For the Kansas Jayhawks, it was a combination of timing on offense, turning the ball over and missing easy field goals.
Still there was a chance for Kansas to get that first win under coach David Beaty. But in the end, the Jayhawks were unable to get it done. Instead, Texas Tech hung on for a 30-20 victory despite a late rally by the Jayhawks.
“We didn’t get it done,” Beaty said afterward. “We’re going to keep working, keep turning over rocks and find the combination to get it done.”
Kansas showed some fight late.
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In his second start, true freshman quarterback Ryan Willis led several sustained drives. Midway through the third quarter he hit Darious Crawley on a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Willis then connected with Tre’ Parmalee for a 25-yard score early in the fourth quarter. After that, a long drive ended with a Taylor Cox rushing touchdown, putting Kansas within a field goal at 23-20
The Kansas offense seemed to be clicking, something that the receivers take pride in.
“We work day in, day out,” Crawley said. “That repetition and practice that we have together is making us confident as a whole.”
Despite struggling throughout to grab complete control, the Red Raiders made a big play when Jah’Shawn Johnson returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown, putting Kansas down 30-20 with 4:07 remaining in the game.
Willis showed some more progress. He completed 35 of 50 passes for 330 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Turnovers, though, made it difficult for Kansas to stay with the Red Raiders.
“I know that screaming at him and not teaching him would be a mistake,” Beaty said. “When he comes back off, the first thing I do, we start teaching.”
Although he was not as potent as usual, Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes still completed 30 of 51 passes for 359 yards and a touchdown.
Zach Austin was the leading receiver for the Red Raiders with 80 yards.
The afternoon’s best throw came with 1:02 remaining when Mahomes threw a high arching ball to Reginald Davis, who grabbed it over a Kansas defender for a 45-yard touchdown.
Even with the big yardage totals, the Kansas defense did a better job organizing its assignments and held Texas Tech well under its season average of 52.7 points per game.
Kansas safety Fish Smithson made several big plays, including his first career interception and also 10 tackles.
Smithson credited the pressure from the defensive line.
“When they get after the quarterback and make him flustered it helps the defense and it helps the whole team,” Smithson said.
Though the defense played well, mistakes were hard to shake off after the game. The kicking game, for example had a rough day — Kansas missed two field goal tries inside 35 and three overall, as well as an extra-point attempt.
“... When you lose by 10 points and we leave 10 points on the field,” kicker Matthew Wyman said. Wyman and Nick Bartolotta shared the kicking duty. Bartolotta missed a 22 yard field goal in the first quarter.
Still, this was an improved performance overall by the Jayhawks, and they were competitive. And that seems crucial looking forward.
“They knew that they could win,” Beaty said. “They played like it. They believe it now.”
The Jayhawks are on the road next week against Oklahoma State.
TEXAS TECH 30, KANSAS 20
TT: FG Hatfield 30, :36.
TT: D.Washington 1 run (L.Clark run), 13:10.
TT: FG Hatfield 24, 10:13.
TT: Davis 45 pass from Mahomes II (kick failed), 1:02.
KU: Crawley 10 pass from Willis (kick failed), 5:39.
TT: FG Hatfield 25, 1:17.
KU: Parmalee 25 pass from Willis (Bartolotta kick), 10:32.
KU: Cox 1 run (Bartolotta kick), 6:26.
TT: Jah.Johnson 27 interception return (Hatfield kick), 4:07.
Pnt/Int Ret Yds
RUSHING: Texas Tech, D.Washington 22-160, Mahomes II 13-29, Grant 2-21, Stockton 5-17, Team 1-(minus 2). Kansas, Mann 15-107, Cox 7-24, Kinner 9-23, Parmalee 1-(minus 2), Willis 8-(minus 7).
PASSING: Texas Tech, Mahomes II 30-51-1-359. Kansas, Willis 35-50-1-330.
RECEIVING: Texas Tech, Austin 8-80, Grant 6-76, Lauderdale 5-50, Batson 2-58, Davis 2-57, T.Brown 2-29, High 2-8, D.Washington 2-3, Stockton 1-(minus 2). Kansas, Booker 7-65, Crawley 6-59, Parmalee 5-84, Sims 5-37, Kinner 4-20, Barbel 3-26, Taylor 2-19, Cox 2-11, Mann 1-9.
Ryan McCarthy: @rmccarthy11