This was the first game of the Les Miles era at Kansas. The team needed a win to get the transition off to a positive start.
Player of the Game:
WR Andrew Parchment had eight receptions for 121 yards in his first game at Kansas. Parchment was Carter Stanley’s favorite target in the game. In addition to his success receiving the ball Saturday, Parchment also threw a completed pass after receiving a toss from quarterback Carter Stanley on a reverse on a two-point conversion attempt late in the game to put the Jayhawks ahead by seven points.
CB Hasan Defense put Kansas up 6-0 with a pick-6 on Indiana State’s first possession of the game. After an Indiana state fourth down conversion and then a seven yard run on first down, Sycamores quarterback Ryan Boyle made a bad pass that was easily intercepted by Defense and he returned it for a 57-yard touchdown. The score gave Kansas their first score of the season and took some pressure off the team as they tried to win their first game for new head coach Les Miles.
QB Carter Stanley completed 20 of 29 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns for a 58.3 QBR. Stanley gave his receivers an opportunity to make plays and they did that more often than not. Although Stanley was late with a few passes it was overall a positive performance for the Senior quarterback. After the game Les Miles said that Stanley did enough to be the starting quarterback in the team’s next game.
WR Daylon Charlot had six receptions for 79 yards an a touchdown. He was big in the Jayhawks’ final scoring drive with less than five minutes left in the game and down one point. On that final drive Charlot had a 26-yard reception to put Kansas on the positive side of the fifty. He then caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Stanley to give the Jayhawks the win.
LB Dru Prox led Kansas with nine tackles, eight of them solo tackles, with one sack. Prox had a big sack for a 12 yard loss on a third-and-three for Indiana State on the Kansas 31 with 8:20 left in the game and the Jayhawks up just 16-10. The sack stopped an Indiana State march down the field that took them from their own 15 to the Kansas 31 in just six plays.
Room for Improvement:
The offensive line struggled blocking for Khalil Herbert and Dom Williams against an FCS opponent. Les Miles had talked glowingly about the offensive line prior to the first game. The running game was expected to be a strength of the team but it was disappointing in this game. We’ll see how much having Pooka Williams back next week will help the line.
K Liam Jones was just 1-for-2 on field goals and 1-for-2 on extra points. The field goal was from 49-yards so that was excusable although he had the distance but just pulled it right. Jones can make that field goal and the Jayhawks will need every makable field goal they can get this season. The miss that could have cost the team the win was on the Jayhawks’ second touchdown. That put Kansas up just 16-3 instead of 17-3.
Although Kansas’ strength on offense entering the season was expected to be their rushing attack, the offensive line had trouble creating holes for Khalil Herbert and Dom Williams most of the day. Carter Stanley showed last season that he can throw the ball and the offense moved more in that direction than expected. The passing game opened things up and allowed Kansas to move the ball with a more balanced attack.
Kansas will play Coastal Carolina in Lawrence next Saturday, September 7, at 6:00pm. Although attendance improved during the game today and ended up being officially just under 33,000, I would expect a better figure next week.