Sunday, November 12, 2017

KU offense laments first-down duds in second half at Texas

Kansas running back Taylor Martin (24) is sent out of bounds by Baylor cornerback Harrison Hand (31) and Baylor safety John Arthur (39) during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas running back Taylor Martin (24) is sent out of bounds by Baylor cornerback Harrison Hand (31) and Baylor safety John Arthur (39) during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.


One never knows prior to kickoff what specific tribulations the Kansas football team will encounter, self-inflicted or otherwise.

In the Jayhawks’ ninth consecutive defeat, Saturday night at Texas, the road underdogs somehow overcame four first-half turnovers to only trail 35-17 at halftime.

In a rare road game that took on a competitive feel after halftime, KU’s most costly transgression may have been backfiring first downs in the third quarter which left the offense unable to pounce.

The Jayhawks (1-9 overall, 0-7 Big 12) didn’t hassle the Longhorns (5-5, 4-3) enough to ignite a legitimate run at an upset and extinguish a road losing streak that has now reached a major-conference record 45 games.

UT failed to score on its first four possessions of the second half, but in the meantime KU only put three points on the scoreboard, courtesy of Gabriel Rui’s 15th field goal of the season.

“I haven’t seen the play-by-play,” third-year KU coach David Beaty said immediately following the loss, while discussing the lack of third-quarter production, “but I don’t have to look at it to know on several of those first downs we’re going backwards a couple times. It’s second-and-12, it’s second-and-14, it’s second-and-16. And that’s tough now. That’s tough sledding in this conference, particularly when guys are going to be lined up in a drop-eight configuration. I mean it’s hard. There’s not many windows out there.”

It wasn’t quite as bad as Beaty portrayed it, but the Jayhawks definitely didn’t help themselves on first downs when they needed a spark.

KU received the ball to open the second half and on the first snap of the third quarter Khalil Herbert rushed for no gain. The series lasted just six plays and concluded with a punt.

After the Kansas defense secured its first of two turnovers on downs in the third quarter, the offense again lacked a counterpunch to open a drive. Dom Williams’ first-down run, that time, went for no gain. Though the Jayhawks overcame the uninspiring start to move down the field, their first play in the red zone went the wrong direction, with Taylor Martin bought down for a two-yard loss. Three plays later Rui kicked a 32-yard field goal.

Next, the KU defense once again stymied a Texas series with a fourth-down stop.

On the ensuing play from scrimmage, Kansas lost two yards on a Martin rush, leading to the Jayhawks’ first of two three-and-outs before Texas finally reached the end zone again with 5:34 left in the fourth quarter.

Following Rui’s field goal, the next four Kansas drives went five yards or fewer.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Carter Stanley, who threw for 268 yards, with three touchdowns and three first-half interceptions, felt the offense could’ve done much more than score 10 points and gain 172 yards in the second half.

“Yeah, we liked what we saw from the defense. There was a lot of stuff we prepared for,” Stanley explained. “And we just have to execute better.”

Onside explanation

Before the game, Kansas won the coin toss and elected to defer. But as soon as play went live the Jayhawks tried to steal a possession, attempting an onside kick with 60 minutes of football ahead of them.

“We came out, we said we were going to be aggressive this game,” Beaty said of the decision.

“We started with an onside kick and we felt like we had a great opportunity with a big gap that they had left there. You know, we talk about fortune favoring the bold and we are going to go after things when we see it,” KU’s coach said. “You know, from our standpoint right there, that was a great way to start the game. But the thing is, they scored on the very next play.”

Home finale set

The Big 12 announced this weekend KU’s upcoming Saturday matchup against first-place Oklahoma (9-1, 6-1) will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. and air on ESPN.

It’s the Jayhawks’ final home game of the 2017 slate.

The Sooners are 34-14-3 all-time in Lawrence.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Texas


Danny Delgadillo 4 years ago

You know what sucks? Not to be negative Nancy but the #1 thing that stuck out to me in this whole article was..... They're gonna have OU humiliate us on ESPN in the middle of the afternoon. I'd be cool with a morning kickoff on ESPNU or even blackout the game! Radio would suffice.

Jack Brooks 4 years ago

Yet another article about the football team lamenting/regretting lost chances and opportunities. Honestly, at this point, LJ-World, just stop writing about the team completely and focus on the other sports. I'm a proud KU alumnus, but this administration needs drastic measures to understand the futility, frustration, and anger this alumni base feels. I think a media no-show to Beaty next conference would do it--unless, of course, that conference is him resigning, being fired, firing Clint Bowen, or reacting to Zenger being fired. THAT's worth media attention.

Jeff Coffman 4 years ago

Wrong article...need the one about change in the program.

4 years ago

does anyone else remember these classic gems from hcdb?: 9/6/16: “..a couple of things that stood out to me was the play of our offensive line. You really want to see improvement from year to year with those guys.” and my FAVORITE!: 9/5/15: “Being the smartest team in the country, we weren’t that today. We’ve got to get better at that and that’s me and my coaches’ job.” when-if ever or even One game- in the last 3 years have we been the ‘smartest team’ on the field?! weve started more games w false starts than we have Wins in 3 years! want a chuckle? read hcdb quotes from years past re: ‘smartest team’ sad sad sad, but hilarious. sometimes, the Truth Hurts. rcjh

Al Martin 4 years ago

My personal favorite is the false start after a time out. Or the somewhat rarer delay of game after a time out.

Chris Condren 4 years ago

The article is filled with words nothing more. Writers have the task of reporting endless losses. Perhaps giving up 28 in the first quartered figured in this predictable road loss. Perhaps the stupid onside kick and Texas score nine seconds into the game set an ominous tone for the game. It is facinating how many different ways KU has employed in setting the record for consecutive road losses.

Jeff Suther 4 years ago

What’s the word on why Starks has not got a chance to run the offense this year?

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years ago

This article could have been written about any KU Football game over the last 3 years. If you just read the article without knowing the opponent or date it was written you would just assume it could have been written after any game since Beaty took over. Same excuses since the beginning. Again wash rinse repeat. The last two weeks are going to be brutal thank God lm flying to Vegas Saturday so l can just look at the score when I get there. I wonder if Beaty will try to open the game with another on side kick this week?

Charlie Gaughn 4 years ago

kinda makes you wonder what a typical converstation between Zenger and Beaty might look like:

Zenger: "Hey David, I was noticing that there doesn't seem to be a lot of progress being made with the program."

Beaty: "Yeah, I've kinda noticed that too. I think I'm seeing a trend though."

Zenger: "Oh, what's that?"

Beaty: "I think we need better production on first down."

Zenger: "Why that's very insightful David. We'd better start talking about your next raise! What do you think we should do to fix it?"

Beaty: "I think we should try a running quarterback next."

Zenger: "You mean like a big, strong, fast, high school senior recruit that we could redshirt and have in the program for five years?"

Beaty: "No, no, no! I'm talking about a junior college or graduate transfer that can help right away!"

Zenger: "Great Idea! We can guarantee him that he'll start and that should solve all of our problems. Why we'll be in a bowl game for sure next year! We can get the LJW all hyped up about it and we'll sell a bunch of tickets and everything!"

Beaty: "I thought you'd like that idea. It's worked for K-State so it will surely work for us."

Zenger: "My thoughts exactly. Great talking with you David!"

John Brazelton 4 years ago

At this point in the season, the team is playing for pride. Too many key injuries to the wrong players at the wrong time during the season. As Barry Switzer from OU use to say, It's not about X's and O's, it's about the Jimmy's and the Joe's. As a losing program, KU doesn't get the pick of the recruiting litter. Except for one or two gems each recruiting class, KU has to get players who want to come to a losing program, either because they have few other options or they truly want to help turn the program around.

Bryson Stricker 4 years ago

I don't always fully support the ramblings of John Brazelton. But this one is spot on.

George Johnston 4 years ago

John, that's exactly why we shouldn't wait 5 years for a coach's recruits to become seniors. Coaches don't get the recruits they want: they get the recruits they can. That's why recruits have decommitted and KU's recruiting class has dropped from 26th to 84th. If a coach doesn't show improvement by his third season, the recruits he wants look elsewhere.

Bryson Stricker 4 years ago

George my man. I agree with your sentiment. But keep in mind that it is November and recruits decommit from EVERY school. Have you seen how many LSU, Bama, Florida etc have lost? We are just now realizing this happens because we are just now actually getting highly touted high school athletes to consider our university as a landing destination.

When the Louisiana Kids commit here (which they will).. expect to see a lot more interest gather. Remember about 30% of kids wait until NSD to commit at all.

George Johnston 4 years ago

If decommitments hit each team equally, KU would still be 4th in recruiting. Instead, we fell to 72nd. (I checked and on 2/10/17,KU was 4th in the country.) The drop means that decommits hit the 'Hawks harder than most other teams. You are right that we need to wait until signing day to find out who actually signs but I will be very surprised if we are back to #4,

The principle remains: Coaches don't get the recruits they want: they get the recruits they can.

Bryson Stricker 4 years ago

I mean to think KU was ever going to be #4 is pretty crazy.. Top 30 would be major success in recruiting. Way too early rankings are stupid for that point. We weren't #4 due to the quality of our class, just simply because we had 4* commits early in the cycle.

I think it would be very interesting if they came out with a Top 5 list rankings. Where it broke down schools based off how many top 5 lists they are currently on. I think if you pay close attention, KU is making lists for a lot of recruits that frankly any school in our position shouldn't get. You got to take stuff like that as success. Getting a 5* is what it is, the beginning of a change in recruiting. The rest will play its part.

Chuck Wagstaff 4 years ago

If a coach can't help bad players improve, why would good players think twice about choosing him?

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years ago

What's the over/under for halftime score 35-0 42-0 or somewhere under 50 (45,48,49) Meaning how many tds for OU? Does KU get past the 50? How many interceptions for Carter/Bender.

Robert Brock 4 years ago

The Sooners will look pretty sloppy on Saturday. They will not only take KU lightly, they will be smoking and joking around. KU is funny.

4 years ago

You're joking, right? OU has national title aspirations. They are not going to F around. Kevin is right: the spread (-35) will be pushed or covered by halftime. They need to show the committee (on ESPN, no less) that they are for real. a 70-7 game is very likely. If they don't pound us into oblivion, the committee will see that as a failure, despite their success elsewhere. Mayfield has the Heisman to play for, as well. He could throw 8 TDs and pass for 800 yards. I dont think that would surprise any of us. At least bball season is here! RCJH

Steve Corder 4 years ago

Ironically, my UT friends are not that much less sold on their new head coach than what I read here about KU's 3rd year coach.

I saw a little better KU team on the field than TCU and Baylor. However, I will give credit to Stanley being "a tough dude", but I also observed that Carter S. may have baseball talent as a catcher. He seems to possess the kind of arm great catchers display when throwing-out a runner stealing second base with a perfect peg.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years ago

Our defense better put track shoes on instead of cleats. Maybe OU has quick scores 3-5 plays but our O will be 3 and out most possessions. With little rest for the D expect mental mistakes, missed tackles and a lot of fatigue. Not that you wouldn't see those things regardless of the opponent. Does Dineen break 20 tackles?

As previously stated OU has to play their way in and at this point it's a beauty contest and 40-3 or 35-10 will not suffice against a weak opponent, expect OU to call off the dogs by mid 4th even if 2nd stringers are in by then. With the Heisman up for grabs Mayfield will also be looking to impress. 70 to something sounds about right.

But we will have Beatys presser after the game to look forward to telling us the guys never quit and the usual list of things he liked after yet another blowout..

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years ago

When OU has the pedal to the metal trying to put the game away early its going to get ugly and fast. OU won't need any extra help David, so let's leave the onside kicks at home this weekend. It was 0-0 for a total of 9 seconds last week l hope it takes that long this week.

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