Les Miles speaks after loss to Coastal Carolina
The big-picture ramifications are not good.
New coach Les Miles was expected to lose plenty in his first year at Kansas while jump-starting what was always going to be a long-term rebuild.
That, though, was supposed to come later in the season when the Jayhawks started facing built-up Big 12 programs.
But a 12-7 home loss to Coastal Carolina from the Sun Belt on Saturday at Booth Memorial Stadium? To a team that had come in with a five-game losing streak over the last two seasons, with no Power Five victories in program history?
The result — KU was a seven-point Vegas favorite — means the Jayhawks have a whole lot of work to do to somehow make this season a success, considering they’ll likely be double-digit underdogs in each of their 10 games the rest of the way.
One sequence will be discussed most by KU fans when huddled around the water coolers on Monday.
Traliing by five, KU had a fourth-and-4 from the Coastal Carolina 17-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Miles called a timeout, then Coastal Carolina called one after that.
Then, inexplicably, Miles took another timeout — KU’s last of the half.
The ensuing play was thrown off by a potential Coastal Carolina holding penalty that went uncalled against KU running back Pooka Williams, which forced quarterback Carter Stanley to try to get the yardage himself. He only gained 1 yard.
The Jayhawks also had one more chance at a comeback late in the fourth quarter, but attempted run plays on third-and-2 and fourth-and-3, losing yards on both while showing no faith in Stanley’s arm.
KU’s offense also was shaky most of the first half.
Stanley — for a second straight game — struggled with early accuracy. A throw into double coverage resulted in an interception, and KU’s offensive line failed to create many creases in the run game outside of a 41-yard touchdown sprint by Khalil Herbert on KU’s first drive.
The Jayhawks defense, meanwhile, hung in there despite giving up 5.8 yards per play before halftime. Coastal Carolina failed on all three third-down conversion tries in the first half, and kicker Massimo Biscardi also missed a 31-yard field-goal try and a point-after attempt.
With the loss, KU missed out on an opportunity to go 2-0 for the first time since 2011.
The Jayhawks (1-1) will play their first road game at Boston College at 6:30 p.m. Friday.