourth down conversion attempts and Kansas wasn't nearly as good.

Three Causes for Concern

  • Athletes on offense, Kansas just doesn't have them. Specifically Kansas is really bad at the wideout position. Kale Pick is our most reliable player and he isn't getting separation, he's making plays because he plays with some heart. Opposing defenses aren't respecting our wideouts, our wideouts aren't making plays and while quarterback has been an issue, this position desperately needs an upgrade. If Baylor was one of the more athletic wideout groups in the league, we're easily the least.
  • Officiating is just bad and we aren't going to catch any breaks. I hate talking about officiating, but as the team with the reputation for being the worst in the league, we're facing an uphill battle when it comes to respect from officials. Fortunately we're a very disciplined team so we aren't giving them an easy out every play. Unfortunately the guys wearing stripes are sometimes taking any opportunity they can to take away from what our players our doing. Obviously this didn't cause the loss, but it was frustrating to watch several bad calls provide a pretty significant boost to the Baylor momentum.
  • Quarterback is still going to be a position that we need to address in the offseason and we need Heaps to take the spot. Cummings is doing some good things and he at least provides some mobility, but whether it's him or the wideouts, the passing offense still isn't something that we can rely on at all. He's only a redshirt freshman so I wouldn't write him off, but the Cummings that is on the field today needs some work when it comes to running this offense.