It might not have been pretty, but it was certainly entertaining especially if you like the strength of your heart tested. The Jayhawks sent the Hawkeyes back to their cornfields with a second consecutive loss and their first to the Jayhawks since 2014. The AP pollsters corrected their mistake from last week and ranked the Jayhawks 19th after last week’s numbers 16, 17, 18, 21, and 24 ranked teams all lost.
Unlike some of the previous weeks when it was all sunshine and roses and only sunshine pumping, there was plenty to hold out both positive and negative. Below is what I picked out, let me know what you had in your stock up, down, and neutral this week.
Kenny has been grinding out solid performances all season. He is the second leading tackler on the team. Saturday Kenny brought the hammer and announced his presence with authority. He made two great tackles late in the game and, of course, the pass defense in the end zone to prevent an Iowa State touchdown, forcing a field goal. He saved four points in a game won by 3.
What a pick! He met the ball at the highest point he could and set up the second and final score of the day for the Jayhawks. A score Cobee and the defense made hold up for the win.
This week when made my Big 12 picks I made the point the defense has met every challenge presented to it. Once in OT to seal a victory after a ragged effort in regulation. The next week they held down a Houston team most consider a top 25 to 30 team in the country at the time. Against Duke, the effort was again ragged but effective. This week they were the reason KU won the game. Yes, the Iowa State kicker missed 3 field goal attempts, but the defense forced him to attempt them. They did not give up touchdowns in those three cases and only gave up one touchdown on the day. Bend but do not break.
The Jayhawks have not punted a great deal this season, and when they have it feels like Reis has been better than last year, though I am not sure the stats bear that out. On Saturday, Reis had a stellar day with two punts downed inside the 10, one at the 7 and one at the 1-foot line. The punt to the seven precipitated Cobee’s pick and Jalon’s subsequent touchdown.
They were at the stadium early. They cheered loudly the entire game. They were all there at the end. If fan support makes a difference, and I believe it does, the fans had a hand in winning the game Saturday. If they were anything like me they were exhausted and looking forward to nursing their voices back into shape on Sunday and into Monday when they made their way out of the stadium.
Tico Sports Midwest
I took and passed three semesters of Spanish in college. I am in no way fluent and never claimed to be. Going forward if I find the need to follow a game via a radio-like broadcast, I may trade in Brian Hanni for the Tico Sports announcer. I may not know exactly what is happening, but if it is good for the Jayhawks I will know through the sheer excitement the announcer brings. I have shared these two highlights before and I share them again here because they are so good.
Offensive Play Calling
After the game, Lance put up a mild and fairly weak defense of the decision to not go for first down on a couple of fourth downs. It worked out, but the decisions were probably not the correct ones. Additionally, what was happening with what seemed to be an overreliance on straight-run plays? It seemed like what had become the strength of the offense, a modern-day triple option look that includes a pass option was almost completely abandoned. After 4 games of terrific offensive play calling, this game set off a few distant alarm bells.
Maybe this is unfair, but I am growing concerned. From 33 yards and in, Jacob is money. He has made short field goals (33 and 22 yards) and all his PATs this season. From 50 yards he is bankrupt, he has missed both attempts from that distance this season. At this point, he either needs to start making some longer kicks, say 45 yards and in, or Liepold needs to start looking at other options. Not necessarily another kicker, but maybe just going for a first down on fourth down more often.
Forget about the respect of AP voters, how about some respect from the officials at the Big 12 conference headquarters? KU is the hottest thing the conference has going right now, playing a game that will pull in more than just Big 12 eyeballs. What officiating crew do they give us? Arguably the worst officiating crew in the conference headed by Kevin Mar, come on. Maybe next week.
He was stock up last week and probably would have been this week, but an injury keeping you out for multiple weeks wipes a lot out. Nothing more to say except I hope he recovers quickly.
FBS Coaching Carousel
Another week and two more coaches were fired. Unfortunately for Jayhawk fans, the new opening at Wisconsin comes with either real or imagined ties to Lance Leipold.