First-half miscues cost Kansas momentum, points in loss to Central Michigan

Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender (7) passes while under pressure from the CMU defense during the Jayhawks game against Central Michigan Saturday, Sept. 9 at Memorial Stadium.

In a game the Jayhawks put up 27 points, their quarterback felt they could’ve — and should've — scored into the 50s.

While the KU defense struggled to contain a Central Michigan offense that was held to 21 points in regulation in its season opener against Rhode Island, the KU offense — especially in the first half — missed out on several key opportunities to come out with big plays. And it cost them.

Hurt by a couple gaffes on the offensive line, the Jayhawks were held to a mere six points through the first two quarters. The team trailed by three scores at the break, which was ultimately where it finished, falling 45-27 to the Chippewas on Saturday.

“I thought we just had some missed opportunities,” said quarterback Peyton Bender. "If we make the most of those opportunities who knows? I think we left 21, 28 points out there on the scoreboard that we should’ve had.”

The first missed opportunity was obvious.

The Jayhawks (1-1) had a second-and-goal from the 1-yard line, looking to break the scoreless deadlock midway through the first quarter.

Bender tried to connect with Chase Harrell on a fade route, but his pass sailed incomplete. What happened next, KU coach David Beaty said, was unacceptable.

The Jayhawks lined up to attempt to punch the ball in, but right-tackle Antione Frazier flinched and was called for a false start. The Jayhawks were backed up to the 6-yard line, where after an incomplete pass, they’d settle for a field goal.

“You can’t do that,” Beaty said. “Good teams can’t do it.”

Media requested to speak to Frazier after the game but he was not made available. His teammates, however, acknowledged how crucial that sequence was.

“We can’t hurt ourselves like that,” said Bender.

“That hurts,” added wide receiver Ryan Schadler. “What, we get a field goal out of it instead of a touchdown? Yep, that hurts.”

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Beaty said after the game that from the 1-yard line the Jayhawks would’ve had two more shots at a touchdown, presumably on third and fourth down. But once the penalty backed them up, the equation changed. It wouldn’t be the last time.

After Central Michigan took a 17-6 lead on a touchdown with 2:59 to play in the first half, the Jayhawks needed a response. Knowing they’d receive the ball to start the third quarter, the opportunity was still there for the Jayhawks to put together a couple scoring drives and regain control of the game.

That wasn’t how it went.

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Box score: Central Michigan 45, Kansas 27 ( .PDF )

Starting at its own 25, the offensive line held up well enough on the first play. Bender dropped back and found Quan Hampton for a 12-yard gain.

On second down, Frazier was shoved right back into the pocket and Bender was forced to throw the ball away. Later on the drive, on a second-down just past midfield, a Central Michigan pass rusher broke right around Frazier, laying a hard hit on Bender as he chucked the ball out of bounds.

Some of those plays, Beaty put on his quarterback — “Peyton’s got to pull it down and run it sometimes in those situations,” he said after the game — but the last play of the drive certainly wasn’t one of them.

Facing second-and-13 on the edge of field goal range, Bender dropped back and was instantly under pressure as a defensive lineman shoved his way through right guard Chris Hughes. Bender launched a pass toward Hampton, but it was wrestled away for an interception.

“I was pressured up the middle it seemed like,” Bender said. “It’s unfortunate how it happened, but we’ve got to be better executing that.”

Once in a position to make it a one-score game, the Jayhawks watched the Chippewas drive down the sidelines for another touchdown with just six seconds left in the half.

From that point on, they'd never lead again. They scored on back-to-back drives to begin the third quarter, but the deficit was too much to overcome.

“Oh that killed us. That was a big, big deal. And the thing is . . .” Beaty said, pausing to take a loud sigh. “You know you come out at halftime and get some momentum like that. And you don’t think at all that you’re going to go in and give up that touchdown right there. That was very disappointing.”

— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Central Michigan


Comments

J.L. Forge

Tough game to watch today! Just so many miscues today on both sides of the ball. The defense looked completely lost at times and I am not sure if it was more due to player mistakes and poor defensive scheming and play calling by Bowen and company. Armstrong and Wise have gotten no pressure on opposing quarterbacks the past two games and that is a problem. Our secondary, which we knew would have it's own challenges, is really struggling and looks lost and/or over matched. The offense hasn't looked horrible, but man Bender doesn't seem overly comfortable back there and has thrown some really bad balls, almost hitting me with a pass in the stands! The receivers haven't been very consistent either, dropping some easy balls. They have the talent to be competitive and that is what makes it so frustrating. Once the tide turned a bit, I could feel the crowd sort of saying "here we go again" and that doesn't help provide that energetic atmosphere the players can feed from. I sure hope the coaches can adjust and make the necessary changes cause after two games, there seems to be many of the same issues plaguing the team and it will only get tougher from here! Still excited to see what happens next week...Rock Chalk!

2 months, 1 week ago

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David Kemp

My prediction next week is annihilation

2 months, 1 week ago

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Jerry Walker

"right-tackle Antione Frazier flinched and was called for a false start...Media requested to speak to Frazier after the game but he was not made available." -- Scott Chasen

OK, Chasen -- what brilliant question would you have had for Frazier if he had been "made available"?

2 months, 1 week ago

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Jerry Walker

One of the biggest first half miscues was OC Meacham's call for a fade route with 2nd and goal from the 1yard line.

That's one of the dumbest, most unimaginative, "I don't know what else to call" plays in the playbook. Forfeiting 3 cracks at hammering in a touchdown for a jump ball in the end zone merits a dope slap for the OC.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

Unless of course the play has worked - which it has.

It shouldn't be a revelation to any one that's been paying attention that Meacham is a pass oriented OC. The thing that seemed odd in this game was just how dominant we seemed at times running the ball.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Alex Fletcher

Yeah, how many times does the fade actually work though? Not a lot. How many times did Bender throw the ball down the sideline and completely miss. It is clear he can't hit that pass on a consistent basis

2 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

I wondered about the 50% completion # and to what extent it was a function of poor passing, poor OL protection vs good D protection, or dropped passes. Does anyone outside of the coaching staff track dropped passes?

We really need Sims to get healthy, and Charlot to get/earn his way on to the field.

2 months, 1 week ago

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Mike Bennett

Let's get serious here for a moment. The offense wasn't great, but the defense was flat out awful. CMU went for over 500 yards and defense was supposed to be our strong point. Someone's head needs to roll. You can't play every corner 10 yards off the receiver with orders to back pedal on third and short/medium situations. Get up close enough they can't get rid of the ball in 2 seconds and give your D-line a chance. D-line, you have to be a hell of a lot better than that or we are looking at 1-11 again.

2 months, 1 week ago

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