So the question lately in Jayhawk-land (or at least here at RCT) is, is Kansas better defensively? The metrics and numbers indicate that no, they aren’t. KU is still giving up tons of points and tons of yards. And while you can quantify things like three-and-outs and field goal attempts against, those aren’t “normal” statistics you can just go and look up. Or at least, I don’t know where to get them.
It feels like (there’s that word again) that Kansas is making progress defensively. So while KU lost 55-19 to Texas Tech, it was 28-19 midway through the third quarter. Texas Tech is gonna get their yards - and points - against most teams in the country. They just have that kind of offense. But KU kept it respectable for nearly three quarters. The defense is giving you reasons to watch this team. The offense... is not.
The field position wasn’t as awful this week as it was against Memphis. Case in point, Texas Tech only started one drive in Kansas territory - the last possession of the game in which the Raiders knelt out the clock. Meanwhile, Kansas started with the ball twice in Tech territory and scored on both of those possessions (TD, FG, both in the third quarter).
KU’s first six possessions ended with a punt. Four of those were three-and-outs. That is unacceptable.
Texas Tech was only 4/10 on third down, and 0/2 on fourth down.
The KU defense collected three sacks, 10 TFLs, and INT and a fumble recovery.
Turnovers were even at two apiece, although KU didn’t turn the ball over until its last two possessions of the game, late in the fourth quarter.
I know you’re expecting me to say “the defense,” and compared to the offense, it was good. But instead, I’ll mention that we saw flashes of goodness from QB Ryan Willis and DB Mike Lee.
Technically, Kansas averaged 1.6 yards per carry on 28 rushing attempts, however, those numbers are dragged down by four sacks of Ryan Willis. I say that to lead into a discussion of the offensive line; there were a few clean pockets when Willis could step into a throw, but not many, and too often the running backs were left to make chicken salad out of you-know-what.
This quarterback rotation has got to stop. Judging by their usage throughout the game, it appears as if Ryan Willis has reclaimed the starting job, but we won’t know that for sure until October 8 at 11 AM.
Montell Cozart started (again) and led the Jayhawks on their first four possessions before giving way to Ryan Willis. He wouldn’t see the field again until Willis went down with an injury midway through the 4th quarter. His final line was 9/20 for 97 yards with a TD and an INT. He was not credited with any rushing attempts.
Ryan Willis took over on KU’s 5th possession of the game and played until Carter Stanley arrived in garbage time. His numbers were 14/26 for 142 yards and a TD. Willis was constantly under pressure and was sacked 4 times.
Carter Stanley was 2/2 for 11 yards on KU’s final two possessions of the game.
Ke’aun Kinner rushed 9 times for 45 yards, a 5.0 average. Moar Kinner please.
Khalil Herbert gained 22 yards on 7 rushes.
Taylor Martin added 14 yards on 4 rushes.
Ben Johnson was the star of the night, hauling in 5 receptions for 86 yards and bailing out Ryan Willis several times.
Steven Sims caught 6 balls for 59 yards and a touchdown.
Quiv Gonzalez had 5 catches for 51 yards.
Chase Harrell added two catches for 24 yards, one of which went for a touchdown.
Jeremiah Booker saw some action, catching 3 passes for 14 yards.
Mike Lee led the team with 9 tackles, 8 of which were solo.
Marquise Roberts had 5 tackles, 4 solo, and 1.5 TFL.
Courtney Arnick, who is filling in for the injured Joe Dineen, had five tackles and a TFL.
Dorrance Armstrong made his presence felt with two sacks and three total tackles. Armstrong had another sack wiped out by a targeting call on Anthony Olobia.
Fish Smithson had 5 tackles, 3 solo, and an INT.
Cole Moos punted 10 times, averaging 37.7 yards.