University of Kansas

Game report: No. 3 Baylor 66, Kansas 7

Baylor quarterback Seth Russell ran into the end zone and scored a touchdown during the first half of Saturday’s game at Kansas.
Baylor quarterback Seth Russell ran into the end zone and scored a touchdown during the first half of Saturday’s game at Kansas. The Associated Press

First quarter

Key play: Bears quarterback Seth Russell found Corey Coleman for an 11-yard touchdown strike less than three minutes into the game, setting the tone early.

Key stat: Baylor gained 298 yards in the first quarter — 128 on the ground and 170 through the air.

Second quarter

Key play: Less than five minutes into the second quarter and up 31-7, the Bears went for it on fourth-and-6, and they gained 10 yards and scored on the next play.

Key stat: Baylor scored 28 points in the second quarter — four more than it did in the first.

Third quarter

Key play: Backup Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham connected with Ishmael Zamora for a 37-yard touchdown pass that put the Bears ahead 59-7.

Key stat: Stidham was a perfect seven-for-seven passing in the third quarter and threw for 100 yards and two scores.

Fourth quarter

Key play: With about three minutes to play, Terence Williams burst through the Kansas defense for 13 yards, down to the Jayhawks’ 26-yard line, with about three minutes to play. Even with backups in, Baylor still looked like it could score at will.

Key stat: Baylor passed three times and rushed 17 in the fourth quarter. The Bears had already removed starters at halftime but continued to score until they essentially shut down their offense.

The grades

Offense

D

Kansas had some opportunities to make this game more competitive but gave the ball away three times. Baylor scored 17 points off turnovers. As Kansas head coach David Beaty said, the Jayhawks have to control what they can control. They made mistakes that helped out a Bears offense that needed no assistance.

Defense

D-

Few defenses shine against Baylor, but the Jayhawks looked terrible. There were a number of missed tackles that allowed plays to continue farther than they should have, and Kansas failed to get Baylor off the field on the occasions it did get the Bears in third-down situations.

Special teams

D

Beaty said the punt game needs improvement and noted that the Jayhawks have to be able to switch the field much better than they have done lately. Obviously, the Baylor offense will do what it does, but giving the Bears short fields certainly added fuel to the four-alarm fire that was Saturday’s game.

Coaching

D

A coach must be judged first by what happens on the field, and injuries and other challenges aside, what happened Saturday speaks for itself. Taking a longer-term view, however, Beaty seems to have players mostly staying positive and encouraging each other in the midst of a painful building process. That element, while it will not immediately translate to wins, is essential for the Jayhawks to eventually move back to a place of respectability as a program.

Takeaways

Player of the game: Baylor quarterback Seth Russell connected on 18 of 27 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns. He might have broken all sorts of records (completions, yards, touchdowns, etc.) had he been allowed to play the second half.

Reason to hope: Kansas quarterback Ryan Willis made some impressive plays Saturday, scrambling effectively on several occasions and completing a number of long passes. He had some miscues but did not let those rattle him. Last but not least, unlike his two predecessors, Willis was able to stay healthy. With the injury bug this team has had, that alone is a positive.

Reason to mope: The Jayhawks face three teams in the Top 25 over their next five games. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma are not as highly ranked as Baylor, but if Saturday was a glimpse at how Kansas matches up with the best teams in the Big 12, the rest of the season seems likely to be as character-building as Saturday.

Looking ahead: Kansas is host to Texas Tech next week. After that game, the Jayhawks will not have another home game against an unranked team until Nov. 21.

Ashley Dunkak, Special to The Star

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