Kansas Football Gets Run Over by Baylor, 49-7

In our preview of the game against Baylor, we indicated the play of Ryan Willis and the offense would be extremely important. How did the game compare to the preview?

Was the KU defense able to throttle the Bears high-powered offense? The defense wasn’t going to stop the Bears, but they definitely slowed down Baylor and kept the score from being even uglier. Shock Linwood only had 46 yards on 10 carries, well below his average per game and per carry. Seth Russell had a completion percentage less than 50% (9 of 22) and 144 yards through the air. While those stats sound impressive, both players watched the second half after building the large halftime lead.

Overall, Baylor was held to 429 yards of offense, well below their season average. While the KU defense should get some credit for holding the Bears, 284 yards of offense came in the first half when the starters were still playing. In the first half, 140 yards came on the ground and 144 yards through the air. It was very balanced as expected.

Even though the defense was facing second and third string players in the second half, they continued to play hard and held Baylor to only seven points in the second half. That included some big stops and was aided by the Bears inability to make field goals. While the defense probably didn’t play well enough for a win, they weren’t the main reason for the lopsided loss.

Did Ryan Willis play to his potential? In short, he played well below his potential. Each time the offense had a positive play, it was followed by an interception. On the Jayhawks first drive, he threw a long cross field throw right to Bear Ryan Reed who returned it for a 64-yard touchdown.

Two more interceptions followed as he threw behind receiver Bobby Hartzog on one and into double coverage of Steven Sims on another. Another bad turnover occurred just trying to get the ball to Willis. Center Joe Gibson hit his own backside on a snap and Baylor recovered the fumble on the Jayhawk 4 yard line. On the next play, Baylor ran it into the end zone.

On the third drive of the second half, Carter Stanley relieved Willis at quarterback and drove the team 69 yards for Kansas only touchdown. The drive was capped by a Khalil Herbert rushing touchdown. Two drives later, Stanley threw an interception returned to the Jayhawk 13 where Stanley made the touchdown saving tackle. While Stanley was slightly more effective than Willis, he was not playing against Baylor’s first string defense.

The five turnovers moved KU to the nation’s worst at turnovers with 22 total on the season. If Coach David Beaty can’t find a way for the Jayhawks to hold onto the ball, they have little chance at notching a win the rest of the season.

Scoring is very important against Baylor. Did the defense or the return game help put points on the board? In order to get a win, KU needed a few bounces to go their way. They didn’t get points from the defense or much of anything from the return game. But the MVP of the game may be KU punter Cole Moos who had punts of 82 yards and 73 yards thanks to some friendly bounces. The 82 yarder was the fifth longest in Kansas history. Even with those two long punts, he only averaged 46.3 yards on six punts.

Kansas also got a break in the scoring margin thanks to Baylor missing all three field goals they attempted. All three were hooked badly left with each attempt worse than the previous attempt. The longest attempt was 48 yards with the other two misses coming from 34 and 36 yards.

Bottom Line. This game was over early thanks to a quick score by Baylor and the pick six from Willis on the next drive. Both the offense and defensive lines were dominated by the Bears. Complete lack of execution by the offense put the Jayhawks in a 42-0 hole at halftime and the game was effectively over. This loss also was the 38th consecutive road loss surpassing Wichita State’s 37 between 1964-1971. Next week, the Jayhawks are home against Oklahoma State with an 11am kickoff.

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