The key: KU once again struggled early, getting outgained 155-53 as Texas Tech took a 14-0 lead. KU now has been outscored 42-0 in the first quarter of its last three games.
The key: After taking over for Montell Cozart at the start of the quarter, KU quarterback Ryan Willis engineered a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by an 18-yard strike to Chase Harrell for the team’s first passing TD since the third quarter of Game 2.
The key: After Patrick Mahomes left because of a right shoulder injury, Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek stepped in admirably, leading his team to two consecutive touchdown drives that pushed the Red Raiders’ lead to 41-19.
The key: As KU’s defense continued to lose players because of injury, Shimonek led Texas Tech on 86- and 84-yard touchdown marches.
Texas Tech allowed 312 passing yards to Stephen F. Austin and 311 to Louisiana Tech … but only 250 to KU. It’s not a good sign for KU moving forward, as the Red Raiders are likely to be one of the worst defenses the Jayhawks face the rest of the season. KU’s run game also was non-existent again, as the team had 28 rushes for 46 yards.
KU’s defense was legitimately playing well in the second and third quarters. Dorance Armstrong and Daniel Wise continue to be playmakers on the defensive line, and the Jayhawks’ blitz-a-bunch gameplan led to uncomfortable throws from Mahomes before his injury. KU’s secondary players took poor angles too often, though, turning short Tech gains into long game-changers. The Jayhawks also struggled with red-zone defense for the first time this year.
Keith Loneker was quick to a fumbled snap by Michael Barden to create a safety. Michael Zunica pounced on a muffed punt to steal an extra possession. Add in strong kickoffs from Matthew Wyman and a 35-yard field goal, and the Jayhawks’ special teams had a nearly perfect day.
One has to consider effort as part of this grade, and KU’s players — especially defensively — were flying to the ball as they helped trim the second-half deficit to nine. KU defensive coordinator Clint Bowen put together a solid gameplan to bother Mahomes. KU’s quarterback play still remains a mess, though, and at least part of that responsibility has to go back to coach David Beaty.
Player of the game: Dorance Armstrong had two sacks for the second straight game and provided consistent pressure over the game’s first three quarters.
Reason to hope: The Jayhawks responded after falling behind early, scoring the first 10 points of the second half to cut the lead to 28-19.
Reason to mope: KU’s offense punted on its first six drives and finished with 17 points in 17 possessions.
Looking ahead: The Jayhawks will play host to TCU at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8.