In the big picture of things this wasn’t a bad game for the Kansas Jayhawks. Not much is expected this season other than improvement in play, not necessarily resulting in wins, and a change in mindset. Coach Les Miles wants to instill an attitude of playing physical and being tougher than their opponent. The Jayhawks already look better than at any point in the past several seasons.
While the Jayhawks played West Virginia tough, it was a disappointing loss since it was likely the Jayhawks’ best chance to win a conference game. That doesn’t mean they won’t win a Big 12 game. It’s just that a win outside of this game will be much more of a surprise. This game, although a 4.5 point underdog, was a game the Jayhawks could reasonably been picked to win.
A Carter Stanley interception in the fourth quarter led to a West Virginia touchdown that gave the Mountaineers their first double-digit lead.
This game was close most of the way. Kansas cut the West Virginia lead to 20-17 on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Carter Stanley to Andrew Parchment. After Kansas allowed a 12 play drive by West Virginia that ended in a field goal, the Jayhawks turned the ball over on the Stanley interception just four plays later. West Virginia turned that into a 12 play drive that used up 5:36 and ended in a touchdown to go up 29-17.
Carter Stanley did have a tough interception that really hurt but had a nice game outside of that. He went 19-for-25 for 275 yards and three touchdowns in addition to the one interception. He was also looking to run more and went for 39 yards on eight carries. He had several big runs for the Jayhawks on their first possession of the second half that ended in a field goal to get to within seven points.
Andrew Parchment had another nice game. He ended with 132 yards receiving on five receptions. That is an average of over 26 yards per completion. He also had two touchdowns. One touchdown came on a 75-yard pass near the end of the third quarter to bring the Jayhawks to within three points after a West Virginia field goal.
Room for Improvement:
Kansas has a pretty good defense but they struggled against West Virginia getting off the field on third down (9-for-18 for West Virginia). The Mountaineers were able to extend drives and therefore dominate the time of possession 37:41 to 22:19.
The offense had two turnovers in this game. The defense did not force any turnovers. So, -2 in the turnover department and an inability to get off the field on defense on third down makes it tough for Kansas to beat anyone right now.
Carter Stanley still needs to get better with decision making and having a better feel for the pass rush. He’s going to struggle in some of the games Kansas plays against teams with a good pass rush. He sometimes holds on to the ball too long allowing the defensive pressure to get to him.
Second guessing in this game came directly from Les Miles. There appears to be disagreement between Miles and offensive coordinator Les Koenning. When asked about Carter Stanley’s play as he left the field after the first half, Miles said that Stanley did everything they asked him to do and that they needed to ask him to do different things. I will follow this but right now I would expect a change at offensive coordinator for 2020. Remember, Koenning was hired to replace Chip Lindsey who left Kansas shortly after being hired to take the head coaching job at Troy. Expect Miles to look for his guy after the season if Miles and Koenning cannot get on the same page.
Kansas travels to Fort Worth next Saturday to play TCU. TCU was upset by SMU at home Saturday 41-38 for their first loss of the season.