Offensive ineptitude keeps Kansas from having a chance vs. Texas Tech
When you’re talking about a team in the midst of a five-game losing streak, the old chicken-or-the-egg question seems a little irrelevant.
After all, a loss is a loss, bad is bad and searching for silver linings is a waste of time. In KU’s case, week after week, the question sounds something like this: Which hurts first, the offense or the defense?
On Saturday, during a 41-14 homecoming loss to Texas Tech, it was the offense. And that’s the way things have been trending of late.
Sweet uniforms. Gorgeous day. No life on offense.
For what it’s worth, there’s probably no wrong answer here. But, at the risk of stating the obvious, you’ve got to score to be in a football game. KU has now done that exactly three times in its last eight quarters of football. And two of those scores came during Saturday’s final minute, when back-up QB Miles Kendrick led touchdown drives against a bunch of Red Raiders second and third stringers.
By then, the damage had been done. And even though Kendrick looked pretty crisp, it’s hard to say it mattered much in the big picture.
The Jayhawks should, though, be commended for fighting to the end. That, too, doesn’t mean much to most people. But it’s something that head coach Lance Leipold demands and believes needs to become a permanent part of the culture in this latest attempt at a turnaround. So, huzzah to that.
I’ve always been a big believer in the idea that defense wins, and countless teams — even at Kansas — have proven that to be true over the years.
But I also think there’s validity to the idea that offense keeps you in games. An effective offense also helps out a defense.
On Saturday, the Kansas offense did neither, even though there were plenty of opportunities to do both.
Despite the final score, this was not one of those brutal bludgeonings where the Jayhawks were outclassed from start to finish.
They had chances to score points, sustain drives and stay in the game. But the offense was unable to do it.
Quarterback Jason Bean continued to show that facing Big 12 defenses is a different animal. Consider his numbers against KU’s three non-conference foes compared to his numbers against Big 12 opponents.
Against South Dakota, Coastal Carolina and Duke, Bean completed 48 of 81 passes for 675 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He also added two rushing touchdowns in those three games.
Against Baylor, Iowa State and now Texas Tech, Bean has completed 29 of 58 passes for 257 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Add to that no rushing touchdowns and just 10 carries for 33 yards in the past two games combined, and you’re starting to see the point.
So much of KU’s hopes on offense are tied to Bean. Not only does he have to make good reads and get guys the ball, but he also has to be good enough through the air to open things up for the Kansas rushing attack, therein giving KU better balance and more of a chance.
None of what’s above are light-the-world-on-fire types of numbers. And Bean certainly should not be expected to change the funk that KU is currently in all by himself. But in this conference, against nine other teams who entered Saturday averaging 35.1 points per game, the offense has to find a way to keep up.
If it can’t, well, it won’t matter what the defense does then.
Welcome to the current conundrum for Kansas football. Maybe the question shouldn’t be which side of the ball hurts first, but rather which one will get better first?