Advertisement

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Kansas offense reverts to past in 26-7 loss to Baylor in Big 12 opener

Baylor linebacker Clay Johnston (44) (bottom) and Baylor linebacker Jordan Williams (38) tackle Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Waco, Texas.

Baylor linebacker Clay Johnston (44) (bottom) and Baylor linebacker Jordan Williams (38) tackle Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Waco, Texas.

Advertisement

Waco, Texas — The Baylor football team’s defense figured out how to take Pooka Williams out of the game for all but one big run and poof, just like magic, the Kansas offense vanished.

And even if the feel-good vibes born of a two-game winning streak against nonconference foes didn’t completely disappear, they were pushed beneath the surface by a question that ruled the day: Has Kansas improved enough for it to translate into better results against Big 12 competition?

In this season’s Big 12 opener, the answer was no. At halftime, the answer was hell no!

In scoring a 26-7 victory over Kansas at McLane Stadium, the Bears limited Williams to 89 net yards on 14 carries, and nothing else KU tried as a means of making Baylor pay for paying so much attention to the fleet freshman running back worked either. Williams picked up 72 of those yards on one third-quarter sprint down the right sideline, a play that set up Peyton Bender’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Booker with 8:32 left in the quarter, drawing Kansas within 23-7.

No other possession included a breakaway from Williams and in turn no other series resulted in a single point. For one unsightly half, the game shaped up very much like a typical first half of Bears running away from Jayhawks and rolling up a big advantage.

Baylor took a 23-0 lead into halftime and it would have been worse had J.T. Woods not dropped an interception Bender threw right to him, a pick that would have earned him six points with a return of less than 10 yards in the first quarter.

When halftime arrived to give Kansas the break in the action it needed, the statistics showed Baylor with 256 total yards and Kansas with 48.

Baylor’s first-half dominance started up front with a defensive line that had its way with KU’s blockers. Watching that made the pressing question bubble back to the surface: Has Kansas made enough improvements for it to make a difference against Big 12 competition?

“I did not think we were outmatched, I’ll tell you that,” fourth-year Kansas coach David Beaty said. “I did not think we were outmatched. I mean that with all due respect to Baylor. They have a really nice football team. Matt (Rhule) has done a really good job recruiting, but that’s certainly not going to be an excuse. We had plenty to get it done. I didn’t think we did a very good job of executing the game plan. Obviously, we didn’t do a good enough job teaching it and we didn’t get it done as a group.”

Unlike in the previous two weeks, when Kansas combined for three touchdowns on interception returns in lopsided victories against Central Michigan and Rutgers, the defense wasn’t able to help out the offense with any points in this one. KU had 13 takeaways in the first three games and just one turnover. Neither team turned it over Saturday, so those numbers haven’t changed.

Kansas started the game by trying to establish the run and Baylor was intent on not giving any breathing room to Pooka, who entered as the leading rusher in the Big 12 with 288 yards, despite playing in one fewer game than the other top backs in the league. He gained six yards on KU’s first play from scrimmage, but was thrown for losses of three yards on the third and fourth plays of the series. The Bears sent multiple tacklers after him, hit him hard, and piled on within the limits of the rulebook. If the Bears erred, they did so on the side of aggressiveness and amassed 140 yards on 13 penalties. The rough style for which they were flagged didn’t keep them from accomplishing their goal, which was to keep KU’s best offensive player from beating them.

“They loaded up the box pretty good and I thought we had a hard time getting push off the ball throughout the entire game,” Kansas senior quarterback Peyton Bender said. “I feel like they kind of knew what we were trying to do. Obviously, we’ve been a run-heavy team, so we were trying to establish the run, couldn’t really get it done, but shoot, they’re an athletic team. They’ve got athletes all over the field. They came out and played harder than us. They played better than us today.”

Baylor dared Kansas to go to the air by putting eight defenders in the box, not all that risky a strategy given that KU’s receivers had trouble getting separation on the men covering them.

“Up front, I felt like they really controled the line of scrimmage today,” Bender said. “We didn’t get really good push and then we struggled to throw the ball, so there’s no reason for them to lighten up the box. We just have to do a better job and play harder next week (vs. Oklahoma State in Lawrence).”

A Kansas pass defense that totaled seven interceptions in the first three weeks was torched for three touchdowns in the first half by Charlie Brewer, who also rushed for 58 yards in the first half.

Brewer was on the run when he spotted Chris Platt alone in the back of the end zone and hit him for an easy 22-yard touchdown. Corione Harris, with his back to the play, looked like a freshman in getting nowhere near the action.

Beaty explained that Harris originally did the right thing on the play and explained where things went wrong: “I don’t think he knew that there was a guy behind him. (His responsibility) changes when quarterback breaks the pocket. There are times when you have to know that you have to latch on the nearest guy and I think he’ll learn from that.”

Baylor freshman Tyquan Thornton beat Mike Lee to the right corner of the end zone and Brewer hit him for a 39-yard TD eight seconds into the second quarter. Brewer hooked up with Josh Fleeks for a 34-yard TD strike in the back of the end zone with Kansas safeties Hasan Defense and Jeremiah McCullough on the scene as Baylor took a 23-0 lead an missed the extra point with 1:37 left in the half.

“If there’s any positive I take from it it’s that we allowed three points in the second half,” Beaty said.

After halftime, the linebackers did a better job of containing Brewer and the defensive backs did a better job of staying with Baylor’s talented receivers.

Defense shared what transpired during halftime.

“It started with coach Beaty,” Defense said. “He told us we were beating ourselves up and then when we separated and went with coach Bowen, he told us we’re definitely beating ourselves up. He told us what we were getting beat on and once we saw where we were supposed to be coach Bowen was just like, ‘We can’t have it. Second half we have to be able to stop them and make plays. If we want to have a chance to come back and win, we can’t allow the same mistakes to happen twice.’ ”

They did as asked, but it was too late, and KU’s record dropped to 2-2 overall and its Big 12 road losing streak grew to 41 games. Meanwhile, Baylor (3-1) already has tripled its victory total from a year ago.

SCORING SUMMARY

FIRST QUARTER

5:35 — Chris Platt 22 pass from Charlie Brewer. Connor Martin kick. Six-play drive for 47 yards, in 3:48. (BU 7, KU 0.)

SECOND QUARTER

14:52 — Tyquan Thornton 39 pass from Brewer. Martin kick. Six-play drive for 69 yards, in 2:40. (BU 14, KU 0.)

4:32 — Martin 45 field goal. Twelve-play drive for 55 yards, in 6:43. (BU 17, KU 0.)

1:37 — Josh Fleeks 34 pass from Brewer. Martin kick failed. Four-play drive for 46 yards, in 1:16. (BU 23, KU 0.)

THIRD QUARTER

8:32 — Jeremiah Booker 10 pass from Peyton Bender. Gabriel Rui kick. Seven-play drive for 90 yards, in 2:28. (BU 23, KU 7.)

5:00 — Martin 27 field goal. Nine-play drive for 65 yards, in 3:32. (BU 26, KU 7.)

Comments

Barry Weiss 1 year ago

We were not competitive today at all. When you lose by 3+ scores, it just shows we continue to be out-matched in conference play. Our lines were manhandled. Take all the penalties away from Baylor and it would have been worse. With Okie State losing tonight to Texas Tech, look for them to come into Lawrence with a burr up their butt and kick ours.

1 year ago

david beaty is todd hoffman from 'gold rush'

Eric Eakins 1 year ago

LOL, I totally agree. Hilarious. If Beaty ever says 'what the frick' I'll be on the floor.

Jayson Hawk 1 year ago

OH MY GOD!! Tod Hoffman! LMAO! Thats perfect. My buddy told me about that show and i asked him "Why do you watch that?" His answer: "Because i love watching people fail" HAHAHA.

Len Shaffer 1 year ago

"I didn’t think we did a very good job of executing the game plan. Obviously, we didn’t do a good enough job teaching it and we didn’t get it done as a group."

You could take this same quote and apply it to virtually any game in Beaty's coaching career at KU. We were fooled by KU getting six turnovers each against two dreadful teams. Now it's back to same old, same old ... (And don't even get me started on all the bizarre coaching decisions.)

Brett Hathaway 1 year ago

Very true, he puts it on the coaching staff after each loss. Its about time to show some accountability for these losses. OSU and WVU coming up before the bye week, going to be an interesting next two weeks!

Brett McCabe 1 year ago

After the Rutgers win, I thought that Beaty had bought himself four more games because it seemed like Long would not be able to pull the trigger until we had fallen at least to 2-6. I wasn't thinking about the bye week though, so a coaching change may happen after WVU, giving the staff and players two weeks to adjust.

Brett Hathaway 1 year ago

I hate to say it, but I think we are going to get CREAMED the next two games. Been thinking that since the season started, bad record or not. I'm pretty certain the entire country (including AD Long) had these next two games as losses for KU, so its hard to predict any changes being made after these next two games. Then Texas Tech after the bye, its just going to get plain ugly..

Chris Condren 1 year ago

Beaty is at his best when he recycles excuses for losing football games. One could say the list is endless but really it a finite number of reasons that only appear endless when spoken by a master such as Beaty. When will the misery end for Kansas Football?

Dirk Medema 1 year ago

Missing the 4th down conversion hurt, as did missing Miles. We probably need Miles' legs, in spite of Beaty's arm being better, if opposing teams are going to load the box. The QB needs to be an option.

Jerry Walker 1 year ago

I've been curious for some time about OC Meacham's middle name. Could it be "Barren" or "Banal" or "Bromidic"? Or maybe of chinese heritage "Ho Hum".

Jeff Kallmeyer 1 year ago

Seems to me Baylor let up some in the 2nd half, totally man-handled us in the 1st half.

Richard Duran 1 year ago

How good are the Jayhawks? good enough to whip teams that are significantly worse than us, but still not a Big 12 team. Once again overmatched and under prepared. Just in put In carter Stanley and be done with it.

Andy Tweedy 1 year ago

I don't know if Stanley is the answer but I'm 100% sure that the other two are NOT!

Craig Carson 1 year ago

this headline is misleading..KU offense didnt "revert" back to anything..they havent played good period..the freshmen running back has played great..but their QB play has been horrible at best..this Baylor game was the last winnable game on their schedule...they wont win again...I hope people didnt get their hopes up too much.Beaty still needs to be given his pink slip this season

Commenting has been disabled for this item.