Kansas State defeats Kansas, 45-14

  • 3 p.m., Nov. 28, 2015
  • David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Nothing to show for it: Season comes and goes without a KU victory

Kansas State fullback Winston Dimel (38) runs through an arm tackle by Kansas junior safety Fish Smithson (9) during the annual Sunflower Showdown game Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas State fullback Winston Dimel (38) runs through an arm tackle by Kansas junior safety Fish Smithson (9) during the annual Sunflower Showdown game Saturday at Memorial Stadium.


One of the worst Bill Snyder teams since the turn of the century walked into Memorial Stadium on a cold, dreary Saturday afternoon needing a victory against its Sunflower State rival to keep its bowl hopes alive.

There waiting on the other sideline was a familiar, old friend — mistake-prone and overmatched Kansas.

As has become customary in this one-sided rivalry, Kansas State jumped all over the Jayhawks early and barely even had to break a sweat en route to a 45-14, run-away victory in front of an announced crowd of 23,842, half of which was wearing purple. 

The win pulled the Wildcats (5-6 overall, 2-6 Big 12) to within a game of becoming bowl eligible and proved to be the final stamp on one of the most forgettable KU seasons in the 115-year history of the program.

Kansas finished 0-12 overall and 0-9 in the Big 12, becoming just the second team in school history to finish a season winless (1954) and the first Big 12 team to fail to win a game since the inception of the conference in 1996.

“I'm certainly not proud of it,” first-year KU coach David Beaty said after Saturday's loss. “It isn't something you think about. But we don't have time to dwell on it. It is what it is. We had our opportunities. We had 12 opportunities to go out there and put a team on the field that could win the game. We had plenty in that locker room to get it done. And for whatever reason we weren't able to coach them good enough or maybe they weren't able to play good enough.”

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

David Beaty 'embarrassed' by KU's winless season

First-year Kansas football coach David Beaty speaks with media members following the Jayhawks' 12th and final loss of the 2015 season, against Kansas State. KU went winless in Beaty's first year, and the coach said he was both embarrassed and motivated by those results.

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These Jayhawks, who lost their dirty dozen by an average of 31 points, dropped all but two games this season by double digits and suffered through seven losses of 31 points or more.

The latest loss to Kansas State — Bill Snyder's 20th victory in 24 tries against the Jayhawks — served as a microcosm for most of the season's setbacks. The individual plays and small statistics meant very little compared to the big picture.

Looked at under a microscope, Saturday's loss was not as lopsided as the final score suggests. K-State out-gained Kansas 363-315, recorded just five more first downs and actually had a worse conversion percentage on third down, 47 percent to 41 percent.

But, as has been the case for years in this rivalry, the Wildcats committed fewer penalties (5-1), limited their mistakes and did nothing to leave the door open for KU to come crashing through.

“They're a really well-coached team and they don't beat themselves,” junior safety Fish Smithson said of K-State. “They play smart football.”

Kansas struggled to do that on Saturday and it cost them big-time.

Before the Jayhawks could so much as entertain the idea of competing with — let alone upsetting — their in-state rival, a pair of huge miscues in the punting game put Kansas in a 28-7 first-quarter hole and the home team never really threatened after that.

The first came when punter Matthew Wyman flat-out dropped the snap after Kansas started the game with a three-and-out. Wyman was rocked by the KSU punt rush and the Wildcats took over at the KU 12. One Winston Dimel run later, K-State led 7-0.

Kansas tied the game at 7 on what was really their only impressive drive of the game, when quarterback Ryan Willis hit senior Tre' Parmalee with a 27-yard TD with 11:15 to play in the first quarter. That was where KU's ability to keep up with Snyder and company ended. Dimel scored on a 1-yard run to cap K-State's second offensive series, and Sam Sizelove's block of a second Wyman punt attempt ended with Morgan Burns recovering the loose ball for a touchdown in the end zone.

Just like that, KSU led 21-7 and the lead ballooned to 35-7 by halftime.

“It absolutely affected (us),” Beaty said of the early punting problems. “But we had a lot of football left to go. That's not an excuse, but realistically, did it? Absolutely. I think it played a big role in that game early.”

And so ended a season in which Kansas and Beaty were forced to deal with some of the most damning and detrimental obstacles thrown at a KU team in recent memory.

The Jayhawks played with just over 60 scholarship players, nearly a full recruiting class short of the allowed limit of 85. Injuries knocked KU's top three quarterbacks from the lineup, forcing Beaty and offensive coordinator Rob Likens to turn to true freshman Willis much earlier than anyone would have liked. And players who arrived in Lawrence as walk-ons just happy to get a chance to suit up at the Big 12 level became starters and valuable members of the rotation.

There were close calls, spirited efforts and impressive quarters. But they were few and far between. Whether you were talking Saturday's sad showing against a sub-.500 team or previous losses to top-10 teams with College Football Playoff aspirations, the Jayhawks were heavy underdogs week in and week out and often played like it.

All of those highs and lows led to the perfect completion of the imperfect season and, finally, on Saturday, a series of questions about the goose egg in the win column.

“I think it just speaks for itself,” said senior tailback Taylor Cox. “There's nothing you can really say. We'd love to get some of those games back that were close, but you can't. You just have to learn from it.”

Added Smithson, who was asked if he saw a season like this coming: “No. Never in a million years. It's frustrating, because we put all that work in and we don't have any wins to show for it.” 

— See what people were saying about the Sunflower Showdown during’s live coverage

More news and notes from the 2015 Sunflower Showdown


Matt Spitzli 7 years, 2 months ago

I believe this is what they call "rock bottom."

I couldn't even bring myself to watch a game this year -- and I've been a devoted KU football fan for the last ten.

A disgrace!

Lance Cheney 7 years, 2 months ago

Not very "devoted" if you couldn't even watch one game this year. And if you've only been a fan for the last 10 years, that means you only started watching them when they were good.

W Keith Swinehart II 7 years, 2 months ago

Your attendance record illustrates much of the problem; lack of support. It's hard to watch a rebuild if one only sees the failures. Look for learning and improvement. Manage the expectations. Take a longer term view.

We've got a good foundation. Go with it, have patience and enjoy the process.

Charlie Gaughn 7 years, 2 months ago

We hit rock bottom after Weis ran 29 players and tried to replace them with 5th year senior transfers and juco players. That's why we're winless. The program is actually on the upswing as long as Beaty doesn't succumb to pressure to pull the "quick fix" with similar recruiting moves. We need freshman recruits and eventually build a redshirt program. If all of those true freshman playing right now had redshirted for a year it would've been a different team.

I'll say it again, Zenger should be terminated for standing by and letting Weis decimate a program to the level he did. In the big 12, like it or not, the AD's main job is to build a football program. Instead, we've managed the least number of wins, in the four year period since Zenger was hired, of any four year stretch in school history. That includes seasons where the teams only played 8 or 9 games.

WEF donors need to make it clear that we don't appreciate our contributions to pay off guaranteed contracts to the likes of Weis. That was a historically bad hire and Zenger needs to be held accountable.

Edward Daub 7 years, 2 months ago

Charlie, good points but Zenger can only be held accountable by his immediate boss (if he has one).

David Williams 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree (as noted below) w/your Zenger sentiments. He really has not done anything during his time in Lawrence except implode Football w/the Weis hire. I do hope donors (esp those who made the facilities happen as well as WEF participants as a whole) step forward and demand the resignation of Zenger. One could get the impression that the administration is almost intent on sending the University of Kansas to a non-Power-5 conference existence. The brand is damaged, although can be repaired if proper steps are taken as soon as possible. Hard to take the University seriously as an institution right now...most people nationally respect KU, although the way it has been and is being run is making people shake their collective heads. Based on what we have seen during the past seven years, one could argue that KU does not deserve to belong in a P5 conference. The 2007-2008 year was a great one because BOTH MBB and FB had significant post-season success. Will KU ever see that again? At the moment, the thought makes me laugh.

Marius Rowlanski 7 years, 1 month ago

We are number 123 in CBS's top 125...and we are on the upswing??

Charlie Gaughn 7 years, 1 month ago

Football is a dynamic sport. To the casual fan, they look at wins and losses and base their opinion on that. Or some kind of national statistical poll. If you really follow the game you'll see subtle changes as seasons progress. This was the most positive season we've had since Mangino was fired even though the record doesn't support it. Stay tuned Marius.

Matt Spitzli 7 years, 2 months ago

I may not be a very good fan, sure. But I just can't bring myself to watch my jayhawks get absolutely trounced by mediocre teams, over and over, knowing beforehand it's going to happen. It's unpleasant. It ticks me off. I can find better ways to spend my Saturdays.

We're a power five program. We were, quite possibly, the worst football team in the entire FBS this year. Recent years haven't been much better. I'm glad some of you are more patient than I.

Michael Lorraine 7 years, 2 months ago

Definitely the worst P5 team, not just this year but this decade but not the worst D1 team. The Bottom 10 ranking has us just ahead of Central Florida but after playing a season in the Big 12 I bet there are 10 or 12 D1 teams we could beat.

David Williams 7 years, 2 months ago

It really is truly an absolute disgrace, all self-inflicted. Substantial damage to the KU brand, and makes the University appear frivolous and out of place at the P5 conference level.

Why FB has not been historically a priority for the Athletic Department has always been a mystery to me. What does the administration not get about the importance of FB as a revenue sport, and a key driver of athletics overall? Yes, the donors recently contributed the funds to build the new facilities, although they did so with the expectation that the inherent product on the field would remain at least at a bowl-eligible level.

The principal reason for Zenger's hire was that he was brought in to address this issue re FB. He addressed it alright - completely destroyed it with the Weis hire. He needs to go...he cannot take credit for any other sport's success because the coaches were already in place before he arrived. This was the one area that he was supposed to get right...and that has not happened.

To be clear, I am not advocating bringing in another AD to clean house re FB - yet. What I am advocating is that there needs to be accountability for this fiasco, and it is easy to see the root cause of the current problem and where lies the responsibility.

Humpy Helsel 7 years, 2 months ago

One previous comment and it came 16 minutes ago? Well, not surprised. That was painful. I was listening to the game on the radio in the car and one of the announcers starts talking about the punter possibly having trouble handling the snap and in the wet and cold. OK. He has to talk about something. Then, it actually happens two seconds later! I'd just watched TCU and Baylor play in a driving rainstorm the previous night. And, yes, there were fumbles and drops. But, dang, it wasn't that bad out there today. And then, to turn right around and have a punt blocked. It was if you could hear the KSU fans laughing their asses off. High school teams can punt! Sadly, I'm afraid it isn't just physical tools and the type of players who can play D-1 Big 12 (10) football, but a "losers" mentality. That is as low as a football program can go. Again, don't go talking another coach. This is our guy and I am just glad anyone would be willing to choose to stay in this grave yard of a football program. Right now, I'm hanging onto the fact a once proud Washington Huskies team went 0-12 not that long ago. They are going to a bowl this year. Maybe that can be us. With that said, let's put our KU gear on and go to a basketball game. I hope we beat K-State so bad in basketball. I hope we do some serious beat down on the Purple Punks. Since we don't have Mizzou to kick around any more, K-State will have to do.

Dale Rogers 7 years, 2 months ago

Our guys may not have the "wins to show for it" but they should have the pride of knowing they gave it their all and they never let down. Far, far better than the prior season's team in that respect. These guys never quit in the second half. Regardless how bad this year's results look on paper and, unfortunately, in the past two games, I think we're a baby step on the road to respectability. It will take time, but we're going to get there.

Marc Frey 7 years, 2 months ago

I am sad we did not get even one win this year, but we were warned about the issues coming into this season. This paragraph sums up this year: "The Jayhawks played with just over 60 scholarship players, nearly a full recruiting class short of the allowed limit of 85. Injuries knocked KU's top three quarterbacks from the lineup, forcing Beaty and offensive coordinator Rob Likens to turn to true freshman Willis much earlier than anyone would have liked. And players who arrived in Lawrence as walk-ons just happy to get a chance to suit up at the Big 12 level became starters and valuable members of the rotation."

Stan Anderson 7 years, 2 months ago

Seriously we had only 12 walks suit up? What happened to Coach Jackson's goal to suit up 100 players? If the kids are not responding well to his training (and motivational techniques) and are not ready to suit up. Its time to get a new strength coach (and staff).

Coaches never tried when it came to "developing players" they just gave up on both scholarship kids and walk-ons. We had some serious Texas talent not suited up. It pretty much says to both Kansas and Texas recruits don't come here.

Coaches do not have the skills to coach 60 kids, let alone a roster of 115 kids. How can we pay them for coaching a D1 team if they can't coach the numbers? We needs coaches capable of doing this at the D1 level. Start by firing the god awful coaches who coach the DBs, safeties, D-line, running backs, and special teams and get rid of the strength coach (clearly has no skills to positively develop and motivate young players). Like Coach Beaty said. We have the talent. We just couldn't put it on the field. That responsibility starts with the coaches.

Edward Daub 7 years, 2 months ago

As Patrick Henry once said, "give me liberty or give me death!" Lets play one more game against Liberty in Lynchburg on Christmas Day. Turner Gill's Flames missed the playoffs with a 6-5 record. They lost to WVU 41-17, but beat Presbyterian. I think we can take them!

John Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

Where is the improvement? The coaching staff kept saying that they were getting better every week. After the game against an uninspired TCU team, the coaching staff said that it was starting to click. That the players were starting to "get it". It was hard to see any improvement in the last two games. Why was this question not asked in the post game interview with the head coach? Why does the media continue to throw soft ball questions, to a head coach who wants to do nothing but blow sunshine.

Len Shaffer 7 years, 1 month ago

"… proved to be the final stamp on one of the most forgettable KU seasons in the 115-year history of the program …"

Sadly, I think this season will actually be quite memorable. Horrible and forgettable are not the same thing ...

Marius Rowlanski 7 years, 1 month ago

You wordsmith Len...I thought KU football was a bottom feeder when I was at KU 77-82. Didn't realize we were still on the continental shelf.

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