Kansas took one step forward last week with a come-from-behind win over FCS opponent Indiana State. This week was supposed to be a second win to continue building confidence at the beginning of the Les Miles era but instead it was a giant thud. This loss served as a reminder that regardless of who is coaching Kansas right now, the talent is not there, especially on offense. The Jayhawks will need to regroup quickly because the losing trend for the past several seasons could snowball this loss into many with conference play starting soon.
Kansas took an early 7-0 lead on its first possession and appeared to be able to easily move the ball on Coastal Carolina and led 7-0 after the first quarter. But in the second quarter, Coastal Carolina took over on their own 36. Six plays later a 20-yard pass from Fred Payton to CJ Marable cut the Jayhawks lead to 7-6 because of a missed extra point but Carolina showed they could move the ball on Kansas and capitalize with points. The drive seemed to give Carolina confidence and after that they routinely moved the ball down the field.
RB Pooka Williams rushed for 99 yards on 22 carries without a ton of room made for him by the offensive line. He also had ten yards on two receptions. Most expected more from Pooka in this game but after seeing the limited space he was given in which to work it was impressive that he did what he did in this game.
Khalil Herbert rushed for 82 yards on 8 carries. He scored the Kansas lone touchdown on a 41-yard run on the Jayhawks’ first possession.
Room for Improvement:
QB Carter Stanley did not look good in this game. Two very bad decisions, including one pass that was thrown up for grabs near the end zone, led to two big interceptions that hurt the Jayhawks. It will be interesting to see if he remains the starting quarterback next week or if Miles will make a switch to Thomas MacVittie.
The offensive line failed to push around Coastal Carolina’s defense to open up the run. The Kansas running backs should be able to run on this team but Carolina’s defense was too tough. Jayhawks running backs did combine for 173 yards rushing with 43 of those yards coming on the touchdown run by Kahlil Herbert.
K Jacob Borcila missed on a 40-yard field goal at the end of the first half that would have pushed the Kansas lead to 10-7. Borcila’s miss led to Kansas going for first down in the second half instead of settling for a field goal. Miles doesn’t appear to have confidence in either of his place kickers right now.
Coaching decisions were poor in this game. Some of it is because of the limited talent on the roster, but the coaches need to take what the other team gives them much like the quarterbacks sometimes. Settling for a couple of field goals might have been enough to win this game, assuming the field goals were made which is a big assumption right now.
Down 12-7 with less than four minutes left in the third quarter, Kansas went for a fourth and 1/2 yard. Instead of handing it to Pooka they had Pooka hand it off to Andrew Parchment on a reverse and was stopped just short of the first down. If Kansas needs to run a reverse on fourth down to get 1/2 a yard against Coastal Carolina this will be a very long season.
In the first minute of the fourth quarter down 12-7 and in short field goal range, Kansas decided to skip the field goal attempt and go for the first down. However, the Jayhawks spent two timeouts sandwiched around a Coastal Carolina timeout all between third and fourth down.
Kansas travels to Boston College on Friday for their first road game of the season before returning home to open Big 12 play against West Virginia.