After a terrible first quarter that could have gone way worse on the scoreboard, followed by a spirited second quarter that kept things close through halftime, Kansas looked like it was on its way to competing with Baylor.
That is, until Baylor’s first play of the third quarter, which went for 69 yards and a TD. Then Kansas went 3-and-out (again) and Baylor drove right back down the field to take a 28-7 lead. The stands began to empty out at that point, and shortly after Baylor went up 35-7 early in the 4th quarter is when I’m guessing the image above was taken.
By all statistical indications, Baylor should have had a much larger lead at intermission than 14-7. The first quarter was a complete disaster for KU. The Bears held the ball for over 11 minutes and outgained the Jayhawks 159 yards to -8. That’s right, negative eight. The Bears converted two 4th downs while averaging nearly 8 yards per play. However, Baylor penalties plus a turnover helped the Jayhawks keep the game close where it matters - on the scoreboard.
As they tend to do, things evened out over the rest of the game everywhere except, you guessed it, the scoreboard. And by evened out, what I really mean is, the scoreboard finally began to reflect the dominance that was being recorded in the stat book. KU couldn’t get anything going offensively in the second half, and Baylor eventually turned its statistical domination into a blowout victory.
Out of 11 possessions (not counting the “possession” before halftime), KU went three-and-out six times. That’s, uh, not good, just in case you were wondering, and is giving me flashbacks to the David Beaty regime. Related, if anyone knows where I can get average down and distance stats for Kansas (or college football?) in general let me know in the comments below. Otherwise I have to calculate it myself by going through drive charts and that just seems like a giant time suck (that a dad of two toddlers doesn’t really have).
The reason I ask about that is because, I have a feeling that KU just isn’t doing very well on first down. It stands to reason that long second downs make for longer third downs, and of course, the farther you have to go on third down, the less likely you are to convert.
I said in the preview that everything would have to go right for KU to even have a chance; obviously, that did not happen. While the Jayhawks won the turnover battle, they didn’t get off the field on third (or fourth) down defensively, and the offense couldn’t convert on those downs either. Baylor literally did whatever they wanted both offensively and defensively as they controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, eventually outgaining Kansas 576-169.
For the game, Baylor finished at 8.3 yards per play, while KU went for just 3.3 ypp. KU could not run or pass the ball, averaging 3.4 yards per carry and 3.2 yards per pass attempt. In what is turning into a recurring theme, KU running backs averaged just 2.2 ypc, as KU’s best offense was Jason Bean scrambling or keeping on the read-option.
Kansas converted just 3-12 (25.0%) third down attempts, and was 0-1 on fourth down. Baylor, however, converted 6-11 (54.5%) on third down and was 2-2 on fourth.
KU finally committed its first turnover of the season, a fumble by RB Amauri Pesek-Hickson late in the fourth quarter when the game was already decided. However, prior to that, the Jayhawks recovered two Baylor fumbles, which helped keep the scoreboard respectable for longer than it probably should have been.
Jason Bean is quickly establishing himself as the only reason to tune into Kansas football this fall.
Unfortunately, there are so many options to pick from here my head is spinning. We’ll give one nod to the offensive line and another to the defensive line, both of whom were dominated, but particularly to the offensive line as once again, KU’s running backs had absolutely nothing to work with throughout the afternoon.
Related, talk about Baylor and the amount of upper-classmen or super-seniors all you want. The fact is, the Bears were picked to finish 8th in the Big 12 in the preseason media poll. Kansas was just completely blasted by a team most people consider to be in the bottom third of the league. In the preview, I called this a barometer game, and this outcome seemingly confirms what most of us have talked about throughout fall camp. Kansas still has a long way to go to be regularly competitive with even the bottom of its conference - “regularly” being the key word here, as there’s seemingly a fluke game once a year.
Yes, things were exacerbated by the timing of the hiring of Leipold and the fact that they had to install a new offense and defense over the summer without the benefit of spring ball. But now we really have a measuring stick as to just how far Kansas has to go to catch up. By all indications, if KU is going to win another game this year, it better come next week at Duke, because the Big 12 schedule could get pretty rough.
Jason Bean started and did what he does. While he completed just 8-17 passes for 57 yards and a TD, he added 65 rush yards on 12 carries and most importantly, didn’t turn the ball over.
Jalon Daniels and Miles Kendrick both saw time in the fourth quarter. According to Leipold in the postgame, there was no issue with Bean, just that the game was out of reach and he wanted to reward guys farther down the depth chart with some playing time. Daniels was the only one to attempt a pass, and it fell incomplete.
Devin Neal led KU RBs in carries and yards, going for 33 yards on 10 carries.
Amauri Pesek-Hickson had 4 carries for 12 yards, but lost a fumble.
Velton Gardner and Torry Locklin each had just two carries apiece.
Luke Grimm led KU in receiving with just 25 yards on two receptions.
Kwamie Lassiter had two catches for 14 yards.
Mason Fairchild added 3 receptions for 13 yards.
Trevor Wilson had just one catch for five yards. He added 14 rush yards on one carry. I’d really like to see KU put an emphasis on getting him the ball more.
Kenny Logan led the Jayhawks with 8 tackles. He did not get a chance to return any kicks, but did force a fumble.
Gavin Potter added 7 tackles.
OJ Burroughs had 5 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Ra’Mello Dotson had 3 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Reis Vernon punted 8 times with a 47.0 average.