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Monday, September 28, 2020

With latest setback, KU football’s road Big 12 losing streak reaches 50

Sep 26, 2020; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears running back John Lovett (7) celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second half at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 26, 2020; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears running back John Lovett (7) celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second half at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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College football’s most unenviable streak kept plummeting, clunking into a new low of a milestone this past weekend, as the Big 12’s often clobbered travelers, the Kansas Jayhawks, lost the program’s 50th true conference road game in a row.

Often more inadequate than competitive when venturing into another Big 12 city, KU football hasn’t won a league game in an opponent’s stadium since its 2008 trip to Iowa State.

That now distant — yet most recent — conference road victory was four head coaches (five if you count one interim) and nearly a dozen years ago, so the bulk of the seemingly never-ending skid has little to do with the current Jayhawks, who lost at Baylor, 47-14, on Saturday night.

Even so, second-year KU head coach Les Miles said afterward he thought the Jayhawks were better positioned to compete on the road in 2020.

“And we still do,” Miles clarified, despite the 33-point defeat. “I think if you give a good look at what we’re playing with, we’re playing with really some capable guys. And they needed to grow and they need to experience college football. But they’re going to be good players. So we’re excited about it.”

The Jayhawks at least put an overall true road game losing streak of 46 games to rest in 2018, with a win at Central Michigan. They also won on the road in another nonconference game at Boston College in 2019, Miles’ first season in charge.

But the Big 12 keeps chewing up the road Jayhawks and spitting them out.

The freefall began in what was actually KU’s most recent winning season, 2008. After Mark Mangino coached Todd Reesing and the Jayhawks to an October road win in Ames, Iowa, 35-33, KU lost its only other true Big 12 road games on the calendar, at Oklahoma and Nebraska (KU beat Missouri on a neutral field in Kansas City, Mo., to close the regular season). Kansas ultimately went 8-5 and won the Insight Bowl, making it impossible to fathom at the time that those back to back road losses would evolve into a perpetual nosedive.

KU went 0-4 in Big 12 road games in 2009, Mangino’s final season. And the successors rarely came close to helping the Jayhawks put an end to the skid. Turner Gill was 0-7 leading KU into opposing Big 12 venues, Charlie Weis went 0-9, Weis’ interim replacement Clint Bowen finished 0-5 and David Beaty left the job 0-18 in road conference games.

Following the loss at Baylor, Miles finds himself 0-5 so far at KU against Big 12 competition on the road. The Jayhawks nearly killed the streak in Austin, Texas, in Miles’ first year on the job before losing a shootout, 50-48, at Texas.

This season, they still have four more chances to bury what is, per sports-reference.com, college football’s all-time worst conference road losing streak — currently six games longer than a 44-game skid Sewanee suffered through from 1931 to 1939.

KU’s remaining 2020 road dates are Oct. 17 at West Virginia, Oct. 24 at Kansas State, Nov. 7 at No. 18 Oklahoma and Dec. 5 in the regular season finale at Texas Tech.

Shortly after the program’s 50th consecutive Big 12 road loss, star running back Pooka Williams gave his assessment of what the Jayhawks have to do to be more competitive in Big 12 games outside of Lawrence.

“The first thing we’ve got to do is just put this ‘L’ behind us,” Williams said. “It happened already. And honestly go to the film and lock in the rest of this week, and don’t let a loss break us.”

KU’s Big 12 road losing streak (2008-??)

Mark Mangino era

2008

at No. 4 Oklahoma, 45-31

at Nebraska, 45-35

2009

at Colorado, 34-30

at Texas Tech, 42-21

at Kansas State, 17-10

at No. 3 Texas, 51-20

Turner Gill era

2010

at Baylor, 55-7

at Iowa State, 28-16

at No. 9 Nebraska, 20-2

2011

at No. 6 Oklahoma State, 70-28

at No. 24 Texas, 43-0

at Iowa State, 13-10

at Texas A & M, 61-7

Charlie Weis era

2012

at No. 7 Kansas State, 56-16

at No. 10 Oklahoma, 52-7

at Baylor, 41-14

at No. 25 Texas Tech, 41-34 (2OT)

at West Virginia, 59-10

2013

at TCU, 27-17

at Texas, 35-13

at No. 15 Oklahoma State, 42-6

at Iowa State, 34-0

Clint Bowen (interim)

2014

at West Virginia, 33-14

at Texas Tech, 34-21

at No. 12 Baylor, 60-14

at No. 23 Oklahoma, 44-7

at No. 11 Kansas State, 51-13

David Beaty era

2015

at Iowa State, 38-13

at No. 14 Oklahoma State, 58-10

at Texas, 59-20

at No. 15 TCU, 23-17

2016

at Texas Tech, 55-19

at No. 11 Baylor, 49-7

at No. 16 Oklahoma, 56-3

at No. 14 West Virginia, 48-21

at Kansas State, 34-19

2017

at Iowa State, 49-7

at No. 4 TCU, 44-20

at Texas, 31-24

at No. 18 Oklahoma State, 34-19

2018

at Baylor, 26-7

at No. 8 West Virginia, 38-22

at Texas Tech, 48-16

at Kansas State, 21-17

at No. 6 Oklahoma, 55-40

Les Miles era

2019

at TCU, 51-14

at No. 15 Texas, 50-48

at No. 25 Oklahoma State, 31-13

at Iowa State, 41-31

2020

at Baylor, 47-14

at West Virginia

at Kansas State

at Oklahoma

at Texas Tech

Comments

Benjamin Shear 4 weeks ago

Why did we fire Mangino again? Honestly, I really have never heard a good answer to that question.

Dale Rogers 4 weeks ago

I don't know if it's a "good answer" but the official line was verbal abuse of players. Mangino has not done particularly well since that Orange Bowl season. His last season at KU he lost the last 5 games in a row, if I recall, and has not done very well anywhere else since then.

Glen Miller 4 weeks ago

Until we have an offensive line that can sustain blocks, it's going to be very difficult to judge any of the QB's abilities. It's obvious that we're not as good along the Offensive line and nobody on our roster is Carter Stanley. The defense is taking some heat, as it should be.... but when your offense can't stay on the field long enough for them to even get a drink of water, what do you expect? It's obvious that we've got to recruit better along both lines or it's not going to matter. Not having a full offseason didn't help as we're one of the youngest teams in the Big 12 as far as experience. I didn't expect much from this season and I don't think it's time to let Miles go, either. What most people don't have the patience for is to understand it takes 4 years to see if things are going to work or not. He's got to get his recruits in here, get some continuity on his staff and build his culture. Mangino did not start winning until year 4 and the crap coaching calls we made after that set our team back a decade truthfully. You can't wave a magic wand over our situation and expect magic fairy dust to spark a bowl season. It takes time and recruiting and we are actually getting better recruits in here than we had been. Give Miles a few years to get them playing competitive ball and let's evaluate then.

Brett McCabe 4 weeks ago

It doesn’t help your offensive line when you keep juggling quarterbacks. Pick one already! You are most likely going winless, do what helps you next year.

And we better be much improved next year.

Benjamin Shear 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Agree. It seems picking the freshman would be best long term. But it seems, from my perspective as a fan, almost impossible to see which QB is best.

Chris Condren 4 weeks ago

No big story here, it has only been about 12 years since the KUAD has fielded a football team that won a conference road game. Why would the LJW write an article about this historic incompetence?

Len Shaffer 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Um, why WOULDN'T they??? Fifty is a round number, and since when has the media NOT covered a milestone, whether good or bad???

Robert Brock 3 weeks, 5 days ago

KU fired Mangino because he was just too darned mean. KU wants coaches who.are into unicorns and pixie dust.

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