The key: KU’s defense was sound except for one first-quarter play: Anthony Miller caught a deep pass down the left sideline and zigzagged his way to an 84-yard touchdown reception. It was the longest catch of his career.
The key: Trying to escape pressure, Montell Cozart threw the ball across his body directly to Memphis defensive lineman Jonathan Wilson, who returned the interception 61 yards for a score. The poor decision was the Jayhawks’ fourth turnover of the first half.
The key: KU’s offense continued to struggle in the third quarter, gaining 55 yards on 17 plays. The Jayhawks added three punts as Ryan Willis failed to get the team’s offense jump-started to start the half.
The key: Even with the game decided KU couldn’t avoid turnovers, as receiver Steven Sims fumbled late in the fourth quarter for the Jayhawks’ sixth giveaway.
KU’s “new” Air Raid has yet to show much improvement over its old one from a year ago. The Jayhawks’ quarterbacks made poor decisions and throws, the offensive line continued to labor and the team failed to exploit the defensive weaknesses of an opponent while scoring just seven points.
Dealing with crummy field position all day (for the second straight week), KU’s defense held Memphis to numerous field-goal attempts early. The Jayhawks wore down late, though, while also failing to slow down the Tigers’ run game.
Not much to grade here. Cole Moos averaged 46 yards a punt, which is good. The Jayhawks didn’t fumble a punt (after having two fumbles the previous week), but Fish Smithson did fair catch one inside KU’s 10, which is typically considered a no-no.
A team that is a 20-point underdog shouldn’t no-show like this. Many of the coaching points KU coach David Beaty emphasizes (quick start, turnovers, playing smart) were among the Jayhawks’ biggest issues Saturday.
Player of the game: Dorance Armstrong provided some pass rush off the edge, posting two sacks and three combined tackles-for-loss.
Reason to hope: KU’s defense was not as poor as the final score indicated, as it was left to bail out an ineffective offense time and time again.
Reason to mope: Outside of a 66-yard touchdown run, the Jayhawks had 30 rushes for 55 yards.
Looking ahead: The Jayhawks will have an off week before traveling to Texas Tech on Thursday, Sept 29.