The Kansas Jayhawks were undone by the road once again, falling to Rutgers on Saturday afternoon. KU fell to 0-3 on the season and zero for 31 in its last 31 true road games. Here are three thoughts on the day after a loss at High Point Solutions Stadium.
It’s unclear how exactly Montell Cozart lost his starting quarterback job, but after his performance on Saturday, he probably did enough to earn the starting nod this week at Iowa State. Cozart was 13 for 18 for 193 yards after coming on in relief of Deondre Ford, who suffered a sprained thumb during the second quarter. Cozart did this while battling through flu-like symptoms. He had a high fever on Friday night. He felt the chills on Saturday morning. Was that the real reason Ford started in place of Cozart, or would Ford have started anyway? KU coach David Beaty said the staff was evaluating both quarterbacks all week. The decision, he said, was made easier when Cozart fell ill.
At any rate, Ford completed six of 13 passes for 85 yards and an interception. Kansas’ first scoring drive came moments after he left the game. It’s likely that you’ll continue to see multiple quarterback combinations from Kansas. Beaty says true freshman Ryan Willis will have a role in certain packages as well. But even if Ford’s thumb is healthy enough to play this week, it seems likely we’ll see Cozart starting at Iowa State.
KU rolled over Iowa State last season, but this week could be a different story. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index projections, the Jayhawks have a 9.9 percent chance of scoring an upset in Ames. The Cyclones are just 1-2, with losses against in-state rival Iowa and a seven-point road loss at Toledo. But the computers seem to really like Iowa State, which will be coming off a bye week.
Of course, the Jayhawks’ last Big 12 road victory came at Iowa State in 2008. If Kansas is going to pick off a Big 12 upset, its best bet might come this week against the Cyclones and offensive coordinator Mark Mangino.
On a team suffering through a winless nonconference schedule, here’s one success story: Receiver Tyler Patrick. A redshirt freshman from The Woodlands, Texas, Patrick drew praise for his straight-line speed coming out of high school. But he didn’t see the field last season, and his name didn’t come up much during fall camp. Three games into 2015, he’s making a play for more time in the receiving corps. Patrick has nine catches in his last two games, and he recorded a career-high 33-yard reception in the Rutgers loss. Listed at 6 feet 1, Patrick can profile as a possession receiver, but he has the speed to break a big one. So far, he’s been a pleasant surprise on a team that needed receivers to step up.