Saturday, November 21, 2015

Willis underwhelms against WVU

Kansas freshman quarterback Ryan Willis, right, throws from inside the end zone in the first-half against the West Virginia Mountaineers Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas freshman quarterback Ryan Willis, right, throws from inside the end zone in the first-half against the West Virginia Mountaineers Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, at Memorial Stadium.


On a day that true freshman quarterback Ryan Willis completed just 35 percent of his 37 throws and had two picked off, Kansas University coach David Beaty noted under-throwing receivers proved to be one of the many issues plaguing KU’s offense in a 49-0 loss to West Virginia.

“We had a couple of them where I didn’t think the ball was out there quite enough. We had a guy beat,” Beaty said, adding the same issue arose for backup QB T.J. Millweard in mop-up duty.

“The accuracy is very important,” Beaty said. “The trajectory and the distance is so important when you’re trying to complete passes. That’s how those turnovers happen.”

Although Willis has been slowed of late by groin injuries, Beaty didn’t think that led to him completing just 13 throws for 127 yards.

“I’m not gonna use that as an excuse,” the coach said. “I don’t think he was any worse today than he was for the last two weeks (health wise). For whatever reason, today, he didn’t have it today — the whole time.”

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KU coach David Beaty talks about 49-0 loss to WVU

KU football coach David Beaty on the Jayhawks' 49-0 loss to West Virginia

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Still, Beaty expected the young QB to bounce back for the season finale versus Kansas State.

“All those guys will. They’ll come back,” he said. “They’ll be ready to go this week.”

Millweard sees late action

Backup quarterback Millweard, a junior, threw his first pass of the season — an interception — in the fourth quarter, and became the fifth QB to see the field for KU this season, joining Montell Cozart, Deondre Ford, Keaton Perry and Willis.

Beaty said KU just needed a change at that point, down seven scores with little time left.

“He practices his tail off. He deserves that opportunity,” Beaty said of Millweard playing the final two possessions.

“We had not been moving the ball to that point,” he added. “It was a point in time where we needed to try to get some momentum going with another guy.”

This and that…

Junior cornerback Brandon Stewart blocked a 41-yard field-goal attempt by Josh Lambert late in the second quarter, making him the first Jayhawk to block a kick since Tevin Shaw in 2014 … West Virginia’s 28 points in the first quarter tied for the most given up by Kansas in a single quarter this season (Baylor’s second quarter on Oct. 10), and the most surrendered in a first quarter — or any quarter — since Oklahoma State posted 35 on KU on Oct. 8, 2011 … WVU QB Skyler Howard ran for 129 yards on nine carries in the first half, marking the first time an opposing quarterback gained 100 or more yards since K-State’s Colin Klein went for 112 yards in 2012. … KU’s 10 first downs were one better than the nine the Jayhawks had at Oklahoma State earlier this season. … The Jayhawks’ -1 net rushing yards in the first half were the fewest since also posting -1 yard in the opening half against Colorado on Oct. 17, 2009. … The 49-point loss was the largest margin of defeat in a shutout for KU since a 64-0 loss to Kansas State, in 2002. … Temperature at kickoff was 36 degrees, under clear skies, with wind blowing at 22 miles per hour out of the northwest.

— See what people were saying about the game during’s live coverage.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. West Virginia


Brett McCabe 4 years, 3 months ago

So here's my list of excuses...

Three freshmen starting on the O-Line, double groin pull, dropped passes everywhere and a heavy wind (the WVU quarterback didn't look particularly sharp throwing, either).

David Kemp 4 years, 3 months ago

Given the current state of offensive and I mean offensive- line a pocket passer will not work. Must have a running rollout qb.

Michael Lorraine 4 years, 3 months ago

Disagree. Willis is mobile enough and he can find his receivers far better than any of his predecessors. For this offense to work or at least improve, receivers need to stop dropping the ball. Way too many dropped passes this season.

Ashwin Rao 4 years, 3 months ago

@David, how is Stanley? Isn't he mobile/dual threat? He is unproven, so having more options through recruiting as a backup will be nice.

David Kemp 4 years, 3 months ago

Yes I want to see Stanley at the position. And I think Willis is a good passer but even before his injuries he was not very mobile and rarely would run.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 3 months ago

According to Beaty, accuracy, trajectory and the distance is important to complete passes. Now that he has that figured out - what's next?

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