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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sluggish again: Early defensive missteps haunting KU football

Texas Tech running back Justin Stockton (4) is tackled by Kansas safety Mike Lee (11) during the half on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

Texas Tech running back Justin Stockton (4) is tackled by Kansas safety Mike Lee (11) during the half on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

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Another Saturday. Another colossal first-half crater too deep to escape. Another loss for the Kansas football team.

In the Jayhawks’ fourth consecutive defeat they suffered their worst start yet in Saturday’s drubbing at the hands of Texas Tech.

After experiencing 18-point deficits before halftime against both Central Michigan and Ohio and trailing by 25 points versus West Virginia, KU was buried in a 28-point hole by the Red Raiders with 5:15 left in the second quarter.

“It’s not a good feeling,” junior defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. said after the 65-19 defeat. “I don’t know what the issue is with our team, but we have to get that changed.”

It took Tech barely more than 10 minutes to build a 21-0 lead and on the first two rushing touchdowns — 13 yards by Justin Stockton and 47 yards by Desmond Nisby — the Red Raiders reached the end zone untouched.

Texas Tech (4-1 overall, 1-1 Big 12) experienced so little resistance it set or tied the best performances in the conference so far this season in terms of:

• team points (65)

• touchdowns (9)

• individual touchdowns and rushing TDs (4, running back Desmond Nisby)

• and individual points scored (24, Nisby)

Although Texas Tech’s Air Raid covered 75 yards to reach the end zone to open the thumping, the Red Raiders’ average starting field position was their own 40-yard line by the time three-hour-and-55-minutes of dominance concluded. Five of their TD drives only had to go between 53 to 60 yards and the shortest, following a Peyton Bender interception, required moving the ball all of 21 yards.

Sophomore safety Mike Lee, who recorded his second interception of the year and added nine total tackles versus Tech, said the defense has to make more stops after KU forced just two three-and-outs.

“I guess things happened throughout the game and put us in bad positions and stuff like that,” Lee said. “A few times it happened we stopped them but some other times they scored. So we can work on that as a defense.”

KU head coach David Beaty reiterated the unit’s sole focus should be getting the opposing offense off the field as soon as possible.

“It doesn't matter where it is. Our job is to stop them defensively. But, you know, we just, we didn't do a good enough job in any of the phases (Saturday), to be able to be successful,” Beaty said. “(Tech) did a much better job than we did. I thought they played well. They out-coached us. They out-played us. The whole thing.”

After surrendering three straight touchdown drives to open the game KU (1-4, 0-2) at least buckled down briefly on defense. On Tech’s nine following possessions, three ended with a punt, two with Kansas takeaways, two reached the end zone, one closed due to halftime and another concluded with a missed field goal.

KU trailed 35-19 in the third quarter when Armstrong stripped Stockton of the ball and recovered the fumble.

“The energy kind of kicked in a lot. It was probably the most that I think we had throughout the game,” Armstrong said of that particular juncture, “and then it just went away the next play.”

To his point, the ensuing Kansas drive ended two snaps later, when Justus Parker imitated Armstrong with a strip of Chase Harrell and ran the takeaway in for a TD.

“Yeah, we had sparks but we didn’t have enough to keep us going,” Armstrong said. “It was a little bit of a rollercoaster — up and down, up and down. And we’ve just got to be consistent.”

Five games into the season, Kansas ranks last in the Big 12 in scoring defense (44.8 points per game), passing defense (305.6 yards allowed), total defense (506.2 yards), pass efficiency defense (171.3) and opponent first downs (24.4).

“There’s a lot of disappointment,” Armstrong said of the mood of the following the loss. “You can’t really look at the good things, because there are a lot of things that we did that we didn’t really expect to do. We didn’t play to our level like we should be.”

Even Beaty, who stated following the blowout he doesn’t get disappointed, admitted he couldn’t feel optimistic about anything that transpired in KU’s latest setback.

“It's hard to look at a positive when the score turns out lopsided,” the third-year KU coach said. “I like the fact that our team, they don't quit, but other than that, I mean, we still gave up a bunch of points, and we didn't score a whole lot. That's a problem. We've got to get that fixed.”


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Texas Tech

Comments

John Fitzgerald 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Waylon Cook 2 months ago

Yes this is cleary our only issue

Bryce Landon 2 months ago

Disappointed? Is that it? How about some anger? How about some outrage? I see anger and outrage on these comment sections; why don't we see it with our players? Could it be that they are so used to losing it doesn't faze them anymore? Are they numb to it? Has apathy set in with this team?

Michael Leiker 2 months ago

The idea that these are "slow starts" is really off base. The fact is when anybody this team plays is playing their A team running their A stuff against KUs A team running their A stuff KU gets destroyed. TTU went completely vanilla in the 2nd quarter.

Jack Brooks 2 months ago

Maybe it has something to do with the Defensive Coordinator not knowing how to do his job?

FIRE CLINT BOWEN!

Matthew Pierce 2 months ago

It's sad to see KU football in this state of despair. It's time to clean house and get rid of the coaches. I'm sorry, but if you have one bad season, maybe it could be mostly the fault of the players, but several bad seasons in a row means that the coaches aren't doing their jobs. I wish KU would put as much pride and passion into its football program as it does its basketball program. There's no way in hell KU would put up with a coach like Beaty on the basketball court, so why is he given so much slack as the football coach? C'mon KU! You guys can do better than this!

Clarence Haynes 2 months ago

Perplexing that every game, the defense either has an ill prepared game plan or it doesn’t have any at all! The opponent gets a fast start. The defense then make adjustments but it is too late! To make things worse, the offense then takes risks that fail (4th down attempts and interceptions) and the opponent further benefits. The whole thing spins out of control and now there are four losses! Poor game plan strategizing! Who bears the responsibility for these slow starts? Bowen and/or Beaty? Someone has to take the sword!

Jack Brooks 2 months ago

Let’s hope they start with Bowen’s removal from the program.

Andy Godwin 2 months ago

It all starts at the line of scrimmage. Out "bigs" continue to get pushed around and fail to apply constant pressure. Since they also don't stop the run well, it all comes down to the linebackers and safeties to make the tackles. KU also can't stack the box since the DB's can't cover man-to-man. I don't think a coaching change(s) on the defensive side will make much of a difference this season.

Jack Brooks 2 months ago

Maybe not this season, but it’ll get a head start on next season. We’re losing badly enough that it’s almost like they aren’t being coached at all.

David Kemp 2 months ago

Just use Beatty’s own quotes against him. “They out coached us they outplayed us”,this is becoming a common theme. Thus if you are out coached every week, the solution is quite obvious.

Damian Glaze 2 months ago

It ABSOLUTELY couldn't hurt. Letting the players call their own defensive plays at the line of scrimmage couldn't hurt at this point. This is the poorest defense in the history of KU. If you want fans and supporters to take you seriously, you have to make changes to show you are willing to try everything (or at least something). Waiting until the end of the season is pathetic. Damnit! Bowen should have been fired at half time... of the Ohio game. Enough is enough.

Chris Bailey 2 months ago

I agree. Funny thing people were in his corner to be the head coach when he took over for Weis. Imagine where we'd be right now had we hired him to run things???? If Beaty doesn't start winning when does SZ get held responsible for these hires? I realize he is the one laying the foundation for the stadium remodel but he needs to have some accountability for this as well. I still can't believe this was the choice. We could've done better.

Chris Bailey 2 months ago

We do understand this isn't golf right? Lowest score doesn't win! We are terrible beyond belief. We seem to get worse every year. Somehow this site pumps us up every year like we're going to be better yet we're always worse. I don't get it. We flat suck!

Jerry Walker 2 months ago

"Armstrong stripped Stockton of the ball and recovered the fumble.

“The energy kind of kicked in a lot. It was probably the most that I think we had throughout the game,” Armstrong said of that particular juncture, “and then it just went away the next play.”

“Yeah, we had sparks but we didn’t have enough to keep us going,” Armstrong said. “It was a little bit of a rollercoaster — up and down, up and down."

For cryin' out loud. How hard is it to go out and give your best for a few hours every Saturday?

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