Keys to the game
Kansas: Linebacker Joe Dineen was the best player on an energized Kansas defense, posting 16 tackles, which included two for a loss.
Iowa State: Joel Lanning was the beneficiary of Iowa State’s front three dominating KU’s offensive line, as the linebacker ran free for 10 tackles.
Iowa State committed seven players to try to block a Kansas punt, signifying that it wasn’t expecting to do much with a potential return. Trever Ryen still was able to get to the outside around five unblocked KU players, going 68 yards for a first-quarter touchdown return.
Everything was terrible. KU posted 1.8 yards per play. Neither Peyton Bender nor Carter Stanley had more than 26 passing yards. The team had 11 three-and-outs and also couldn’t run the ball against a defensive look that was daring the Jayhawks to run it. Perhaps nothing summarized the struggles more than this: In 18 possessions, KU’s offense never made it past the Iowa State 44-yard line.
This grade seems off because of the final score, but the blowout had nothing to do with the defense. KU held Iowa State to 4.4 yards per play while forcing seven three-and-outs in a high-possession game. KU’s defensive line was sprinting to the football, Dineen made play after play in the run game, and the Jayhawks’ secondary had their best performance of the last month. Even with all that, KU couldn’t keep the game within five scores.
After a solid season, KU’s special teams collapsed Saturday. Steven Sims muffed a punt. Daylon Charlot lost containment on punt-return coverage, which allowed a 68-yard touchdown. There was a high snap. There was a dropped good snap. Add on an obvious block-in-the-back penalty on a return, and it has to be considered the Jayhawks’ worst special-teams performance in the David Beaty era.
This grade avoids an F because of defensive coordinator Clint Bowen. After facing added criticism this week, Bowen had his defense prepared and motivated, which kept the contest from getting even more out of control. The rest of the staff will have plenty to go over this week.