Kansas University was hoping the return of running back Reggie Duncan from a one-game suspension would provide a boost to its rushing attack.
Instead, the ground game continued to be a bust.
The Jayhawks managed a mere 89 yards on 37 rushing attempts while UCLA senior standout DeShaun Foster accounted for 179 yards on 28 carries as the 14th-ranked Bruins blasted KU, 41-17, on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
"It's hard to point fingers at this particular time until you go back and look at the situation," KU coach Terry Allen said. "But we're not running the ball. You've got to look at the people running the ball and blocking."
In their season-opening victory over Southwest Missouri State, the Jayhawks (1-1) rushed 37 times for 102 yards.
Red-shirt freshman quarterback Mario Kinsey, who made his KU debut in the second quarter against UCLA, had 14 carries for 50 yards or 11 more yards than the Jayhawks' five other ball-carriers combined.
Duncan carried the rock 11 times, netting just 16 yards.
"I was frustrated. We couldn't get anything really going. We had three-and-outs, and that really hurt us," Duncan said. "We had spurts, a few yards here and then negative yards. We just need to get everything together."
Actually, the Jayhawks' output would have looked a lot worse if not for back-up fullback Austine Nwabuisi's 24-yard run on an option play in the fourth quarter.
"I don't think it's the scheme," sophomore starting quarterback Zach Dyer said. "We have a good scheme. There's nothing really magical or fancy about running the ball. You put a guy on a guy and that's the way it is. They didn't have too many people in the box. I don't think we were overmanned, but I really don't know.
"I guess we'll just have to take a look."
Perhaps even more painful for the Jayhawks than watching the rushing attack falter was seeing senior wide receiver Harrison Hill standing on the sideline in street clothes and his left arm in a sling.
Harrison, one of the Jayhawks co-captains, broke the scapula in his left shoulder during a 15-yard punt return less than two minutes into the game. He is expected to be out at least 4-6 weeks.
"My first reaction was that he'd be OK," fellow senior wideout Roger Ross said of Hill. "But after they said he had a broken collarbone or something, I was like, 'Ohh,' and I was kind of hurt.
"Then I realized I've got to step up. I've got to make some plays. I've got to do something."
Ross made as much happen as anybody else, finishing with seven catches for 87 yards both game-highs. One of the Jayhawks' longest gains was Ross' 24-yard grab for Kinsey's first career completion. Kinsey also had touchdown runs of two yards and one yard.
Kansas' defense surrendered 268 total yards and 285 rushing yards, but it had a handful of highlights, too. Thanks to assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Tom Hayes' new schemes, KU had three sacks and forced four fumbles, swiping three of them.
"That's the thing on defense, we play with speed," said junior linebacker Leo Etienne, who led the team in tackles for the second straight game with 11. "We play with a lot of speed, toughness and we're smart out there. That's what coach Hayes emphasizes, speed on defense."
Senior linebacker Algie Atkinson also continued to sizzle with a sack and two forced fumbles. He had two sacks and forced a fumble in the season opener.
"We were doing the best we could," Atkinson said of the effort. "We were put in some bad situations out there. We stopped them and held them to three points on numerous occasions. But eventually fatigue came into play."
The Jayhawks opened the scoring when freshman kicker Johnny Beck remained perfect at KU, drilling a 52-yard field goal. But UCLA (2-0) scored 27 unanswered points before KU stopped the bleeding on Kinsey's two-yard draw play with 39 seconds remaining in the half.
By game's end, the Bruins earned almost twice as many first downs (29-16) and almost twice as many total yards (468-245) as KU and owned a marked advantage in time of possession (35:39 to 24:21).
"We just can't let ourselves get down," Etienne said. "That's just one loss. We've got a long season ahead of us. We haven't even entered our conference games yet. We've got to make up for the mistakes that we did.
"We know what we need to do so we've just got to go back to the drawing board."
The Jayhawks also hope they can continue to draw fans after an estimated crowd of 43,500 witnessed the setback.
"We missed an opportunity today," Allen said. "We had a great turnout, it was a lot of fun there early and we would have liked to have been able to continue that atmosphere to get people to come back. The ones that came, we certainly appreciate that. Hopefully we can have another opportunity because we have a really good football team.
"Hopefully the people will come back next week and hopefully we can give them more of a reward by a better fight."
KU will play host to Wyoming on Saturday. Kickoff once again is at 11:30 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.