Kansas football coach David Beaty, by making himself the team’s offensive coordinator this week, hoped to revive an offense that ranked last in the Big 12 in yards per play.
That didn’t happen in Saturday’s 48-16 loss at Texas Tech.
KU averaged just 4.4 yards against what was statistically one of the conference’s worst defenses. The Jayhawks’ first 10 drives resulted in just a total of three points, and those came when the team took over at the Texas Tech 2-yard line following a fumble recovery.
It won’t get easier next week, as KU prepares for TCU, which leads the league in both scoring and total defense.
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Here are grades for all three units, a highlight from Saturday’s loss and a look ahead.
Play of the game
Ball-hawking Defense: KU’s defense had a great start, as late in the first quarter, cornerback Corione Harris stripped Texas Tech receiver Zach Austin, with safety Hasan Defense recovering and advancing to the Texas Tech 2. The Jayhawks offense failed to fully capitalize, though, going backward 1 yard in three plays before settling for a Gabriel Rui 20-yard field goal.
Offense: F. Take away an 88-yard touchdown drive in garbage time, and KU gained a measly 3.5 yards per play. The Jayhawks also were miserable in the red zone, with a Pooka Williams fumble inside the 5 and a Peyton Bender interception in the end zone costing the team two chances to score. KU started the game 0 for 8 on third downs — a Beaty emphasis coming into the week — and Bender’s 18-for-41, 221-yard passing line is especially disappointing given the team’s offense is based on simple throws. Receivers Daylon Charlot and Steven Sims making a pair of highlight-reel catches were about the only positives to take away from this one.
Defense: C. KU’s defense, on a down-to-down basis, wasn’t the best it has been this year. Much like the previous effort against West Virginia, though, the unit made up for it some with big plays. The Jayhawks, who led the nation with a plus-13 turnover margin coming in, added three more takeaways Saturday, with all of them putting the offense in plus territory. It has to be frustrating, time and again, to see those opportunities wasted. Texas Tech averaged a healthy 6.6 yards per play and found too many openings in the passing game. Still, KU’s defense deserved much better.
Special teams: D. Honestly, special teams wasn’t much of a factor in Saturday’s result. KU’s kickoff coverage let De’Quan Bowman break free for a long return early in the fourth quarter, which led to a short touchdown drive. Kyle Thompson’s punting was fine, while Rui was perfect on two kicks.
KU will play host to TCU at 2 p.m. on Oct. 27.
The Horned Frogs held KU to 21 yards in last season’s 43-0 victory in Fort Worth, Texas. That offensive output was the lowest mark by an FBS team since at least 1997.