Over the last 25-30 years, it hasn’t been much of a showdown when the two sunflower state teams have come together. With the exception of the latter portion of the Mark Mangino years (I’m thinking 2004-09, where KU went 4-2 vs KSU), “Sunflower Beatdown” has been a much more accurate descriptor.
Apparently, not even Les Miles can change that.
K-State came into the game missing two of its top three running backs, while top receiver Malik Knowles was playing but hobbled. All Kansas had to do was stop the run. Force K-State to become a passing team. Turns out, that is much easier said than done, as K-State’s lines - offensive and defensive - absolutely dominated KU on Saturday.
Carter Stanley was sacked four times and constantly harassed. Kansas wasn’t able to take shots down the field until the fourth quarter, way too late for it to matter. Pooka Williams was effectively bottled up by the Wildcat front. And defensively, the Jayhawks simply couldn’t get off the field, as K-State’s offensive line repeatedly blew the Jayhawks off the line of scrimmage.
K-State ran the ball 60 times - SIXTY TIMES - at a 5.7 ypc clip as the Wildcats totaled 349 rushing yards. The Wildcats converted 11-17 (64.7%) of their third downs and all five of their red zone opportunities. K-State possessed the ball for just over 38 minutes compared to KU’s 22 minutes.
Even worse, KU possessed the ball for less than five minutes in each of the first and third quarters. That makes it difficult to get a fast start, to say the least. Add in that KU converted just 2-10 (20.0%) third downs and was 0-2 on fourth down, and you have the recipe for disaster.
Out of 11 total possessions, four went either three-and-out or four-and-out, and two were one-play INTs by Stanley. That’s not the kind of production Jayhawk fans expected out of a Brent Dearmon offense.
In the first three quarters (i.e. pre-garbage time), K-State ran nearly twice as many offensive plays as KU, 61 compared to 33, and more than tripled KU’s offensive output, 385 to 123. The Wildcats averaged 6.3 yards per play compared to KU’s 3.7 ypp. I’m not including the fourth quarter because the game was out of reach by then, and while I’m sure K-State didn’t really want KU to put that touchdown on the board, the only thing it really accomplished was skewing the final game numbers so it didn’t look THAT bad.
One more thing to mention: Penalties. K-State came in as (I think) the least penalized team in the Big 12. Officials dropped 11 flags for 113 yards on the Wildcats, and KU declined at least one holding call that would have made those numbers worse. Additionally, K-State had two unsportsmanlike penalties in the first 16 minutes of the game. Read into that what you will, but for me, that says that K-State was the more aggressive team from the get-go.
Make no mistake. This was a butt-kicking from start to finish. KU never gave themselves a chance in this one.
If the Jayhawks fall behind early again, they’ll need to stay within striking distance and win the third quarter.
Despite all that happened, KU was still only down 14 points at halftime - I would call that “striking distance.” But obviously, Kansas did NOT win the third quarter, and any adjustments that were made at halftime - assuming there were some - were not effective.
This was a Kansas offense coming off of back-to-back games of 500+ yards of total offense at 7.5+ yards per play clip - and one of those games was against the
mighty Texas Longhorns. KU literally hasn’t seen an offense like that since 2007-08.
The end result of Saturday is a huge step back for the offense and a Kansas program trying to establish itself under Les Miles.
Uh. Hmm. Yeah, nothing comes to mind. This was bad all over for Kansas. If you’re the AD I guess you could point to the sellout (more on that in the next paragraph). I did learn that the new official capacity for Memorial is 47,000, down from 50,071, I presume due to the Field Goal Club in the north end zone that forced the closure of part of the GA section up there. Official attendance was 47,223.
In its biggest home game in the past 10 years, Kansas came out and laid a turd bigger than Charlie Weis’ decided schematic advantage all over Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The crowd was huge, but was never loud, and was at least 30% K-State fans anyway (if not more). In a game where Kansas needed to come out swinging, it was the Jayhawks who instead got punched in the mouth, and never recovered.
What was that defense? K-State’s QB, Skylar Thompson, continually torched the Jayhawks on the ground, be it a designed run or scrambling away from pressure. KU never spied him on passing downs, and even worse, the Jayhawks looked like they had never seen an option play before. Thompson finished with 131 yards and 3 TDs on just 17 carries, a 7.5 average.
Of course, it wasn’t just Thompson. KU couldn’t stop anyone in white rushing the ball. I’m not sure if it’s a coaching issue or a talent issue - I suppose it’s probably a combination of the two. But Kansas just can’t do anything on defense this year.
Carter Stanley had maybe his worst game as a Jayhawk. He completed just 13-23 passes for 115 yards, but had 2 INTs and was sacked 4 times.
Manny Miles relieved Carter Stanley in the fourth quarter after Carter left with an injury. Miles went 2-3 for 65 yards.
Pooka Williams rushed for 61 yards on 14 carries, a 4.4 average. He had just one reception for 17 yards.
Velton Gardner had 3 carries for 16 yards.
Andrew Parchment led the Jayhawks in receptions with 5 for 49 yards.
Stephon Robinson led the Jayhawks in receiving yards with 62 on 4 receptions.
Daylon Charlot had 4 catches for 49 yards.
Davon Ferguson and Bryce Torneden led the Jayhawks in tackles with 8 apiece.
Codey Cole added 3 tackles, including a sack, a TFL, and a forced fumble.
Liam Jones hit his only field goal attempt, a 34-yarder.
Kyle Thompson hit five punts for a 42.6 average.