Saturday, November 30, 2019

Shane Jackson: Kansas still has long way to go following lopsided loss to No. 11 Baylor

Baylor Bears running back Trestan Ebner (25) escapes Kansas cornerback Hasan Defense (13) during a run in the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

Baylor Bears running back Trestan Ebner (25) escapes Kansas cornerback Hasan Defense (13) during a run in the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.


You are what your record says you are.

For Kansas, a 3-9 clip in Year 1 of the Les Miles era should be considered a step in the right direction. After all, it matches the best win total of any season by the Jayhawks this decade. And there were plenty of positive moments regarding the program both on and off the football field.

But Saturday’s 61-6 loss to No. 11 Baylor at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium was a harsh reminder that Kansas still has a long way to go.

“We have work to do,” KU head coach Les Miles said. “We will take every mistake that we made in this season final and we will dot the instillation with exactly why and how it happened.”

Since Miles took over the program this past offseason, he has often stated that Kansas will play in meaningful games in November at some point.

Yet the Jayhawks were outscored 171-60 during an 0-4 clip in his first November with this team, which were bookended by blowout defeats at home to Kansas State and Baylor. The former was a 38-10 drubbing in front of KU’s first sellout crowd in a decade, while the latter will have a lingering impact this upcoming offseason.

“Everybody is going to have this taste in their mouth,” junior receiver Andrew Parchment. “Two weeks later, we are back to work. The 2020 season is upon us, and we can’t wait around again or else we are going to have the same result as tonight.”

In a lot of ways, though, Baylor was the perfect measuring stick for Kansas (3-9, 1-8 Big 12) to end Miles’ debut season.

The Bears will be playing in the Big 12 Championship Game next weekend, which comes just two years after the program went 1-11 in Matt Rhule’s first season at the helm. Baylor (11-1, 8-1) is the first Power 5 program to win 10 games within two seasons of winning one game or less.

While that type of turnaround might be unrealistic for Kansas, this team knows it is capable of performing better than it did in the regular-season finale.

“It hurt me deep just because I told Carter (Stanley) we were going to send him out with a win,” sophomore running back Pooka Williams Jr. said. “We ain’t really compete as much as we should have to send the seniors off with a victory.”

Nearly every statistical category accurately reflected how lopsided this Big 12 affair was from the opening kickoff.

Baylor scored 48 points before Kansas finally got on the scoreboard in the final minutes of the third quarter. BU had 507 yards of total offense, while Kansas finished with just 280.

The Bears scored seven rushing touchdowns with five different players. The Jayhawks, meanwhile, committed six different turnovers as a team. Just about any way you slice it, Kansas was overmatched from start to finish by Baylor.

“I can tell you today certainly wasn’t a reflection of the progress that this program has made,” senior quarterback Carter Stanley said. “It’s so many things internally that these coaches have done that’s been incredible for this program.”

That progress was evident at times throughout the 2019 season. Kansas toppled Boston College, 48-24, in the third week of the season. The Eagles (6-6) will be competing in a bowl game in December.

Kansas suffered a narrow loss at Texas after a last-second field goal but then won on a game-ending kick against Texas Tech just one week later.

“We have done a lot this year,” Williams said. “Coach Miles is a great coach. He knows what he is doing, and he knows what he is talking about. We just have to go out there and execute and be on the same page.”

For now, though, the Jayhawks will have the taste of Saturday’s blowout loss in their mouths all offseason. And, in a way, that could prove to be a good thing before the team returns to action in 280 days for the 2020 season opener against New Hampshire.

“I look forward to the challenge,” Parchment said. “I’m excited for this week off and then just get back to work.”


Michael Maris 1 year, 10 months ago

"Kansas still has long way to go following lopsided loss to No. 11 Baylor"

You think?

Until Kansas gets legitimate OL and DL Coaching who can coach recruits to perform at elite level, we Jayhawks football fans are going to feel like we do at the end of every season (since 2010 season). We get teased virtually every season by a string of games that make the team appear to be turning the corners. Then, we get games like today's game (that shows how lacking the team is in quality lineman). Just because the players weigh as much as their opponents do, they're not able to perform as their opponents do week in and week out.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm not ready to say it's coaching until I see what they can do with better recruits over the next season or two. If we still don't see results, then I'll agree it's coaching. Don't forget 5 of the last 6 teams we played were ranked when we played them. If we played in a cupcake conference we'd have more wins, perhaps even bowl eligibility. The progress is obvious, it's just not as much as many of us hoped, but it's also obvious we were being unrealistic. It's way too early to start condemning the coaches.

Andy Tweedy 1 year, 10 months ago

Yeah, that's exactly right. It's easy to point to coaching, but our players aren't as good, it's pretty obvious.

Michael Maris 1 year, 10 months ago

In response to getting better Trench Players, K-State, Iowa State recruit the same type of players (and most are from their own respective State). Kansas recruits the majority of their Trench players from Texas and Oklahoma. So, how does the K-State and Iowa State trench players have more success than Kansas trench players? It leads back to coaching. Players need to buy into a program and truly commit themselves to the program. Yesterday's telecast showed the Baylor DC Oath from the players and coaches to each other. I'm not saying that Kansas or other schools are not doing this same thing. But, it's a process. In my opinion, last years defensive unit played better than this years defensive unit did. Course, there was senior leadership that made the Practice Squads of 2 NFL rosters. And, those 2 players were NOT highly ranked recruits coming out of high school. So, we will see how well the Trench Coaching staff does in coaching up current and incoming players. And yes, I am aware that LB position players were true and red-shirt Freshman players.

Michael Maris 1 year, 10 months ago

Per Jesse Newell Tweet:

"KU football went from 2nd nationally in turnover percentage last year (+16) to 124th this year (-12). Turnovers, historically, are worth about 5 points each. That's roughly 140 points — or nearly 12 per game — that the Jayhawks lost from last season in one stat alone."

Chris Condren 1 year, 10 months ago

Thank you Captain Obvious, KU has just completed the Decade of Despair and a trademark of this period is that KU almost never wins a game in November. Wins in that month are reserved for competitive teams.

Dane Pratt 1 year, 10 months ago

I’m not that bothered by losing to what might be the best team in the conference. After winning only 6 conference games this decade no one should be surprised over yesterdays results. It’s the losses to West Virginia and Texas that bother me. Those are games we could have won but found a way to lose. When we can turn those into W’s then I believe we have turned a corner.

Eric Brunner 1 year, 10 months ago

So Rutgers just brought back Schiano and Leavitt looks like a top candidate for a return to USF, is it really that far-fetched of an idea to bring back Mangino in 18 months?

Robert Brown 1 year, 10 months ago

2 of the 3 wins easily could have been losses.

Mike Hart 1 year, 10 months ago

Well, I'm guessing this season confirms that Thomas MacVittie must be a recruiting bust. I'm scratching my head while Les Miles is trotting his son Manny Miles out there as a senior transfer in KU's last game. Why are no QBs who are going to be on next roster, getting a crack at leading this team on a few possessions on a game that was already out of hand? The writing looks to be on the wall for Thomas MacVittie. Miles twice puts his son in the ballgame ahead of MacVittie. Keep in mind, other than a few juco games in 2018, the last time Thomas MacVittie competed on a football field at QB... was in 2015, his senior year in high school. He redshirted at Pitt... and then was 3rd string at Pitt in this 2 years there. Why are we not seeing what MacVittie can do on the field, rather than wait until next season. Manny Miles, really?

My hope, is that our plan at QB does NOT include Thomas MacVittie. Otherwise, he should have been given a shot this year in mop-up roles and see what he could have done on the field, rather than wait until next season and to him get his feet wet

Dane Pratt 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm a bit mystified too. Everything I've read from LJW indicates he was almost the starter this year and is in line to the be starter next year. So why so little pt.

David Robinett 1 year, 10 months ago

I thought the reason they were not playing MacVittie is to preserve two years of eligibility…

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