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Kansas Vs. Northern Illinois Quick Hits

Northern Illinois 30 Kansas 23

Rice stung, this one just stunk. Kansas had every opportunity to win this game. They played solid early and held what should have been an 11 point lead before a penalty took a point off the board and moved our extra point attempt an insurmountable 10 yards back for what would be a missed attempt. At that point everyone talked about how that point could be a big one because it was a 10 point game instead of 11. It didn't matter either way because Kansas collapsed completely down the stretch and lost by 7 to Northern Illinois after a horrid finish in the 4th quarter. Charlie Weis talked about turning a corner against TCU, Kansas fans have talked about closing, right now the Jayhawks aren't doing either of those things and it's about to get a whole lot harder.

Offensive MVP - James Sims - 18 Carries, 91 Yards, 2 TD's

Sims returned from his three game suspension and showed why he's been a starter since his true freshman season. Sims was one of the lone bright spots for the Jayhawk offense by the time this game drew to a close. Unfortunately when you are completely ineffective in the passing game, defending a player like Sims becomes much more manageable. Taylor Cox went down early and didn't return, Sims then led the team in carries. It looks like his reintegration happened in a hurry.

Defensive MVP - Tyler Patmon - 1 INT, 1 TD

Anthony McDonald and Bradley McDougald were all over the field but Patmon finally jumped on a route that Kansas was close on all game. He was rewarded with a pick six that should have been the beginning of the end for Northern Illinois. Instead it just seemed to awaken the Huskies and from there the entire Kansas team started showing the same body language that we've seen the last two seasons. The psychology of sports can be a tricky thing and that might be Charlie Weis' biggest challenge. Nice play by Patmon though.

Three Things To Like Against NIU

  • James Sims - This is an easy one, he stepped in almost from the beginning and provided a steady contributor to the running game almost all day. That is until we started our rapid decline late. None of that really rests on the shoulders of Sims, he got the job done on Saturday.
  • The Wildcat - A nice wrinkle that looked extremely effective early in the second half. Everything seemed to stall after an injury to NIU's safety and the Jayhawks never really went back to it with the same commitment that they did during the second half drive. If the traditional offense is going to be as horrible as it was on Saturday, we might as well find something that can work.
  • Andrew Turzilli - He's turning himself into a pretty effective wideout and a player that should be a good option for Kansas over the next two seasons. Now we just need to find someone and an offense that can utilize the rest of the field and put Turzilli in an even better position to succeed.

Three Areas Of Concern Against NIU

  • Quarterback Play - We've hit the point where this is a problem. We're 1/3 of the way through the season and Crist is as inaccurate with the ball as anyone that has played quarterback for Kansas in recent memory. Yes there are other problems contributing to the issues, but even when everything else seems to fall into place Crist is missing big in some instances.
  • Body Language - The fourth quarter looked like the Turner Gill era all over again. Players looked discouraged, a bit lost and they weren't confident. I don't know how Weis can overcome that issue, but it's not going to get any easier with Big 12 play kicking into high gear. This has to change or it's going to be ugly.
  • 3rd Down Efficiency - This has been a problem all year and it ties right in to the first area of concern. We cannot convert on third down unless it's pretty much a gimme. 3rd and long is a disaster and 3rd and short can be challenging. We were better at this under Chuck "3rd and" Long.