A valiant effort.
12 yards short.
These phrases were all printed by one publication or another in headlines following the Kansas-West Virginia game on Saturday afternoon.
And considering BC last week and what we’re about to look at regarding WVU this week, I don’t think they’re necessarily wrong. I do plan to take a look in the next day or two at the state of Kansas football, and whether or not I agree with the seemingly prevailing opinion of “Progress!” After all, we’ve been duped before, so it’s fair to ask if it’s happening again or is it for real?
Kansas certainly played the part of an improved team on Saturday. Coming off a stunning win at Boston College, Kansas once again played good enough offense to go along with good enough defense, giving themselves a chance to win the game.
KU got a bit unlucky with turnovers, with a Carter Stanley fumble (that I think should have been ruled an incomplete forward pass) and a Stanley INT, which, credit to the WVU defender who made a great play on the ball. It probably wasn’t the smartest throw, but I love Stanley’s confidence in his ability, and shucks, the dude made a heckuva grab. The Jayhawk defense didn’t force any turnovers, so Kansas finished -2 in that department, which likely decided the game, because...
Kansas won just about everywhere else besides Time of Possession. The Kansas defense was on the field for 37:41, while the KU offense held the ball for just 22:19. Even worse, consider this: Kansas held the ball for just 9:58 in the entire second half. This led to West Virginia running nearly twice as many plays than Kansas - 85 to 56.
Despite running 29 plays more than the Jayhawks, WVU was outgained by Kansas 417 to 394. KU averaged 8.1 yards per play to WVU’s 4.6. And check out this stat from Jesse Newell:
KU gained >7 yards per play and allowed <5 to WVU. College football teams that have done that are 73-2 this season. KU and Iowa State (vs Iowa) are the only teams to lose.)
Kansas only had one drive in the first half go longer than four plays, and for the game only 4 of 12 drives went longer than four plays. That’s OK if you’re scoring touchdowns, but instead Kansas punted. A lot. Five times, to be exact, as nearly half of their possessions ended with a punt.
West Virginia converted 9-18 (50.0%) third downs and was 0-1 on fourth down. Kansas converted 4-10 (40.0%) on third down and did not attempt a fourth down conversion.
One other thing to mention is field position, which was an issue in the second half for Kansas. On average, West Virginia began their second half drives on their own 44, while Kansas averaged its own 24-yard line.
I was actually impressed with the defense on Saturday. If not for a questionable pass interference call, Kansas probably wins that game? I think the defense is legit. West Virginia’s longest play from scrimmage was a 30-yard run by Leddie Brown; only one other play went for more than 18 yards. This is a West Virginia squad that just put up 44 points on NC State. Also consider that Coastal Carolina, KU’s week 2 opponent, has scored 108 points in their last two games.
Kansas took an entire half to adjust its offensive strategy, and it may have cost the Jayhawks a victory here.
This used to be a lot easier when we were losing games by 40+. In fact - I don’t even know what to put here from this game unless you want to complain about the officiating. I have three complaints: 1) That wasn’t pass interference, 2) Josh Norwood should have been ejected for that helmet to helmet hit, and 3) Why didn’t they review the “fumble” by Carter Stanley?
If you want to call me ugly for complaining about officiating that’s fine, I’ll take it. At this point, I’m just happy that it seems to matter and make a difference in the outcome of a game, rather than lose by 40.
Carter Stanley - that’s MY quarterback. He completed 19-25 passes for 275 yards and 3 TDs. He also scrambled for 47 yards on 8 carries. He did have the one INT, but again, credit to the WVU player for a great play on the ball.
Pooka Williams had a decent game but never really broke loose. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry, finishing with 79 yards on 15 attempts.
Khalil Herbert had just 7 carries and picked up 27 yards.
Andrew Parchment hauled in 5 passes for 132 yards and 2 TDs, including a huge 7-yard strike from Carter Stanley in the third quarter.
Stephon Robinson had 5 receptions for 48 yards.
Daylon Charlot pulled in 4 catches for 52 yards.
Kwamie Lassiter had 3 grabs for 45 yards.
Mike Lee blew up player after player for West Virginia on his way to 9 tackles.
Dru Prox had another big game with 9 tackles and a sack.
Hasan Defense and Bryce Torneden each had 6 tackles.
Liam Jones nailed his only field goal attempt, a 23-yarder.
Kyle Thompson booted five punts for a 38.2 yard average.