Now THAT’S what I call offense!
The Jayhawks absolutely exploded Saturday night in Austin under new OC Brent Dearmon. Kansas matched Texas blow for blow for four full quarters, but after converting a ballsy two-point conversion to take a late lead, left the Longhorns just enough time to come back the other way for the game winning field goal.
Despite being a 21-point underdog, it ended up being a crushing loss for a Jayhawk program looking for a statement win in conference play under first-year head coach Les Miles.
Miles To Go, indeed, but in so many ways, it was also a program-building loss. Take it from the big man himself:
Never let a heartbreaking loss get you down. Learn from it. Use it for motivation! Hence, better days ahead! #beentheredonethat— Mark Mangino (@KeepSawinWood) October 20, 2019
He of all people should know.
However, as you’ll see in a bit, as good as the offense was, the defense was just as bad. And the special teams - yikes. Due to kicking woes, Kansas left at least 9 points on the field, and an argument could be made for more due to a couple of bad (or perhaps mishandled) shotgun snaps.
And that was the most disappointing thing to come out of Saturday night. Kansas could have - and perhaps should have - won this game by two scores. But, it wasn’t meant to be, as KU just isn’t quite there yet. 10 years of Gill+Weis+Beaty will do that to a program. So for now, Texas can go on pretending like they’re “back” (even though they really haven’t gone anywhere).
Kansas averaged 6.6 yards per play on the night. Texas was able to make some halftime adjustments to what KU was doing, as the Jayhawks averaged 7.5 yards per play in the first half compared to a hair over 5.9 yards per play in the second half.
Meanwhile, Texas averaged 7.5 yards per play for the game, which included 6.5 yards per play in the first half and a whopping 8.5 yards per play in the second half.
Kansas finally found some success on third downs in this game. At one point, the Jayhawks were 9-14 (64.2%) on third down midway through the fourth quarter of the game. However, Kansas would convert just once more to finish 10-19 (52.6%). Unfortunately, the Kansas defense had difficulty containing Texas QB Sam Ehlinger, who scrambled for 5 third-down conversions, including an eight-yard rush on 3rd-and-6 on the game-winning drive, as UT converted a total of 9-14 (64.2%).
Kansas converted both of its fourth down attempts, while Texas was just 1-3 in that department.
KU came up with the only turnovers of the game, an INT and a fumble recovery. The Jayhawks put the ball on the turf a couple of times themselves, but were fortunate enough to come up with the ball both times.
Overall, Kansas checked off nearly every box needed for an upset, just like this very smart writer predicted (and gets no credit for).
The Jayhawks will need to have success on third downs, both offensively and defensively.
Check for one, no check for the second.
They’ll probably need a positive turnover margin.
And they’ll need the Texas defenders to tackle like they did last week against OU - that is, not at all.
I want lots of Pooka Williams in space, and I want to see the ball thrown down the field...
UT’s offense should find some success against this KU defense - especially with LB Dru Prox still unavailable - but the Kansas offense should also find some success against this Texas defense.
I look for lots of points in this one in a fun, up-and-down game. However, it’s difficult to go all-in and predict a Kansas victory.
Man, that guy pretty much #NailedIt, although he forgot the box for special teams play. More on that shortly.
Holy offense, Batman! Now that was fun to see. True, Texas isn’t great on defense - they had the #67 defense per S&P+ coming in (and surely that will drop?) - but Kansas went up and down the field almost at will throughout the game. After punting nine times - NINE TIMES - against TCU, Kyle Tucker only saw the field three times on Saturday night.
Defense gets the nod here. It started off OK - and by that I truly mean OK. Not good. Not necessarily bad. But just OK. As noted above, Texas averaged 6.5 yards per play in the first half. The Longhorns turned the ball over on downs twice - both times on 4th-and-2, which means KU got penetration and pressure on those downs. But Texas didn’t punt in the second half while averaging 8.5 yards per play. Definitely not good, aka, bad.
I hate calling out college players who are (probably) not getting paid, so I’ll do my best to avoid that here and just say special teams. I mean, that was wow-worthy. Three kickoffs out of bounds. Two missed field goals, including a block. One PAT blocked and returned for two points. It’s a team effort, the blocks aren’t (necessarily) the fault of the kicker. The Jayhawks left a minimum of nine points on the field, meaning they could have easily won this game by two scores.
Carter Stanley is my quarterback. He’s your quarterback. And much like today’s politics, if you don’t like it, you best shut it, because any more “Carter Stanley can’t X” or “Carter Stanley isn’t Y” will get you suspended from this fine website. Don’t test me.
Oh yeah, this is the stats section. Stanley was 27-47 for 310 yards and 4 TDs. He took just one sack while adding 74 rushing yards on just 9 carries. He completed this pass. He also did this, and he did this. He is currently on pace to have the second-best QBR season at Kansas since 2004. All hail King Stanley.
Pooka Williams will be a Heisman dark horse before he leaves Lawrence (assuming Dearmon sticks around). @ me all you want if you want to be wrong in public about this. Pooka had 196 rushing yards on 25 carries, a 7.6 average. He also added 25 receiving yards on 4 receptions.
Torry Locklin came in for two snaps and ran two “Wildcat” formation running plays that were... puzzling in nature for a variety of reasons. He was credited with two rushing yards on those two carries.
Velton Gardner frequently spelled Pooka, but had just one rush for no gain and two receptions for 8 yards. I think opposing defensive coordinators are probably going to pick up on that (i.e., when Pooka is out, it’s a pass play).
Stephon Robinson led the Jayhawks in receptions with 7 that went for 67 yards and 2 TDs.
Andrew Parchment had some ankle issues throughout the game but led KU with 83 receiving yards on just 3 receptions with a TD.
Kwamie Lassiter added 66 yards on 5 receptions.
Daylon Charlot had a ho-hum 47 yards on 3 receptions, unless you consider that one of those receptions was SportsCenter’s #1 Top Play from Saturday.
Takulve Williams found the end zone on his only reception, a 7-yard TD toss from Stanley.
Liam Jones was 2-4 on field goals, missing from 46 yards and having a 37-yard attempt blocked. His makes came from 23 and 46 yards. However, as mentioned above, he also hit three of his nine kickoffs out of bounds vs two touchbacks, and was 4-5 on PATs, with a block returned for two points by Texas.
Gavin Potter led Kansas in tackles with 9, including 1.5 sacks and 2.5 TFL.
Bryce Torneden added 8 tackles to go along with a fumble recovery.
Azur Kamara had 7 tackles, was credited with a half-sack, and 1.5 TFL.
Hasan Defense added 7 tackles and a PBR.
Mike Lee had 5 tackles, a forced fumble, and a couple more “Hit Stick” highlight plays to add to the reel.
Najee Stevens-McKenzie had four tackles to go along with an INT.
Kyle Thompson hit just 3 punts for a 38.3 average, two of which were downed inside the 20.