This loss for Kansas is a big hit to the season. It’s not the fact that they lost. It’s that the Jayhawks were completely dominated. And it wasn’t just that they were completely dominated. Had it happened against any other team it would have been miserable. The fact that it happened against Kansas State makes it miserable, embarrassing and a setback to the program in a way that it might not be able to recover from the rest of the season. Any thoughts of making a run and going to a bowl game left with the terrible performance the team put up at home.
This game shouldn’t discount the improvement Les Miles has made with the program this year. The question is can he get the team back to fight the rest of the season. That likely won’t be a problem based on what we have seen up to this point, but the team likely will finish the season at an excitement level below where it entered this game. The program took a hit today. There is no way around it. Les Miles can still be a success at Kansas, but when they say two steps forward and one step back, you can count this as two or three steps back.
RB Pooka Williams made the most of the limited space he was given by the Kansas offensive line.
RB Velton Gardner ran the ball well again in just three carries. Gardner looks like a nice piece of the puzzle for next season. Anything he does this season is just an educational opportunity on the field.
WR Stephon Robinson made some nice plays to gain 62 yards on four receptions. Sure, his receptions came in garbage time for the most part, but the plays were nice nonetheless.
S Davon Ferguson tied for the team lead in tackles with eight, seven solo tackles.
S Bryce Torneden tied Ferguson with eight tackles. He had one tackle for loss. It’s unfortunate that Torneden is a senior. He is a really good safety and appears to be a quality person. It would be nice to have him for more seasons under Les Miles.
Room for Improvement
Kansas struggled all day with its run defense. They were not able to contain Skylar Thompson. All different kinds of runs were effective against the Jayhawks. The option gained a lot of yards for the Wildcats. I often complain about defensive coordinators not willing to apply more pressure on the quarterback but in this game it likely would not have mattered. Kansas just doesn’t have the athletes to handle the Kansas State run game. Many teams can’t stop it as long as Skylar Thompson is running the offense.
QB Carter Stanley was not on the same page with his receivers most of the day and wasn’t seeing the defense well as he threw multiple passes right at Wildcat defenders. This was a very disappointing game for Carter Stanley. Sure, he was rushed a lot and that probably caused a lot of the poor decisions, but even when he had time he often threw off of his back foot and the throws were not what we have been used to seeing from him.
The Kansas offensive line did not protect Carter Stanley well. He didn’t have much time to pass a lot of times. The line didn’t do much for the Kansas running game either. Kansas State was just better on both sides of the line and it really caused the Kansas offense to struggle because of it.
Kansas has a bye next weekend before they travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma to play the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Kansas will need to regroup quickly or this game will be another blowout. The Jayhawks can still save their season but a good showing in Stillwater will be important.