Well, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Kansas went on the road to play the 17th ranked team in Coastal Carolina, and given KU's struggles against a much weaker opponent last week, this had the potential to be a brutal beatdown.
However, Lance Leipold's Jayhawks came out of the gate with a gameplan and some energy. Though it was obvious last week's run blocking struggles aren't going anywhere soon, coordinator Andy Kotelnicki found ways to pick up chunks of yardage here and there. The opening drive stalled out in Chanticleer territory, but they moved the ball well enough to set up a successful 46 yard field goal attempt by Jacob Borcila, and Kansas had a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Coastal quickly responded, taking a lead by scoring a touchdown in just five plays, but the Jayhawks put together a nice drive of their own. They took over six minutes off the clock and true freshman Devin Neal capped it off with his first collegiate score. The extra point was blocked, but Kansas held a 9-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was a bit worse. Coastal put together a touchdown drive to get back on top, and the Jayhawks had a punt blocked into the endzone on their ensuing drive. The resulting touchdown put CC on top 21-9. Following a 3-and-out, the Chanticleers quickly pushed their lead to 28-9. However, Kansas found an answer as Jason Bean turned on the jets to run it in from 34 yards out, and KU went into halftime down "only" 28-15.
At the half, KU had already put up 197 yards and despite some expected and continuing issues on both sides of the ball, looked definitively better than they had a week ago.
Following halftime, the Jayhawks forced their first 3 and out of the night. Just three plays later Bean came up big again with a 46 yard touchdown run, and suddenly we had a football game on our hands, with KU cutting the lead to 28-22.
Unfortunately, this time the defense didn't hold. Coastal moved the ball down the field with ease, and with 8:37 left in the 3rd, KU was down 35-22. An unfortunate drop by Velton Gardner on 4th-and-short prevented Kansas from responding despite getting the ball near the red zone on the next possession. That would pretty much do it for KU's hopes of keeping this a tight contest. Coastal punched in a touchdown less than a minute into the 4th quarter, and took a commanding 42-22 lead.
The Chanticleers added one more score to cover the spread (thanks guys!) and make it 49-22 with less than five minutes remaining. Jalon Daniels would come in to lead Kansas on their final drive. After taking the Jayhawks down into the red zone, the possession came to an end with a sack on fourth down, and the Jayhawks fell on the road 49-22.
Jason Bean was far and away the player of the game for Kansas, passing for 189 yards, rushing for 102 more, and accounting for two scores without turning the ball over. His accuracy continues to be a work in progress however, as he completed just 12 of 25 attempts. Still, his speed and vision when he pulls the ball down continue to be the best source of offense this team has.
Devin Neal led the running backs in carries with 11, though he could only pick up 40 yards as the offensive line continues to struggle mightily in giving runners any type of lane to work with. Kwame Lassiter was the top receiver with seven catches for 85 yards, while Kyron Johnson, Kenny Logan and Ricky Thomas tied for the team lead with seven total tackles apiece.
Even though the game was not close in the end (and they even failed to cover the spread) this Kansas team looked more organized and confident than they did in squeaking by FCS South Dakota last week. There's still a very long way to go before this team is competitive at a Power-5 level, but the improvement was visible between weeks one and two, so there's something to be happy with coming out of this loss.
Kansas, now 1-1, plays their first Big 12 opponent of the year next week with a home game against Baylor on Saturday. At the time of this writing, Baylor is 1-0 after an unimpressive win over Texas State last week; the Bears will host Texas Southern on Saturday.