You cannot overstate the importance of the Kansas 37-34 win over Texas Tech Saturday night. I know, they beat Texas Tech. I know, Tech is now 1-4 in the Big 12 along with the Jayhawks. But Kansas needs wins to show progress under new coach Les Miles. And to keep having chances to win games they needed a win soon to keep the players engaged in the season. The Jayhawks almost got a big win last week in Austin but in the end it was another disappointing loss. Moral victories don’t advance a program. You need wins in the record book. Thats why this win was big for the Jayhawks.
Players of the Game:
QB Carter Stanley was pretty good in this one. Was he perfect? No. We have seen him have much better games. Although he threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage, Stanley ended up throwing for 415 yards and three touchdowns. He was 26-for-37. All of those numbers are really good but we have seen better games. But in this game Stanley connected on a few long passes for touchdowns and that made all the difference. His arm isn’t the strongest. He scares and frustrates Kansas fans when he doesn’t catch the snap but the kid is a winner.
WR Stephon Robinson had six receptions for 186 yards and two touchdowns. One of his touchdowns was a 48-yard reception with a minute left in the first half to pull the Jayhawks to within three points at 17-14. The second touchdown was a 65-yard reception with just under four minutes remaining in the third quarter to pull the Jayhawks to within seven at 27-20. Robinson was too fast for the Red Raiders defense to cover.
The turning point in this one came when Kansas missed a game-winning field goal but then recovered a Texas Tech fumble when they tried to make a play as they thought time had expired. However, the Jayhawks landed on the ball with two seconds remaining. That gave Liam Jones another shot at the field goal which he made.
RB Pooka Williams had just 69 yards rushing on 21 carries and 24 yards receiving on two receptions but Pooka does something special for this offense. Pooka was a focus of the Texas Tech defense which eventually opened the field for Carter Stanley to pass the ball.
WR Daylon Charlot had just 16 yards on two receptions. So how does he get a good job? He had a huge first down reception on a catch a yard or two short of the line to gain on a big third down play. It looked like he would go to the ground on the catch alone but he kept his feet and then fought through two defenders to get the first down.
WR Andrew Parchment had 109 yards receiving and a touchdown on seven receptions. He made several big catches for the team.
LB Gavin Potter had a second consecutive quality game. This kid is going to be really good. Heck, he’s pretty darn good now. He had seven tackles, six of them were solo.
S Davon Ferguson tied Gavin Potter for the team lead in tackles with seven. All of his were solo tackles.
Room for Improvement:
The place kicking game needs a lot of help. There are problems on the line protecting the kick. Liam Jones came through with a big game-winning kick which had to be difficult with the tough that the defense might be getting to the ball which he has no control over. Jones seemed to be kicking the ball well. His game-winning kick came right after he had a kick blocked. So the kicking team struggled but came through to win the game.
Kansas tried to go for a deep pass on the first play from scrimmage. QB Carter Stanley was pressured and still tried to throw deep without being able to step into the throw and two defenders on the receiver. Stanley’s pass was intercepted.
Kansas seemed intent on establishing the run with Pooka Williams in the first quarter. They stayed with that longer than most would have liked. Eventually in the second quarter offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon opened up the offense and gave the keys to Carter Stanley to throw and it made all the difference. Stanley was good in this one and the passing then gave Pooka Williams more room to run inside.
Kansas hosts in-state rival Kansas State on Saturday in what is a huge game for both programs. The winner will get a huge lift. The loser takes a big mental hit. Kansas needs the game more than Kansas State but they won’t want it any more than the Wildcats. This should be a fun one!