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Saturday, November 2, 2019

Jayhawks stunned in lopsided loss to Wildcats in front of sellout crowd

Kansas cornerback Hasan Defense (13) lifts his head in frustration after another Kansas State touchdown by running back Joe Ervin during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas cornerback Hasan Defense (13) lifts his head in frustration after another Kansas State touchdown by running back Joe Ervin during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

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The Kansas State Wildcats didn’t only harass, hurry and sack Carter Stanley throughout Saturday’s Sunflower Showdown. They blindsided his outlook for one of the most anticipated KU home games in a decade.

“I never in a million years saw that result coming,” said Stanley, a joyless and beaten quarterback, after the Wildcats rolled, 38-10, in front of a sellout crowd of 47,233.

The Jayhawks’ offense played so well in the two games leading up to their matchup with the No. 22 Wildcats (6-2 overall, 3-2 Big 12), that Stanley and his teammates entered the rivalry game convinced they would find ways to overcome whatever K-State threw at them.

But even new offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon couldn’t solve KU’s issues. The Jayhawks (3-6, 1-5) averaged 4.7 yards per play and totaled only 241 yards of offense, their second-lowest output of the season. The only Saturday that went worse for them this fall came at TCU, where they finished with 159 yards, in a 51-14 mauling.

Ultimately, this game against K-State felt similar.

“They just came out and beat our ---,” junior receiver Andrew Parchment said. “There ain’t nothing else to say.”

Kansas didn’t even get into the end zone until the final minutes of K-State’s dominating performance.

“We couldn’t run the ball. Couldn’t protect the quarterback,” a frustrated Parchment said. “We couldn’t stop them defensively. We couldn’t get open on routes.”

After K-State extended its Sunflower Showdown winning streak to 11 games, Stanley said he wanted to take the blame for KU’s offensive misery. Stanley, who was sacked four times and threw two interceptions, finished the defeat 13-for-23 passing, with 115 yards.

“I’ve got to be better in a lot of different aspects,” Stanley said. “I let my guys down today.”

Feeling a bit desperate, down 24-3 after three quarters, the Jayhawks opened the fourth by going for it on fourth-and-4 at their own 26-yard line.

The gamble didn’t do their chances any good. Stanley, in the midst of his worst day since the Jayhawks floundered at TCU in Week 5, couldn’t connect with Kwamie Lassiter II on a fourth down pass.

“Had we punted it, who knows,” said Stanley, who agreed with the move, given how K-State (38:03 time of possession) controlled the ball. “They played it really well and we couldn’t execute.”

Six snaps later, the Wildcats extended their already cozy cushion to four touchdowns, when junior quarterback Skylar Thompson rushed for his third TD of the one-sided rivalry game.

After KU’s offense proved in the previous two weeks it could climb out of two touchdown holes, the Jayhawks found themselves in an even deeper deficit by the time they took their first snap of the second half.

After Thompson spent much of the first half giving KU fits with his feet, he came out of the locker room ready to show off his arm.

A 46-yard shot down the field for senior receiver Dalton Schoen keyed a nine-play TD drive that Thompson (9-for-16 passing, 129 yards; 127 rushing yards, three touchdowns) finished off with a 12-yard run into the end zone.

KU senior safety Mike Lee said the defense had difficulty keeping Thompson contained when defenders were sticking with their assignments.

“He saw that and he took his chances with scrambling,” Lee said. “That’s what he does. He’s a scrambling quarterback.”

Given the KU offense’s recent success since Dearmon took over as the unit’s coordinator during the team’s midseason bye week, it seemed like the Jayhawks had a legitimate chance to close the first half on a high note.

With 1:25 left and one timeout at their disposal, the Jayhawks opened their last drive before halftime at their own 38-yard line. However, KU experienced its second one-play series of a discouraging first half, as Stanley opened a possession with a first down interception for the second time.

Said KU head coach Les Miles: “Carter's interception was one that was just a poor throw. When you don't start fast, you've made some bad decisions, OK, and you've got to come off fast. If we do that, we'll score and have success because we'll get in the groove in the back end because that just seems to be what we do.

Holding and false start penalties against the Wildcats assured KU’s defense of its first three-and-out, and the Jayhawks got a sixth first-half possession as a result. But K-State would get a freebie series before halftime after Da’Quan Patton’s interception put K-State at KU’s 46-yard line.

Codey Cole III forced Thompson to fumble on the fourth play of the series, and the Wildcats ultimately settled for a 39-yard Blake Lynch field goal, which sent the visitors to their locker room at intermission with a 17-3 advantage on the scoreboard.

K-State outgained the Jayhawks, 244-74, in total yardage in the first half, as the Wildcats were on brand with their 5.7 yards per rush and a 19:34 to 10:26 time of possession advantage.

The Wildcats bowled over their rivals early on, knocking the Jayhawks into a 14-3 hole on the first play of the second quarter. That’s when KU’s issues stopping K-State’s option plays reared its ugly head again, and Thompson pitched to Harry Trotter for an easy 9-yard rushing TD.

Stanley opened KU’s third series with an errant throw that Jahron McPherson intercepted when he was the only player near the pass as it headed toward the right sideline.

“I think we had a good week at practice,” Stanley said of the unexpectedly poor showing. “It wasn’t stellar by any means, but it was a good week of practice. We got a lot of our guys healthy. I just never saw that outcome coming.”

K-State averaged 7.3 yards per play on its opening series, as Thompson made the KU defense look bad on a couple of plays in particular. Thompson’s option run on third-and-2 at KU’s 37-yard line turned into a 34-yard carry when a fake pitch opened up a broad rushing lane for the quarterback.

Two plays later, a little fake handoff from Thompson on second-and-goal allowed him to roll back right and saunter into the end zone for the game’s first score, roughly halfway through the first quarter.

Following a game in which KU’s offense regressed, Miles said he found the slow start most concerning.

“I mean, it's something that we're going to work on,” Miles said. “We're going to change the practice schedule. We're going to — we're going to reevaluate all the things, because I really thought we were doing really well, and I think that we have everything in place that we need. It's just we need to make first steps differently.”

KU will have an extra week to get over the defeat, with its second bye week of the season coming up. The Jayhawks play at Oklahoma State on Nov. 16.

Comments

Brad Avery 2 weeks ago

From viewing yesterday's physical beat down along the respective lines, I suspect the work of Chris Dawson, K-State's current weight coach who held the same position at KU under Mangino, had as much to do with it as anybody. Of all the mistakes KU's football program has made, letting him go after Turner Gill was hired may have been the worst.

Jim Keen 2 weeks ago

I was thinking the same thing. Anyone else notice the guns on some of those guys?

Greg Ledom 1 week, 6 days ago

Sorry, this had nothing to do with conditioning. It had everything to do with a terrible start from Carter (shiz happens), less overall talent, less overall depth, key injuries to the little depth we have (E.g. Prox), etc., etc. We are an improving football team but Saturday’s loss still showed where K-State’s program is and was left to their new staff by Snyder and where our program is at and was left to Les and our staff over the course of the last 10 years. I’ve seen progress this year and there’s plenty to get excited about next year with this group and a solid (all high school) top 30 (currently) recruiting class. In Les I trust. Rock Chalk!!

Andy Godwin 2 weeks ago

Going into the game it was clear KSU was a more complete team. Football starts at the offensive and defensive lines and it was a clear mismatch the entire game. And why did Miles leave Carter in when the game was completely out of hand, risking serious injury when KSU knew KU would be passing.

Steve Corder 1 week, 6 days ago

And...maybe the boys were reading (or hearing the buzz), a little more than they should have, about getting another conference win and be on their way to a bowl?

Clarence Haynes 1 week, 6 days ago

Notwithstanding the performance, KU jerseys looked as if they were faded during wash.like KState, stick to something UNIFORM.

Michael Leiker 1 week, 6 days ago

Agree Clarence the #oneteam unis were bad. I hope this idea goes away quickly. Long thinks he has to put his own personal stamp on everything. Have to think some specific people in the AD are slowly starting to tire of him.

Michael Maris 1 week, 6 days ago

AD Long hasn't even been on the job that long. So maybe, it has something to do with Adidas pushing those uniforms on the Athletic Dept and Coaches. My favorite Jayhawks emblem on the helmets are the Warhawks emblem. They should be on every issued football helmet Kansas purchases (no matter what the base color of the helmets are). I love the all white uniform combination for their road games.

John Strayer 1 week, 5 days ago

Maybe this final score needs to be painted on the locker room walls. Or painted on the door of every locker. Yes KSU is the better roster...but I've seen emotion carry a team into overachieving. Something needs to motivate these players to be damn near perfect in execution.

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