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Kansas Jayhawks at Memphis Tigers (Semi) Statistical Recap


It’s a hard life, being a Kansas football fan. It takes a special person to be able to deal with watching this degree of ineptitude week after week, year after year.

This is a bit of a tangent, but consider: the Jayhawks haven’t been consistently good since the mid-1970s. Kansas hasn’t won an outright conference title since 1930(!!) and hasn’t shared a conference title since 1968.

Not that there haven’t been a few bright spots, even semi-recently. They’re few and far between, but they’re there. 1992. 1995. 2007. But even those seasons were marred by losses to rivals.

Kansas has clearly never been a great program. For reference, let’s divide the 120+ years of KU football history into 40(ish)-year blocks. From 1890-1935, Kansas was 225-125 (not including ties), good for a 64.3% winning percentage. From 1936 to 1975, Kansas went 178-207 for a winning percentage of 46.2%. From 1976-2015, Kansas went 176-277 for a winning percentage of 38.8%.

Over the last six seasons, Kansas is 12-60. That’s a winning percentage of 16.6%.

How anybody goes to home games anymore is beyond me. If someone can tell me why I continue to do it, please let me know.

Ok, tangent over. Let’s get back to the Memphis game (sigh).

Like I mentioned in the immediate postgame recap, the defense played very well - much better than I expected, in fact. They gave up a few big plays on Memphis’ first two drives of the game, but made the necessary adjustments and slowed down the Tigers for the rest of the afternoon.

The Jayhawk defense forced four 3-and-outs. They held the Tigers to four field goal attempts. They allowed fewer than 400 yards of total offense by Memphis. They forced a fumble (that Memphis recovered). They had 10 tackles for loss, five quarterback sacks, and two more QB hurries. Memphis was only 3/14 on third down.

So how did the score get so out of hand, so quickly? Field position.

Field Position # Plays Yards Result
1st Half
Own 25 8 53 Miss FG
Own 16 1 84 TD
KU 32 4 8 FG
KU 29 4 4 FG
Own 26 8 74 TD
Own 25 3 6 Punt
KU 48 3 9 Punt
KU 29 5 29 TD
KU 41 6 -21 Downs
2nd Half
Own 31 5 29 Punt
KU 48 3 5 Punt
Own 26 9 41 FG
KU 33 3 33 TD
Own 11 9 8 Punt
Own 40 3 4 Punt

Memphis started on KU’s side of the 50-yard line on seven of their 15 possessions. Out of those seven, only twice did they punch it into the end zone. Overall, only once did Memphis drive down the field and score a touchdown. Yes, KU gave up the 84-yard touchdown pass, but we can just take that off the board, right K-State fans?

Meanwhile the Kansas offense started on Memphis’ side of the field once, and it took Montell Cozart exactly one play to throw a pick-6.

Field Position # Plays Yards Result QB
1st Half
Own 22 3 6 Punt Cozart
Own 25 5 7 Fumble Cozart
Own 25 6 54 Fumble Willis
Own 25 3 7 Punt Cozart
Own 25 3 75 TD Cozart
Own 10 3 0 Punt Cozart
Own 3 3 7 Punt Cozart
Own 25 5 16 Fumble Cozart
MEM 38 1 0 INT Cozart
2nd Half
Own 8 6 22 Punt Willis
Own 6 3 2 Punt Willis
Own 6 8 31 Punt Willis
Own 25 4 8 Downs Cozart
Own 25 6 52 INT Cozart
Own 30 3 30 Fumble Stanley
Own 12 7 18 Downs Stanley

The Jayhawks had 16 possessions. They turned it over six times, eight if you count the two turnovers-on-downs.

Kansas ran 72 offensive plays. Memphis also ran 72 offensive plays. Time of possession was surprisingly relatively even with Memphis holding a 31:24-28:36 edge. The Tigers outgained the Jayhawks 394-314.

There was a little bit of bad luck involved in the turnover department, as the ball was on the ground five times and Memphis recovered all five. (I thought Memphis fumbled it two or three times, but they were only officially credited with one.)

The Good

The defense. Seriously. You just read about it.

The Bad

Playcalling. I don’t even know what to say here. I’m not a play-caller. I never will be. It just seems to me like there’s more room in the middle of the field than there is on the sidelines. Stop it with the screens and the flats and get the ball down the field. More slants, more ins, and more deep balls. Get the ball down the field.

The Ugly

Quarterback play. Maybe the quarterback of the future isn’t on this team. Maybe he’s redshirting this year (Tyriek Starks). But I am not convinced that Montell Cozart gives this team the best chance to win. (I’m not the head coach, either, and that’s the only guy whose opinion matters.) I’m not sure if the better choice is Ryan Willis or Carter Stanley, but after two clearly awful games offensively against mediocre competition, I’d like to at least see what these other two guys have to offer, especially Stanley.

The Stats

Montell Cozart was awful. He started and led the Jayhawks 10 of their 16 drives. His final line was 13/21 for 87 yards with 0 TDs, and 2 INTs. He added 12 yards rushing on four carries complete with a fumble. He also failed to recover an admittedly low snap that resulted in yet another Memphis fumble recovery.

Ryan Willis didn’t do much better, going 9/13 for 80 yards. Willis also had a fumble that was recovered by Memphis.

Carter Stanley played two drives late in the fourth quarter, going 4/6 for 26 yards.

Khalil Herbert rushed 6 times for 74 yards, with a long of 66 on KU’s only scoring play. Take out the long run and you’re looking at 5 rushes for 8 yards. However, Herbert also chipped in two pass receptions for 35 yards.

Ke’aun Kinner got 12 rushes for 49 yards, an average of 4.1 ypc. Kinner hauled in two passes for 30 yards. Moar Kinner please.

Quiv Gonzalez hauled in 6 passes for 44 yards. Why is this guy running underneath routes? Seriously, let this guy run down the field.

Keegan Brewer caught 4 balls for 36 yards.

Steven Sims Jr. was quiet all day long, only catching two passes for 15 yards, one of which ended in a fumble.

Tyler Patrick caught four passes for 6 yards. Again, throw the ball down the field.

LB Marcquis Roberts had 5 tackles, 4 solo, with 2 TFLs and a sack.

DB Marnez Ogletree had 5 tackles and a TFL. I’m also pretty sure he’s the one that got burned on the 84-yard TD pass.

DB Mike Lee, the four-star freshman, had 4 tackles.

DE Dorrance Armstrong had 3 TFLs and two sacks. He was also credited with a QB hurry.

DE Damani Mosby had 2 tackles, a sack, forced a fumble, and was credited with a QB hurry.