Saturday, September 16, 2006

Not Rocket science

Jayhawks can't find way to win in Toledo


— Kansas University's football team skipped shooting itself in the foot and just went straight for the heart.

Victory was within KU's fingertips at the Glass Bowl on Friday, but the Jayhawks proved more than once they didn't deserve to take it. Eventually, Kansas lost to Toledo, 37-31 in two overtimes, when Jalen Parmele broke several tackles and finished the game with a 25-yard touchdown run.

Toledo's players stormed the field, and KU's were left in shock at how ineffective it could be in the clutch.

"If you turn the ball over six times in a game," KU coach Mark Mangino said, "you deserve to lose."

It was actually five, but a devastating turnover in the first overtime could probably count as two. After KU's defense stopped the Rockets from getting any points in the first overtime, the Jayhawks (2-1) needed only a field goal to get the victory - and they started the possession within kicker Scott Webb's range.

But a muffed handoff between quarterback Kerry Meier and running back Jon Cornish resulted in a fumble that Toledo recovered. The Kansas victory - on the table and ready to be eaten - vanished in a stunning instant.

"It hit my hip," Cornish said. "I wasn't expecting him to hand it off."

Cornish said the call was for a run, and Mangino confirmed that the play call was "basic." But the most critical error in a game full of them swung the pendulum the other way.

"The way he handed it off," Cornish said, "it felt like a fake."

Kansas couldn't answer to the big blunder, as Meier threw an interception in the second overtime, his fourth pick of the night. Add to it multiple dropped passes, eight penalties worth 82 yards and not one takeaway by KU's defense, a disaster was imminent. It just took some extra football to get finalized.

The blunders dampered periodic bright spots among KU's team. Cornerback Aqib Talib returned from suspension and played well, breaking up a pass in the end zone during the first overtime. KU's defense held Toledo to 28 total yards and no first downs in the second half. And the Jayhawks did have 391 yards of total offense, though consistency was a problem for the second straight week.

Go figure

0 Toledo first downs in the second half 2 Number of safeties - one by each team 3 Touchdown catches for Marcus Henry this season 5 KU turnovers - two of which came in overtime

Also lost was Meier's refusal to get rattled, particularly after his third interception was returned 84 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, putting Toledo up 31-23. Meier came out the next possession and led a nine-play, 69-yard drive that culminated with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Dexton Fields with 3:55 to play. Meier then kept an option and dove into the end zone for a game-tying two-point conversion.

A glimpse of a great quarterback was there. But ugly examples of youth and inexperience sprouted up soon after.

"The game was a learning experience for Kerry," Mangino said. "He just has to learn to handle the ball more carefully."

Meier was 23-of-41 passing for 243 yards and two touchdowns. He complemented his arm with 57 yards rushing, second to Cornish's 89 yards on 20 carries.

Cornish seemed to be keyed on throughout much of the game, and that stopped his streak of consecutive 100-yard rushing games at three.

Audio clip

Mark Mangino talks about the Jayhawks' 37-31 double overtime loss to Toledo

"Teams don't like me," Cornish said. "They don't want me to get yards."

Kansas has eight days to sit in the soreness that Friday's loss brought, before tangling with South Florida on Sept. 23 at Memorial Stadium.

The "road dog" mentality KU tried to bring to Toledo had bite, but it had too much carelessness to go with it.

"We're going to have to learn some things, look at all the things we did wrong and make sure we correct them," said linebacker Mike Rivera, who had a team-high eight tackles. "We've still got a lot of games left. A lot of opportunities left."


jayloco 11 years, 9 months ago

It would be far too easy to just say the Jayhawks played bad last night. 5 turnovers, stupid penalties, the crucial turnover in 1st OT, all were pretty big. The biggest thing I saw was Meier's need to learn to look off his receivers! Way too many times he focused on his main target and no one else. Still, you gotta love this guy's ability to shake bad plays off and come back with a vengeance. WR's-help your young QB out and make plays! I thought the biggest play of regulation was the past deep in our own territory. Can't remember the WR, but he had to jump a little for Meier's pass and then did not catch it. It fell softly into a defenders hand who proceeded to take it to our 10. Huge turn with us up 6. Overall, the game had an eerie feel. Maybe I am a Homer, but we dominated that game. It is a typical loss for a young team on the road. Not our night, but I was encouraged by the Hawks performance at times. I just don't think the road is going to be kind this year!

Displayhawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Just another example of the Jayhawks snatching defeat from the jaws of victory! There is no way KU should have lost that game! And you can't blame it all on Kerry Meier either. One interception was basically a short punt, and one should have been caught by Marcus Henry, but instead gave them great field position! Kyle Tucker shanks one at the worst possible time!
.....And don't they teach how to tackle anymore??? I was always taught to "wrap up and drive". Not the bowling ball approach that Deion Sanders made famous. All in all, a very disappointing loss!

Displayhawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Is Jake Sharp hurt??? They ave already burned the red-shirt, why not play him and let them try and deal with his speed??? With Meier, Sharp and Cornish, I would implement some wishbone sets and let the defense try and figure out which of the three is going to run it. It sure seemed like Derek Fine and Marcus Herford were the only receivers who knew how to catch the ball. They should be rewarded with more playing time. Even though he scored a touchdown, Dexton Fields has not impressed me at all! Marcus Henry shows flashes, but our receivers have got to step up!

hawkeye 11 years, 9 months ago

Well thank God KU is building those two new practice fields by the stadium. I'm sure that throwing a huge sum of money at the problem will solve everything.

Jarod DeLozier 11 years, 9 months ago

Nothing was pathetic. I certainly wasn't impressed by any means, but I would not say pathetic. We did not execute. Playcalling was good, they had 28 yards of offense in the 2nd half! Meier gambles, and when you gamble, you're going to win some and lose some. As he matures, he will begin to win more. The receivers do have to learn to catch the ball though. That was probably the most disappointing aspect I saw.

baceman 11 years, 9 months ago

Coaching..... It comes down to coaching. Two points......First, Meier needs somebody to tell this guy he cannot stare down his primary receiver everytime. If I'm a safety I'm going to pick this guy off just about every time. Scan the field or at least look at a second option to keep the secondary off balance.

Second, Coach loves to play conservative clock management to prevent unnecessary turnovers. We've seen it since he's been here and we saw it at the end of regulation when he burned the last 1:21 of clock. Why, why, why do we not kick a field goal in the first overtime when our defense just stopped Toledo from scoring? Wouldn't that have been conservative play to prevent a turnover? I could see that one coming......

mrkuwick 11 years, 9 months ago

Did anyone else think tha Meier hurt his shoulder or arm after the touchdown drive? He came off the field and he seemed llike he couldn't lift his right arm up. On the next series after the touchdown, his hand-offs were tenative, and the screen pass he under threw was anemic. In the overtime, another pass was short. It appeared that he just couldn't throw the ball with full power. Then the fumbled hand-off to Cornish. It looked like he couldn't even lift his arm high enough to make the hand-off.

jhyphene 11 years, 9 months ago

I agree, think KU was outcoached. Maybe Mangino should join Toledo's coach with some foam sword fighting to learn the concept of "attack." (Sidenote: I thought the ESPN commentary sucked.)

Derek King 11 years, 9 months ago

Because our kicker is Scott Webb, and it would have been a 42-yard attempt. He's hitting at a 62% cilp, so he's hardly Vinatieri. Besides, is it really too much to ask the QB and RB to negotiate a simple handoff?

admills 11 years, 9 months ago

Does any other school in the nation pay $1.5 million for such mediocrity? 39% win rate and now 3-18 on the road. How much would a coach with a winning record cost? Can we afford it?

Oh yeah, would we pay $1.5 million for Bill Self to go 3-18 on the road and win 39% of the time?

bg_duck1 11 years, 9 months ago

What we need to do is just run the freaking ball!!! And then after that we need to run the freaking ball some more!!! we have a qb who can run, a great tailback that can run, and some fast other runners on the sidelines (sharp) so lets just run it more and pass when we need to instead of that stupid wr screen we run every other play. keep running the option, just b/c everyone else runs a spread offense and throws it all the time doesn't mean we have to also. Run the freaking ball!!! and i agree that was the D team ESPN sent to toledo, my little sister could swing that foam sword harder than the nerd doing the play-by-play sheeesh!

CougIsLJW 11 years, 9 months ago

"Well thank God KU is building those two new practice fields by the stadium. I'm sure that throwing a huge sum of money at the problem will solve everything."

You're an idiot.

JJHawq 11 years, 9 months ago

i love how cornish throws kerry under the bus on the botched hand-off in ot.

maybe you should make sure the ball is in there, jon. probably a good time to be a little extra careful....

especially when you have a freshman qb and it's ot with the game yours to take.

i guess he's working on his political skills already by blaming someone else instead of himself.

pizzashuttle 11 years, 9 months ago

The offensive gameplan was inappropriate for the personnel and experience on KU's football team and resulted in a humiliating loss. They had a freshman QB playing his first road game so they should have minimized the passing, especially when KM started throwing interceptions. Since the running game is a strength they also should have called more running plays on first down so KM didn't have 3rd and long so often which put more pressure on him to complete longer passes. They need to build up the freshman QB's confidence instead of putting him in a position to fail. This loss goes on the coaches for using an ineffective gameplan.

oldvet 11 years, 9 months ago

4 things...

Work on Meier's looking at receivers...

Don't let Meier throw deep unless we are ahead by 21+... when he throws deep he underthrows and sets up interceptions...

Rush 4 or even blitz on 3rd and long... the QBs we have seen have not been effective when rushed and harried, but we rush 3 and let them set up and hit somebody for the 1st down... aaarrrggghhhhh!!!

Basics.... TACKLE!!!

seattlehawk_78 11 years, 9 months ago

Maybe Mangino is going to have to start trying field goals on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd downs instead of risking turnovers. They were in field goal range on the interception returned for a touchdown. If they had kicked a field goal before that play they would have won in regulation 34 - 24. Same thing in OT. Kick a field goal on first down before you fumble it and the game is over. Mind you this is all convenient hindsight but so are all the posts about Mangino's coaching.

Seriously, in a game this close you could point to any number of plays that cost them the game. I don't think it's fair to put the blame on Meier's shoulders. Toledo made a number of bad passes some of which could have been intercepted. There were some very stupid penalties committed and too many dropped passes. That tip by Henry that resulted in an interception and ultimate touchdown was catchable and Cornish is at least partially responsible for the fumble. One of Meier's interceptions was nothing more than a punt and was harmless so I think the four int's is a bit misleading. This kid's got game and ultimately I think he will win more than he loses. He's still a freshman and still learning. Show some patience for Christ sake, this loss is disappointing but not that devastating.

tdub 11 years, 9 months ago

We throw the ball on 3rd and short late in the game when in field goal range to take the lead!?!?!? We run the clock out in regulation to "take our chances in overtime" on the friggin road!?!?!?!? $1.5 million worth of crappy coaching and counting.

CasperCorps 11 years, 9 months ago

I agree on the run, run, run, comment. The QB will be good eventually but until then..... run. The best example is to watch how the San Diego Chargers use their rookie QB.....All he is expected to do is manage the game not win it...

OmahaKUAlum 11 years, 9 months ago

I agree, our gameplan was not the greatest. With a young QB making his first start on the road, start simple and let the game come to him. Hand the ball of to Cornish and run some short passing routes...let him build some confidence before letting him throw it downfield. The four interceptions are disappointing, and the fumble was the fault of both Meier and Cornish. But Meier needs to learn quickly, or it's going to be a long season. It's not going to take long for every defense to pack 8 men in the box to stop the run and short screen passes. Meier needs to learn to look off his receivers or he'll soon be averaging 4 interceptions a game! Our receivers need to improve as well...if the ball hits you in the hands, you better damn well catch it! This game was very frustrating to watch...we dominated by the numbers, but no team will win on the road (or at home) when you're minus 5 in the turnover column. A few bright spots, but overall very disappointing.

As for the hindsight of saying we should've kicked the field goal on our first possession of OT...Webb is hardly a clutch kicker. Had we elected to kick it and he missed, Mangino would have been hung out to dry. Better to run a few plays and get him closer. I don't think anyone would have predicted a fumble on such a basic handoff. Hindsight is 20/20. I think the play call was the correct was just poorly executed.

actorman 11 years, 9 months ago

Does any other school in the nation pay $1.5 million for such mediocrity? 39% win rate and now 3-18 on the road. How much would a coach with a winning record cost? Can we afford it?

Oh yeah, would we pay $1.5 million for Bill Self to go 3-18 on the road and win 39% of the time?

Enough of the freaking talk about Mangino's salary!!!!!!!

I was at the game, and believe me frustration doesn't even begin to cover it. KU looked pathetic, pitiful, perplexing, and every other p word you can come up with. But it's an extremely young team with a lot of potential, and Mangino's salary is based on what he has done to improve the program and what he will continue to do. For those of you who continue to bring up the same old tired numbers, let me state this in a way that you might be able to understand:

Terry Allen: Terrible coach

Terry Allen's recuits: Even worse players

Number of years it takes for a coach to have a team comprised of completely his own players: 4 (or 5 with redshirts)

Number of years it takes to convince recruits that KU's reputation richly "earned" under Allen is undeserved: who knows

Number of years it takes to bring in great recruits without adequate facilities (which was the case until recently): who knows

Quality of KU's recruiting classes: improving every year (which even Mangino's critics would have to acknowledge)

Number of morons who have a difficult time understanding these facts: apparently limitless

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