Trying to explain why his offense gained just 87 yards and five first downs during Kansas University’s 20-3 loss to Nebraska on Saturday night, KU coach Turner Gill simply said his team could not get anything going.
Sunday night, a few hours after reviewing the game film for the first time, Gill had a more specific answer.
“(Nebraska) executed at the line of scrimmage,” he said. “That was really the bottom line. Their front four or seven beat our front six or seven guys. When (that happens), you cannot run the football, and their pass defense was very, very good. They won the battle.”
After picking up 20 yards and a first down on the first possession of the game, the Jayhawks had four straight offensive possessions end with Nebraska sacks.
Sunday, Gill continued to give credit to the Nebraska defense for his team’s sluggish offensive night. Several Jayhawks who faced NU’s vaunted “Blackshirts” defense were right there with him.
“We were all frustrated as an offense collectively,” wide receiver Bradley McDougald said. “When you got that much pressure in your face, there’s only so many plays that you can make.”
After the game, NU defensive coordinator Carl Pelini told reporters that what he saw from the KU offense was drastically different than most of what he scouted on the six weeks of game film he watched leading up to the game. Gill didn’t divulge how much his offense changed but did say that the Jayhawks gave a few new looks.
“There’s always little adjustments here and there,” he said. “Every week we try to do something a little bit different, but you still do some base things always. We gotta find a way to make some plays. They executed better than we did.”
Gill didn’t have much to say Sunday night about the fact the Nebraska offense continued to pass late in the game despite owning a 17-point lead.
Nebraska threw two passes — one from the shotgun — in the final minute and also called timeout with 10 seconds to play.
Asked for his reaction, Gill said: “I don’t have any thoughts.”
The late aerial attack angered fans from both sides, and several made their displeasure known on KU and NU Internet message boards.
Asked after the game what his intention was, head coach Bo Pelini said he was trying to get his offense more work.
Though junior quarterback Quinn Mecham endured the worst game of his three starts (3-of-13 for 15 yards and one interception) this season, Gill said he never considered benching him in favor of backups Kale Pick or Jordan Webb.
Asked Sunday if Mecham would remain the starter for this week’s game against Oklahoma State — 11 a.m. Saturday in Lawrence — Gill was noncommittal.
“We’re gonna discuss it a little more (today) and may come to a decision Tuesday,” he said.