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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Keegan

Column: Homecoming humiliation might go down as ultimate low point

Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine (32) breaks past Kansas safety Fish Smithson (9) on a long run during the first quarter, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015 at Memorial Stadium.

Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine (32) breaks past Kansas safety Fish Smithson (9) on a long run during the first quarter, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015 at Memorial Stadium.

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Every recovery, every emergence from a near-death experience, has a moment to look back on as the absolute low point.

If and when the Kansas University football program ever escapes the abyss, those experiencing better times will look back on Halloween of 2015. KU Homecoming at Memorial Stadium.

The scoreboard read Oklahoma 62, Kansas 7, and the clock showed three minutes and change remaining. A look into the stands showed mostly empty aluminum bleachers mounted on aging concrete. Almost without exception, the only blue to be found was in the form of empty chair-backs decorated by the Jayhawk logo. A vast majority, surely more than 90 percent, of the humans still watching the monumental football mismatch wore Oklahoma red.

The official attendance of 26,677 represented tickets sold. Thousands fewer than that made it to the game. Most of those wearing blue found more relevant things to do than watch their school take another Big 12 beating at a time they can’t compete because the program had been so badly mismanaged for so many years leading up to Sheahon Zenger with his last shot at getting it right turning to Texas A&M; assistant coach David Beaty and signing him to a five-year contract that pays him an annual salary of $800,000.

Homecoming is an event intended to draw alumni back to school for a football game they can enjoy together. To have it on Halloween, when parents help their children with their costumes and then pass out candy to other people’s children, meant a big chunk of potential customers would not make the trip to Lawrence this year. A 2:30 p.m. game time made it possible for those who live nearby to attend, although not without inconvenience and certainly not to stay for four quarters. Not with the Kansas City Royals getting loose for Game 4 of the World Series.

Maybe it was just as well, although that doesn’t excuse such bizarre homecoming scheduling. No Kansas alumni would have seen much of anything that would make them want to come back to a game anytime soon.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Postgame: David Beaty reacts to blowout homecoming loss vs. OU

First-year Kansas football coach David Beaty addresses all that went wrong for the winless Jayhawks in a 66-7 homecoming loss to No. 14 Oklahoma.

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The numbers only hinted at the dominance because Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, as was the case with Baylor’s Art Briles and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, does not get a kick out of making a peer in an impossible situation feel worse than he already does by running the score higher than a Woodstock music festival crowd. Mercy still has its place in college football, even among those chasing a spot in the coveted four-school playoff.

Still, on a day in which injuries meant Kansas started two true freshman and a red-shirt freshman on the offensive line, Saturday’s numbers bordered on graffiti. Oklahoma amassed 710 total yards, including 445 through the air. Kansas rushed 36 times for 35 yards. Oklahoma never punted, compared to nine times for Kansas.

No road humiliation can quite match one that takes place in front of a home crowd, and this season’s remaining two visitors to Memorial Stadium, West Virginia and especially injury-weakened Kansas State, don’t have quite the rosters to do to Kansas what Oklahoma did Saturday. The low point arrived when Matthew Wyman was sent back on the field for KU’s ninth punt on third-and-11 from the Oklahoma 44.

Every recovery from the depths must start somewhere, a moment when a foot finds the first rung of a seemingly endless ladder to daylight. Kansas special teams player Beau Bell, a senior who played football for Bishop Carroll High in Wichita and then for one season at Hutchinson County Community College, made a play. He hustled down the field and put the right touch on the punted ball to make it land at the 1, a perfect play for such an imperfect football team winding up such a long, long day.

— Tom Keegan appears on The Drive, Sunday nights on WIBW-TV. 

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


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Oklahoma


Comments

Marc Frey 4 years, 3 months ago

We all expected that this season would play out as it has so far, There are a few teams left who have motivation to crush us. So lets get through Nov and regroup for next year.

Robert Brock 4 years, 3 months ago

KU has few Big 12-level players on its squad. Maybe twelve out of the roster of 95.

You can't expect much under the circumstances. If we keep the staff and it continues to recruit better 2 and 3-star players...perhaps we will see some improvement and get a couple of conference wins in 2018. Keep sawing wood!

Brett McCabe 4 years, 3 months ago

I was a little caught off-guard by the large number of Sooner fans in the stands. We are longtime season-ticket holders, and I don't remember OU traveling quite that well. Though our seats aren't "prime", they aren't bad. Still, we were literally surrounded on three sides by large clusters of OU fans, plus four empty seats to our right. Thanks KU season ticket-holders for collecting that $5 from Tickets for Less, and allowing me to enjoy an away game in Memorial Stadium.

Here's hoping that Keegan has identified the turn-around point. Bell's hustle definitely makes for a good clip of film to show a bunch of young men how to never quit.

If it is, indeed the low-point game, and the turn-around moment, let's hope to see some fight from these guys on the road vs. a schizoprenic Texas team that just got shut out by the Mangino-less ISU Cyclones. Ryan should be over his road shakes, and the Texas crowd should be relatively flat for this game. Keep hammerin' young Jayhawks, keep hammerin'.

Joe Ross 4 years, 3 months ago

So what's interesting is that ISU scores below its average with Mangino as OC this season, and still beat Texas. The surprise is ISU's defense, which hangs a goose egg on the Longhorns. Can Kansas shock Texas? I wouldnt count on it. For one, ISU clearly showed Kansas they were better than we. Secondly, Texas wont be taking anything for granted after losing to ISU. Low point reached? Lets hope.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 3 months ago

This just in from Captain Obvious.......

Calvin Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

All those OU fans are generally the ones that can't get a ticket in Norman.

W Keith Swinehart II 4 years, 3 months ago

A big need for our guys is a better show of support by the fans. Go to the games to see the great spectacle of beauty of our stadium setting and university. Watch the great talent on display. Look for the up and comers developing on our young team, and attract new talent by your show of support. I don't see the humiliation; I see opportunity and challenge. I love it.

Charlie Gaughn 4 years, 3 months ago

Very true. However, yesterday was the perfect storm for a pitiful, and early exiting, crowd. Playing the game on Halloween didn't help. Then with the Royals playing and the first half taking two hours to complete, a bunch of folks left to make sure they didn't miss the start of the World Series. From about the 10 minute mark in the fourth quarter I don't think there was another KU fan within 50 feet of where we sit. You are absolutely correct though, young players can really be inspired by a loud and enthusiastic crowd. Even when the score was still close most people were just sitting on their hands.

Michael Lorraine 4 years, 3 months ago

700 yards of offense and no punts, the score could have been a lot worse. Disappointing to see our defense struggle so badly this late in the season but blowouts in college are common. Even good teams get pounded.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 3 months ago

Texas Tech just gave up 70 points in a game in which they led by a large margin.

We are now in a whole different universe when it comes to yardage and scoring. It truly makes it more difficult to evaluate and understand progress on the field.

I continue to see some glimmers of hope. We've got a quarterback, we've got some guys at the wideout spot, we have a lot of youth that should make significant jumps in performance next year. It's a start.

The 2016 recruiting class is absolutely critical. We don't just need quality, but we also need retention. The roster is so thin, we cannot lose guys to academics, or lack of commitment. Let's hope that Beaty and Company are 100% on their game.

Charlie Gaughn 4 years, 3 months ago

A couple of thoughts I came away from yesterday....

  1. If the university is going to recognize faculty members and others providing value, please do it in the first half when there are KU fans left in the stands.

  2. Since Zenger apparently is going to be retained as AD, why doesn't he have a short video expressing his support of Coach Beaty and imploring upon fans to stick it out for the entire game regardless of how bad it gets? He is absolutely invisible.

  3. Lose the white helmets.

  4. Bowen needs to go or be moved to another area of coaching. He's been the DC now for four years and some of the mistakes I saw yesterday just shouldn't be happening.

  5. While the team is taking some good beatings, it may benefit them in the long run. In the old big 8 it was usually Oklahoma and Nebraska (sometimes Colorado) that were quality teams. That is not the case in the Big 12. Just about every week we're playing a team that can compete at the national level. That will certainly expose our weaknesses.

  6. Did the band forget how to play in the first half?

That's about it.

David Kemp 4 years, 3 months ago

Yes,here here to Bowen and his defense. We can't tackle, we can't cover and blown assignments are everywhere.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 3 months ago

Even though we are getting killed every week, we are enjoying the games and the efforts of the team. We are especially pleased watching Tyler Patrick, a guy we followed all through HS.

Besides the lack of elite talent and team depth, my biggest concern remains the play selection, especially on 4th downs in our own territory. I wish Beatty would go for every fourth down inside our 40 and never punt on 3rd downs. To turn our program around we need bold and audacious leadership, which does not translate to punting on 3rd and 11.

David Kemp 4 years, 3 months ago

Yes why not go on every 4th down. Makes no difference since defense could not even stop OU from scoring with over 1 minute left in first half.

Joe Andrew 4 years, 3 months ago

Why do we even have a KU football team? We should concentrate on what we do well consistently: basketball. Our football team is usually low-performing with a few exceptional years out of the decade plus I have been here. University football is expensive with 95 team members and numerous coaches that must be suported and transported around. Let's be brave and ditch the football program and put that money into basketball. Why are the good taxpayers of Kansas throwing money away every year on this program? The argument of "it pays for itself" is incorrect and misleading, especially at this level of performance. Do we want KU to be the perennial joke football team? We can make national news and be one of the few universities that is smart and brave enough to drop our expensive football program and concentrate our efforts into other more fruitful programs, like basketball.

Jeremy Wilhm 4 years, 3 months ago

This is a ridiculous suggestion. Drop the football team and KU is dropped from the conference and gone goes KU's split of the conference TV money which is usually between $25-30 million per year. Duke, NC and Kentucky are basketball schools too, but that all also have competitive football teams. If they can do it, so can KU.

brent flanders 4 years, 3 months ago

Completely agree.

Beaty and staff (including Bowen) are doing everything imaginable to dig us out of a gigantic hole. Seriously, without this staff, the team on the field would be 50-70% of the quality it is - and that's saying quite a bit, considering what we do have.

I'm tired of people who call themselves KU "fans" that focus solely on KU Basketball and completely ignore (or criticize) the KU Football program - which has an incredible history of All Americans and great teams...let alone the rest of our sports family; Volleyball, Soccer, Baseball, etc.

If you're not going to support or show up for the games, at least don't tear down your Alma Mater OR show up when Willis is the next Reesing and phenomenal tailgating on the hill is in vogue.

John Strayer 4 years, 3 months ago

This is spot on...without football, KU isn't in a major conference...without a major conference KU basketball is not as attractive and would struggle to exist on its own. Unfortunately college athletics is all about football...that is where all the $s are.

Bee Bee 4 years, 3 months ago

According to Kansascity.com, KU basketball's net revenue for 2014 was 8.4 million. In 2014 KU football's net revenue was 8.3 million. Football is the cash cow of the NCAA. Even bad programs generate large revenue due to tv contracts. KU football's share of the Big 12 tv contract for this season is around 25 million. As bad as the program is, it generates revenue.

If we want to get the taxpayers out of programs that are a waste of money, get rid of EBT cards, etc.

Joe Andrew 4 years, 3 months ago

Net revenue is meaningless. What is the net revenue? The last report I read stated that only 7 universities made more than they spent for athletics and that football by far was the largest source of costs. Ebt cards are nothing compared to these levels of money, so your other comment was also irrelevant.

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