Memphis defeats Kansas, 43-7

  • 11 a.m., Sept. 17, 2016
  • Memphis, Tenn.,

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Roadkill: Jayhawks dismantled in Memphis, 43-7

Kansas quarterback Ryan Willis (13) and offensive lineman D'Andre Banks (62) lower their heads in dejection after a Memphis player recovered a Willis fumble running it down the field during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn.

Kansas quarterback Ryan Willis (13) and offensive lineman D'Andre Banks (62) lower their heads in dejection after a Memphis player recovered a Willis fumble running it down the field during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn.


— The Kansas football team took its traveling road show of horrors to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Saturday, and the seven-year long spectacle refused to die. Capitalizing on KU drives that went nowhere and an array of Jayhawk giveaways, Memphis dismantled the visitors, 43-7, extending the program’s losing streak away from Lawrence to 39 games.

The Kansas offense set an inept tone in the first quarter, losing fumbles on three of its first four drives after opening with a three-and-out and its first of seven punts. Already trailing 7-0 by their second drive, the Jayhawks (1-2) helped out Memphis (2-0) with its first of three first-half fumbles — and don’t forget a second-quarter interception for good measure. Starting quarterback Montell Cozart couldn’t handle a snap from new starting center Jacob Bragg (playing due to injuries to starter Joe Gibson and backup Mesa Ribordy) and Memphis tackle Michael Edwards recovered a loose ball 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

The KU offense kept on giving from there in the first half. When backup QB Ryan Willis took over, as scheduled, for the third series, long receptions by Khalil Herbert and LaQuvionte Gonzalez ultimately meant next to nothing after Willis stepped up in the pocket on second-and-10 at the Memphis 25-yard line and coughed the ball up to Jonathan Cook when hit by Shareef White.

“He put his helmet right on the ball and it just kind of popped up. I have to get better at ball security,” said Willis, the sophomore who completed nine of 13 throws for 80 yards while playing more than expected in the wake of a bad outing from Cozart, “but it’s the game of football. Those things happen. You just have to learn from it, grow from it and start looking toward next week.”

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Postgame: David Beaty on 43-7 loss at Memphis

Kansas football coach David Beaty answers questions following his team's 43-7 loss at Memphis, which moved the Jayhawks to 1-2.

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Although the Kansas defense held the Tigers to field goals following both those turnovers, the unit could only extinguish so many self-inflicted fires. More came in the second quarter, when Cozart, who played far better in the previous two games, gift-wrapped Memphis takeaways on back-to-back possessions in the final minutes of the half.

First, on the move on third-and-long, Cozart simply lost his grip on the football, and when he did Michael Edwards happily picked it up.

“I know the fumble that I had,” Cozart said, “we was working that play all week — doing a little shovel, fake shovel — and did it in the game and the ball just slipped right out of my hand.”

Next, Cozart — who finished 13-for-22 passing, with 87 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns — dropped back to throw on the first play of a would-be drive and carelessly lofted a pass toward a crowd near the line of scrimmage on a long-developing play for tight end Ben Johnson. Tigers freshman tackle Jonathan Wilson met the surprise in the air, and ran 61 yards the other direction for a touchdown, setting up a 33-7 Memphis lead at halftime.

Second-year KU coach David Beaty, who said after the loss he didn’t think he ever had experienced a game in which his team turned the ball over six times before this one, said the Tigers’ pick-six was just one of many examples of the Jayhawks holding themselves back.

“We always talk about not putting the ball in jeopardy and it’s always a better option to live to play another down than it is to throw a ball up,” Beaty said.

However, Cozart said the Jayhawks’ fundamentals kept breaking down as they tried to make plays to ignite some semblance of a rally.

Two more turnovers came in the fourth quarter — a second ill-advised Cozart throw for an interception and a Steven Sims Jr. fumble.

“Once you get into the game,” Cozart said, “and start having those turnovers, you try to fight your way back and sometimes you just kind of compound it by having more turnovers. But that was definitely the biggest thing out there, and it showed.”

KU made its lone small scrape into the Memphis lead in the second quarter, when freshman Herbert (team-high 75 rushing yards on six carries) took off for a 66-yard touchdown run on third-and-one. However, the Kansas offense produced nothing but punts and turnovers the remainder of the game after getting as close as 19-7.

Said Beaty: “At that point in time I thought that gave us the momentum we needed to kind of get jump-started. And we wound up not being able to utilize it the way that we needed to.”

The Kansas defense couldn’t be blamed for that, though. Memphis did prevail in total offense, 394-314, but time after time in the first half the Tigers started drives in KU territory. Five Memphis possessions on the right side of the 50-yard line netted a field goal (KU 32-yard line), a field goal (KU 29), a punt (KU 48), a touchdown (KU 29) and a turnover on downs (KU 41).

“When the defense is out there,” linebacker Marcquis Roberts said, “I call us the firefighters. We’ve gotta put out the fire, no matter what position we’re in.”

Indeed, Beaty said KU’s turnovers spoiled a good outing from the defense, which was led by defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr.’s three tackles for loss (two sacks). Both Roberts and defensive back Marnez Ogletree led the team with five solo tackles and one pass breakup apiece.

Still, as the 34,448 in attendance witnessed, KU often finds itself in learning mode on Saturdays. Beaty said the subject material too often already should’ve been mastered.

“I still think we have a pretty good football team,” Beaty offered. “If we can just get out of our own way.”

— See what people were saying about KU's matchup against Memphis during’s live coverage

More news and notes from the loss against Memphis


Armen Kurdian 5 years, 11 months ago

You just want to keep hoping and hoping that they don't keep having performances like this. These are very fundamental errors. So much of what is failing is just football 101. I'm not going to call for anyone's firing. I just have no idea how to fix a broken program like this one.

David Kemp 5 years, 11 months ago

Fundamentals that should have been learned in spring and summer camp, too late now if you can't execute them. Like trying to fix your golf swing while you are playing!

David Kemp 5 years, 11 months ago

Benton you are much too kind, roadkill, dismantled traveling road show of horrors, seven year spectacle, these words only describe what you can print, it's not legal to write what you really think.

Chuck Wagstaff 5 years, 11 months ago

Really stupid football - continuing the tradition, I guess.

Jeff Soisson 5 years, 11 months ago

Dismantled??? Headline should have been 'Jayhawks soundly defeat Jayhawks in Memphis'.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 11 months ago

Things to do over the next 11 days: Name Willis the starter, give him all the "1" reps and use the time to rebuild his confidence. (Also, leave him in for every offensive play of every game unless he gets to 3 INT's.) Replace this year's O.C. with last year's O.C. Work on seam routes and the downfield game. Focus hard on run game adjustments. Rip out all pages in the playbook that include a zero pass.

Doug Roberts 5 years, 11 months ago

I agree with most of the things you said, but not your politics. This is a sports site. Please keep politics out of it. This is one of the few places I feel I can go to get away from the insanity of politics.

Tim Quest 5 years, 11 months ago

You are literally the only person who brought politics into it.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 11 months ago

I make it a personal rule not to make political posts on this site - not sure what you are referencing.

Humpy Helsel 5 years, 11 months ago

Please, do this poor kid a favor and tell him his QB days are over and move him to a more suited position. I know he is a great kid, and his teammates love him, but dang. There are practice players and there are game day players. I actually thought Carter Stanley seemed to understand the Air Raid offense the best of the three. Get the ball out of your hands quickly! He seemed more comfortable in the offense than either Cozart or Willis. Both of them seem like they want to be classic drop back passers. We cannot protect the QB long enough for that. You can argue the game was out of hand and they had their subs in once Stanley went in. True. But still, Carter Stanley looked comfortable, poised and acted like he'd run this offense before.

Kudos to the defense. The score completely belies how well they played, overall. They were under fire all day, and for the most part, the offense put them there.

Jeremy D. Morris 5 years, 11 months ago

I am behind Beaty and think he can turn this thing around but he must deal with Cozart's lack of production. Could some member of the media please ask Beaty "At one point does game performance (or lack thereof) trump how well a player performs during practice in terms of playing time?"

Kevin Robert Fest 5 years, 11 months ago

This is what I was afraid of after last season that Cozart would get another look and now that he has I'm still shaking my head. He is not a decisive quarterback against South Dakota State when he fumbled the ball and then tried to down it with his knee on the ground that's when I knew and nothing that he has done this year has given me any confidence in the kid. If I turn on the Texas Tech game and he is in there for even one series I will turn off the TV and not watch another game this year. Does Beatyy even realize that he's coaching for his job he has gotten the numbers up and better players and yet the program has not progressed one iota from last year I realize it's still a new coaching staff and system and the kids are young but at this point you have to start wondering if they're already flatlining. The players come out flat against Ohio dropped passes fumbles mental errors no football fundamentals whatsoever. You can have speed and quickness and have god-given natural ability but you still have to teach fundamentals and it doesn't look like anybody on this team has on offense defense or special teams.

David Kemp 5 years, 11 months ago

Well said. In spite of news that team is faster stronger bigger and has more talent, they look worse than last year particularly offense. Mistakes are numerous and often. We will see what kind of coach Beaty is when he tells us who the qb will be for tech

Bill Kackley 5 years, 11 months ago

I feel it is time for the head coach to fire himself as OC and other duties and stick with being the head coach. It is also time to give Stanley Carter the reins of the football team, move # 2 to wide receiver and use Willis as back up. I think Beaty can be a very good head coach but he doesn't know jack about being an OC. The AD needs to make this clear to him or be fired himself. Also all the stupid motion penalties can't go unpunished. 30 runs up campanille hill should do the trick.

Bryce Landon 5 years, 11 months ago

The scary thing about this game is that Kansas should have lost by a lot more than they did. If you replace two of UM's field goals with touchdowns, and they make the 2-point conversion in the second quarter, that 43-7 score would be a halftime score!

Dennis Mahorney 5 years, 11 months ago

Many great points made by the commenters on this site. I would add, that the recievers seem lost fundamentally. After dropping catchable balls, they clap thier hands enthusiastically and head back to the huddle, like there will simply be another chance. Too many passes behind the line of scrimmage that took too long to develop. Add up the lost yardage from those throws. We often seem like we are at training camp level fundamentally, while the other team is beginning to hit it's stride. We can't continue to say, "We need to coach them up." The other teams are coached up. I don't know why we are so horrid fundamentally.

David Kemp 5 years, 11 months ago

If a team knows all your plays develop in 4 yards or less they can put all 11 players near the box and crowd. Must run vertical plays off play action or rollouts.

Jay Scott 5 years, 11 months ago

Memphis has better players. They have a full complement of scholarship talent. Beaty does not. Vegas set the over/under on wins at 1.5. Thats because that was realistic. Regardless, they're kids.....

Dennis Mahorney 5 years, 11 months ago

I guess to catch a football you need to have a full bench... and I suppose Memphis was stocked with non kids.

Mike Pressgrove 5 years, 10 months ago

I have see a lot of bad football over the last 6 years, but I was at the game in Memphis Saturday and the interception that Cozart threw was probably the worst I have ever seen. He continues to prove he is not a reliable QB, especially on the road. He must be an amazing practice player and I am sure the other players really like him, but enough already!

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