Kansas hosted Iowa State in the battle for the Big 12 cellar, and in that sense, the Jayhawks emerged victorious, as KU took sole possession of last place in the conference with a 31-24 loss to the Cyclones.
Kansas has now lost 19 conference games in a row, with its last win coming against, you guessed it, Iowa State back in 2014 with Clint Bowen as the interim coach.
The last Big 12 team not named Iowa State that KU beat? Surely you remember West Virginia in 2013. But what about before that? Why, Colorado in 2010. Before that? How about Missouruh in 2008.
Yeesh. That’s how bad KU football has been since Mark Mangino was run out of town.
Oh, I ‘member!
Anyway, he’s not coming back, and we have to move forward from here. I like David Beaty, I really do. He’s still working with a short deck, one that doesn’t have very many face cards in it. It’s his job to get some players to Lawrence, and he seems to be doing OK there. But come on coach. Let’s get a little better on gameday.
You can’t punt from the opponent’s 37-yard line. You just can’t. You shouldn’t punt at all once you cross midfield, actually.
Let’s ignore the fact that all the math says to not punt. Here’s the thing. This team, this year (and probably next year) isn’t winning any games by being conservative. You can’t settle for field goals. You can’t play for field position. Not when you’re the underdog. Not when you’re losing games 56-3.
Beaty, for his part, seems to indicate that he gets it. From ESPN:
"... You can't kick field goals, man. You're not going to be able to kick field goals in this league and win. You can't do that. You've got to score touchdowns. We didn't do it."
Take more than a couple of shots down the field per game. Work the sidelines, great, but you gotta get vertical. Work the middle of the field, too. There’s a lot of green out there, and most of it is beyond the line of scrimmage.
Back to the game on Saturday.
Both defenses were gashed in the run game. Iowa State averaged 5.2 yards per rush attempt; KU averaged 6.1.
Neither squad found a lot of success through the air, but ISU fared better than KU there, averaging 7.3 yards per attempt to KU’s 4.5.
Iowa State did most of the damage in the second half, scoring on four of their five possessions - the fifth possession spent simply kneeling the ball and running out the clock.
The run game, and Ke’Aun Kinner in particular. Dude was a baller, averaging 8.4 ypc on 18 carries. The KU rushing attack as a whole was stellar as noted above.
The pass offense. Yeah, Carter Stanley started. Yeah, he completed 68% of his passes. But his longest completion was 29 yards to Ke’aun Kinner - out of the backfield on a screen. Stanley definitely gave the offense a spark, but didn’t complete a single pass down the field, and the ones he did attempt down the field were often underthrown and luckily not picked off.
The rush defense. Iowa State had two rushers average over 7 ypc. ISU totaled 238 yards on the ground and used that to control the clock, wear down the KU defense, and ultimately pull out a victory.
Carter Stanley got his first start in college and played the entire game. He finished 26-38 for 171 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. He made a few Reesing-esque plays out there, scrambling for a total on 9 yards on 5 carries.
Ke’aun Kinner wasn’t named in the starting lineups during pregame (that would have been Khalil Herbert), but Kinner started anyway. Kinner picked up 152 yards on just 18 carries with 1 TD.
Taylor Martin chipped in 83 yards on 17 carries with 1 TD.
Shakiem Barbel had 60 yards on 6 receptions.
Quiv Gonzalez had 7 receptions, but only 39 yards. That’s a hair over 5.5 ypc if you’re doing math. This is one of the guys that KU needs to run downfield and try to get the ball to.
Steven Sims Jr. had 9 receptions but only 37 yards. That’s 4.1 ypc. This is the other guy the Jayhawks need to get downfield.
Mike Lee led Kansas with 12 tackles, 9 solo.
Courtny Arnick had 10 tackles, 8 solo, with a TFL.
Keith Loneker Jr. had 8 tackles, 5 solo.
Fish Smithson had 6 tackles, 4 solo, and an INT.
Isaiah Bean had KU’s only sack to go along with 2 tackles.
Matthew Wyman was 1-2 on field goal attemps, hitting a 37-yarder and missing a 46-yarder.
Cole Moos punted twice for 71 yards; that’s an average of 30.5.