As expected, the Kansas Jayhawks rolled into Waco, Texas on Saturday afternoon and emerged from McLane Stadium with yet another loss on their resume. The ‘Hawks will now have to win out if they want to play in a bowl this year.
Interestingly, Kansas announced before the game that wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau had been promoted to co-offensive coordinator. Reagan remained in the booth for today's game while Kiesau called offensive plays from the field.
The game started off well enough with the Kansas defense forcing a three and out by Baylor. Of course, the offense was like, anything you can do, we can do better, and promptly responded with a three and out of their own. The Bears scored on their very next play from scrimmage and the rout was on.
Or was it? Despite short field after short field provided to the Baylor offense - courtesy of the Kansas offense - the Bears had to settle for four field goals. The Kansas goal-line defense was actually pretty stout, and redzone defense was tough as well. However, KU keeps getting done in by their offense. The offense only put together one decent drive in the first half, culminating in a beautiful pass from Cummings to Harwell to pull the ‘Hawks to 20-7.
Three fumbles - two by Cummings and one on a kickoff return - kept putting Baylor in short fields, and the Bears kept kicking field goals. At the end of the first half, the scoreboard showed Baylor 39, Kansas 7. First half Tony Pierson touch count: 1 Rec for 1 Yard, 5 Carries for 12 yards.
It didn't get much better in the second half as I'm sure you guessed. The Kansas offense continued to stagnate, although some of the receivers looked good on a few deep balls. The defense fared about as well as you could expect against the relentless Baylor offense. Seth Russell relieved Bryce Petty late in the third quarter. Baylor scored a TD on every second half possession, and at the end of the game the scoreboard read Baylor 60, Kansas 14.
Honestly, the Jayhawks never really had a chance. Three lost fumbles in the first half doomed the ‘Hawks early (even though Baylor only turned those three turnovers into 12 points). Ben Heeney took a handoff at tailback on a fourth-and-three in the third quarter - and was stuffed. Kansas also failed to convert on a fourth-and-goal from two yard line in the fourth quarter. It seemed like penalties killed the Jayhawks, but again, they were never really in the game, so a statement like that is difficult to justify.
Final Tony Pierson stat line: 1 Rec, 1 Yard, 9 Carries, 32 yards. Nick Harwell and Nigel King combined for 9 receptions for 147 yards and two TDs (both TDs by Harwell).
But I'll leave you with these stats. Baylor ran 88 plays for 669 yards. Kansas ran 57 plays for 304 yards. Overall, KU's net rushing was 16 yards for the day. Kansas suffered five fumbles, losing three. Baylor dropped the ball twice, losing none.
The offense still has a long, long way to go. I don't feel too bad about the defense today, because I mean really, what did we expect? Not very many teams have slowed down Baylor lately. At one point, we held Baylor to four field goals in a five possession span. I'll take that.
Fortunately for us, Baylor slowed down their offense and ran the clock for most of the second half. They even got their third-string QB into the game. I'm sure they could have scored in the 90s had they really wanted to.
KU now looks to next week when the Iowa State Cyclones come to Lawrence for a 2:30 PM kickoff. Realistically, it's KU's last shot for a win this year, even though it's probably still not very likely.
Keep your heads up, KU fans. We'll make it through.