In the words of the Statler Brothers:
Well here we are again
The same old shape we’re in
A song about reuniting with a lost love seems applicable to Kansas football, although perhaps more so last week than this week. The point, though, is that after this game, it’s pretty clear that the Jayhawks haven’t changed. They’re in the same old shape they’ve been in for the last nine years.
What we really learned this weekend are just how bad Central Michigan and Rutgers are. The Chippewas beat Maine at home 17-5. Well, Maine beat Western Kentucky, an FBS team already this year! And FCS #7 New Hampshire! Ok, well, this is also a Maine program that has one winning season since 2013 and was picked to finish 8th in the 12-team Colonial Athletic Association in 2018.
Meanwhile, Rutgers got blown out at home by Buffalo 42-13. Yes, the Bulls look like they are going to have a strong year, but they aren’t even the favorites to win their own division, let alone the MAC.
Don’t let the final score against Baylor fool you; Kansas never threatened to win this game. Losing by 19 to Baylor isn’t necessarily progress over last year. After rushing for 400 yards against Rutgers one week ago, KU registered zero rushing yards in the first half against Baylor and just 48 total yards (compared to Baylor’s 256). Kansas finished with 271 yards of total offense to Baylor’s 447 yards.
Let me put it another way: a Baylor team that gave up 220 rushing yards to Abilene Christian (8.1 ypc) and 225 rushing yards to Duke (5.1 ypc) held KU to 122 rushing yards - all of which came in the second half.
Kansas ran just 55 offensive plays picking up 4.9 yards per play. Baylor ran 68 plays, going for 6.6 yards per play.
I would also like to note that 63 of KU’s yards came on the final, meaningless drive of the game. If we take that out, KU’s offensive production drops to 4.2 yards per play (49 plays for 208 yards).
The Jayhawks were bad on third down for the fourth straight game, converting just 4-14 (28.6%). Baylor converted 7-14 (50.0%) of their third downs.
Kansas punted seven times, but not a single punt came from Baylor territory! Of course, that’s because the Jayhawks as whole didn’t run very many plays on the plus side of midfield - 14 to be exact. KU saw four drives cross midfield; a missed field goal, a touchdown, a turnover on downs, and the final garbage time drive at the end of the game.
But to make it even worse? Not a single Jayhawk possession started any farther upfield than KU’s own 25-yard line. It reminded me of the game at Memphis in 2016, only somehow it was statistically worse (field-position wise, not turnover-wise.)
But speaking of turnovers, after back-to-back games coming up with six turnovers, the KU defense had zero takeaways against Baylor. Fortunately, the Kansas offense didn’t turn the ball over either, although clearly, the Kansas offense didn’t do much of anything on Saturday.
This is going to be very specific because I can’t think of anything else, but for me, it’s the defensive adjustments made at halftime. KU only allowed three points after the break, picked up three sacks while holding the Bears to 5.5 yards per play.
What was the Kansas offensive gameplan? Baylor stacked the box with 8 defenders in the first half, and Kansas ran straight ahead anyway. Peyton Bender’s second pass of the game was into triple coverage and bounced off a Baylor facemask, and yet he still got to throw 15 more passes in the game.
And the Kansas defensive gameplan of dropping seven or eight into coverage seemingly neglected to account for the scrambling of Baylor QB Charlie Brewer, who simply waited for guys to get open anyway or took advantage of open field in front of him to pick up huge chunks of yards.
Is coaching just going to be the default for this section every week from now on? Not only were there no adjustments by the offense or defense until halftime, Beaty managed to ice his own kicker in the first quarter. Additionally, he used all three timeouts in the second half on defense, including one on a Baylor first-and-10 after a KU punt and another when Baylor was trying to take a delay of game prior to punting just across midfield.
Peyton Bender started once again, completing 10-17 passes for 105 yards and 1 TD. H/t to Benton Smith at the LJW for pointing out that of Bender’s 10 completions, 8 of them went for 10 yards or less.
Miles Kendrick entered the game late in the second quarter but could not spark the KU offense. He left with an apparent shoulder injury in the third quarter after completing 2-4 passes for 7 yards and rushing 4 times for 4 yards.
Carter Stanley saw mop-up duty late in the fourth quarter, completing 4-6 passes for 37 yards and adding 27 rushing yards on 3 carries. Stanley finished the game as KU’s second-leading rusher.
Pooka Williams had 89 yards on 14 carries, however, 72 of those yards came on one breakout run. Take that away and you’re left with 17 yards on 13 carries.
Khalil Herbert had just two carries for the second-straight game.
This makes no sense.
MOAR KHALIL HERBERT PLEAZE.
Dom Williams picked up just two yards on his two carries.
Steven Sims led KU receivers with 47 yards on three receptions. He also had a rush that went for six yards.
Stephon Robinson had a good start to the game but Kansas didn’t look his way much after the first quarter. He finished with 39 yards on three receptions.
Jeremiah Booker caught another fade for a touchdown and ended up with three catches for 25 yards.
Kerr Johnson had four receptions but just 11 receiving yards.
Joe Dineen was a madman, with 13 tackles and 2 TFL.
Bryce Torneden had 9 tackles himself, including 1 TFL, but may remember this game more for missing what could have been a big sack that led to a Baylor touchdown following the QB scramble.
Keith Loneker added 8 tackles.
Hasan Defense had 8 tackles as well, including a TFL.
Mike Lee was credited with 7 tackles.
Daniel Wise had just 3 tackles, but picked up his first sack of the year.
Gabriel Rui was 0-1 on field goals, missing a 48-yarder in the first quarter.
Kyle Thompson punted 7 times for a 47.6 average.