You know the old saying: When your opponent wears the colors of their in-state rival, you know you’re in for a good night.
Or something like that.
Your Kansas Jayhawks played a team from Iowa dressed in black, that’s all I really know. Oh, and they won, 28-21. But as you know, there’s always a story behind the numbers. Let’s check it out.
For the second week in a row, the numbers behind the score are eerily similar. Kansas ran 58 offensive plays to Iowa’s 56. KU gained 6.2 yards per play, while the Iowa team gained 5.9 ypp. Each team gained 16 first downs. Kansas was penalized 8 times, Iowa Team just 7 (although their secondary gave off intense vibes of Press Virginia - they can’t call ‘em all, right?).
But the similarities don’t end there. KU possessed the ball for 30:27, while Iowa Team had it for 29:33. Each team converted 6 third down attempts, KU 6-13 and ISU 6-12.
To me, three things made the difference in the game. The obvious number one is the sole turnover of the game, an interception thrown by Iowa Team quarterback
Brock Purdy Rocco Becht that Kansas returned for a touchdown.
Secondly, I noted above that Iowa Team converted 6-12 third down attempts. Five of those conversions were on 3rd-and-6 or longer, and three of THOSE were on 3rd-and-12 or longer. Iowa was just 2-7 on third down in the first half, but went 4-5 in the second half. That kept them in the game, and kept KU from pulling away.
But thirdly, Kansas also kept KU from pulling away. Leading 7-0 late in the first quarter, head coach Lance Leipold elected to attempt a 41-yard field goal on 4th-and-3 after failing to convert on 3rd-and-3. Seth Keller, who was money in the first fives games of the season, has hit on an apparent mid-season slump. To be fair to Keller, he wasn’t exactly put into a position to succeed against OU. Still, hindsight being 20-20, I would have preferred to see Kansas take shots shots at converting the first down there in order to give themselves an opportunity to take a two touchdown lead early in a Big 12 road environment.
Let’s also consider the way the first half ended. With 43 seconds to play in the second quarter, Kansas held a 14-0 lead while facing 4th-and-9 on the Iowa team’s 33-yard line. The common sense play is to pooch punt it and make Iowa Team drive the length of the field for any kind of score before halftime. Instead, Leipold elected to attempt a 50-yard field goal with another kicker, which just happened to be the kid’s second-ever college field goal attempt. It too missed, and the Iowa Team capitalized with a field goal make right before half, creating a window of opportunity for the home team, which allowed them to make a game of it in the second half.
Kansas was able to prevail in the end, however. After the Iowa Team scored to make it 28-21 with 4:53 left in the game, Kansas just simply didn’t give the ball back to them. KU converted a pair of third downs on the final drive of the game, kneeled the clock out after the Iowa Team had used all of its timeouts, and THAT, friends, is something we simply haven’t seen from the Jayhawks in a long, long time.
Get used to it, though. I have a feeling this is just the beginning.
KU’s fourth quarter was, frankly, incredible. The Jayhawks only had two offensive possessions in the quarter and did exactly what they needed to in order to win the game. One possession was one play, an 80-yard bomb, the perfect play call at the perfect time, to give the Jayhawks more breathing room on the scoreboard. And the second possession was the above-mentioned clock-killing drive, which even saw KU recover from a false start penalty on third down, still convert, and simply ice the game.
We really shouldn’t complain too much because he’s winning games, but damn man, the way this coaching staff manages the clock can be... frustrating.
Take your pick between the Iowa Team’s uniforms or the turf. At least on this night, however, it seemed like neither team had the appropriate footwear (unlike 2013).
Jason Bean will go down as a legendary Kansas Jayhawk quarterback. He played maybe the best game of his Kansas career, going 14-23 for 287 yards, 1 TD, and zero INTs. I’m sure all of us would like to see him run more, as he had just 1 yard on 3 attempts, but I wonder how much of that is coaches telling him something along the lines of, “If you get hurt, we’re ducked.” (Editor’s note: Stupid autocorrect.)
Couple of quick bonus Jason Bean stats.
- Bean is now #20 nationally in total QBR, good for third in the Big 12.
- Bean is now tied with Frank Seurer at fifth in passing touchdowns at KU. He needs just 8 more TDs to take over the #2 spot in school history.
- Bean is currently 10th in school history in passing yards, needing just 389 more to pass Bill Whittemore to move up the list.
Devin Neal found tough sledding against a good Iowa Team defense, picking up 57 yards on 21 carries, but scoring 2 TDs in the process.
Daniel Hishaw didn’t fare much better, adding 29 yards on 9 carries.
Lawrence Arnold led all players with 112 yards on just 3 receptions, scoring a TD on an 80-yard pass play in the fourth quarter.
Quentin Skinner added to his highlight reel while hauling in 3 receptions for 84 yards.
Luke Grimm picked up 32 yards on 3 receptions.
Tanaka Scott and Douglas Emilien each had one reception, and each picked up 21 yards with that reception.
Jared Casey had maybe the catch of the night, with his only reception going for 13 yards. Notably, it came on 3rd-and-3, giving KU the first down it needed to kneel out the clock and clinch the win.
Rich Miller led Kansas with 8 tackles with a sack.
Craig Young and Caleb Taylor teamed up for a sack. The sacks by Miller, Young, and Taylor were the first sacks this Iowa Team has allowed at home all season.
Kwinton Lassiter also had 8 tackles.
Kenny Logan was credited with 6 tackles.
Mello Dotson had 3 tackles and the pick-6 INT.
Seth Keller and Owen Piepergerdes each went 0-1 on field goal attempts, with Keller missing from 41 yards and Piepergerdes from 50 yards out.
Damon Greaves hit 3 punts for a 38.7 yard average.