No. 17 Cowboys dismantle KU football as Jayhawks' offense stumbles

Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard (30) breaks away from Kansas cornerback Johnquai Lewis (11) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020.

With the Kansas football offense overwhelmed even before it lost its starting quarterback to an injury against No. 17 Oklahoma State, the Jayhawks never came close Saturday to securing the program’s first victory over a ranked opponent in a decade.

A calamitous homecoming afternoon for the long-struggling program ended with a 47-7 drubbing at the hands of the Cowboys at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

While the OSU offense took off behind senior star running back Chuba Hubbard (145 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and its true freshman QB, Shane Illingworth (17-for-23 passing, 265 yards, three TDs), the Jayhawks couldn’t keep their freshman starter, Jalon Daniels, on the field.

Daniels finished 3-for-5 passing with just 2 yards after suffering what looked like a foot injury in the first half.

When asked after the program’s seventh consecutive loss what led to the offensive issues, head coach Les Miles began his response by referencing Daniels’ setback.

“Our quarterback left the game early,” Miles said. “And we’re a team that needs to put it together.”

The game was long over, if not officially, by the time the fourth quarter came along and KU (0-3 overall, 0-2 Big 12) finally got into the end zone on its 12th possession of a ruinous conference loss.

The Cowboys (3-0 overall, 2-0 Big 12) dominated all facets of their first road game, racking up 593 yards to KU’s 193. The Jayhawks only had 83 yards entering the fourth quarter.

A third quarter in which OSU outscored KU, 13-0, and out-gained the Jayhawks, 146-23 in yardage, seemed pedestrian compared to the first half.

KU’s offense continued to do the team no favors after intermission, turning the ball over on downs after picking up just nine yards on its initial third quarter series.

A busy afternoon for senior punter Kyle Thompson continued after that, as he had nine punts on his stat line before the fourth quarter began.

With the offense sputtering, the defense rarely got a long break on the sideline, but linebacker Denzel Feaster didn’t use that as an excuse.

“I wouldn’t say it felt like we got gassed,” Feaster said. “They ran some tempo plays. We expected that. They had us in the right positions and stuff. We’ve got to execute better. That’s all.”

With less than two minutes left until halftime, KU completed its longest pass of the game to that point, an eight-yard connection from junior backup Miles Kendrick to Kwamie Lassiter II on the Jayhawks’ eighth possession.

Through two quarters and 32 offensive plays from scrimmage, KU only had 60 yards of offense to show for its efforts.

The Jayhawks punted on every one of their first seven possessions. On their final series of the second quarter, OSU linebacker Devin Harper intercepted a Kendrick deep pass down the sideline.

KU went three-and-out five times before halftime and averaged just 1.9 yards per play to OSU’s 7.9, as the rout was on.

“I think if you reflect on today’s game,” Kendrick said, “if you watched it, I don’t think it’s really hard to tell. We struggled in a lot of areas and we’ve got to keep moving forward and get better.”

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Oklahoma State 47, Kansas 7 ( .PDF )

While KU had to change quarterbacks and was cobbling together minuscule plays to avoid three-and-outs occasionally, the Cowboys’ offense began rolling for the first time in 2020.

Though OSU entered the weekend averaging only 18.5 points pre game, the Cowboys surpassed that before the midway point of the second quarter.

OSU had a defensive disaster from KU to thank for that, with one offensive snap for OSU epitomizing the agonizing first half for the home team.

A total defensive breakdown on an Illingworth deep pass to Tylan Wallace, on which the senior OSU receiver ran wide open past KU cornerback Elijah Jones, resulted in a 55-yard TD and set up a 24-0 lead for the Cowboys.

“I can’t wait,” Miles said after the 40-point loss, “to meet tomorrow or the next day with some of those coaches and find out what went wrong.”

Heavily favored OSU added an 11-play, 88-yard TD drive capped by Hubbard’s second rushing TD of the first half for good measure, taking a 31-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

“We just have to continue to work,” Feaster said of KU’s defense. “Nothing’s going to come easy in this league.” “We’ve got our issues to fix, but we’re going to build on the positives.”

With his team already in a 17-0 hole less than a minute into the second quarter, Miles didn’t send Daniels out for the team’s fifth series. That’s when Kendrick (11-for-19, 90 yards, one interception) made his first appearance at QB since KU’s loss to Coastal Carolina on Sept. 12.

Offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon didn’t immediately ask much of Kendrick, who entered the matchup with OSU as Daniels’ backup. Kendrick handed the ball off to Williams (14 rushes, 32 yards) on four straight plays, even on 4th and 1 from KU’s own 31-yard line — a sign of how desperate the Jayhawks already were for some sort of spark.

Even though Williams converted the 4th down run, punter Thompson was back for one of his frequent appearances after three more offensive plays, two of them Kendrick incompletions.

Daniels was seen heading to the locker room after appearing to suffer a foot injury. The freshman was back on KU’s sideline in the second half, wearing a protective boot on his left foot.

Williams, too, left the sideline in the third quarter, seemingly having an injury of his own.

Any idea about KU competing with its first ranked foe of 2020 waved goodbye to the Jayhawks on a one-play, 66-yard TD drive for the Cowboys, who seized not just a 17-0 lead but complete control following a KU blunder, as Braydon Johnson took an Illingworth pass across the goal line less than a minute into the second quarter.

A putrid first quarter for the KU offense kept the home team from coming even remotely close to getting on the scoreboard early.

The Jayhawks went three-and-out on each of their first three possessions, netting just two yards of offense in the process.

Even though KU’s defense had a promising start the first the first couple of times it went on the field, that began to crumble on OSU’s third possession, when the Cowboys only had to go 29 yards to score their first TD of many on the afternoon in the final minute of the first quarter, when a patient Hubbard went in for a one-yard rushing score.

KU’s ineffective third series set up the easy drive for OSU. A Daniels completion lost five yards on a drive that began with KU backed up on its own 10-yard line. Then a false start on Malik Clark made matters worse before KU punted from its own four-yard line.

The Cowboys looked to jump out to an early lead in their first game outside of Oklahoma this year, and they did, but had to settle for a field goal on their opening series.

Head coach Mike Gundy went for it on 4th and 1 at the KU 19-yard line and OSU converted just barely on a Hubbard rush. But it ultimately didn’t lead to a touchdown as safety Davon Ferguson came blitzing on a 3rd and goal rush attempt from the one-yard line by OSU’s LD Brown. Ferguson and sophomore linebacker Nick Channel stopped Brown for a loss, leading to a short Alex Hale field goal for a 3-0 OSU advantage.

KU last defeated a top-25 team in 2010, when the Jayhawks won against Georgia Tech.

“I didn’t feel like they were overwhelmed,” Miles said of his players versus OSU. “I feel like if we should continue to go the course that we’re going we’re going to be fine. I like us. I like our team. I think we’ll work together and do things that this school has done before.”

The Jayhawks, due to the pandemic-shortened Big 12 schedule, have their second off week of the season coming up, followed by an Oct. 17 game at West Virginia.

SCORING SUMMARY

FIRST QUARTER

9:36 — Alex Hale 19 field goal. Thirteen-play drive for 67 yards, in 4:14. (OSU 3, KU 0.)

1:00 — Chuba Hubbard 1 run. Hale kick. Eight-Play drive for 29 yards, in 3:06. (OSU 10, KU 0.)

SECOND QUARTER

14:04 — Braydon Johnson 66 pass from Shane Illingworth. Hale kick. One-play drive for 66 yards, in 0:12. (OSU 17, KU 0.)

9:22 — Tylan Wallace 55 pass from Illingworth. Hale kick. Five-play drive for 85 yards, in 1:52. (OSU 24, KU 0.)

1:58 — Hubbard 12 run. Hale kick. Eleven-play drive for 88 yards, in 2:50. (OSU 31, KU 0.)

THIRD QUARTER

13:14 — Wallace 14 pass from Illingworth. Hale kick. Seven-play drive for 68 yards, in 1:42. (OSU 38, KU 0.)

8:12 — Hale 22 field goal. Eight-play drive for 29 yards, in 3:23. (OSU 41, KU 0.)

3:14 — Hale 27 field goal. Ten-play drive for 44 yards, in 3:04. (OSU 44, KU 0.)

FOURTH QUARTER

12:04 — Velton Gardner 1 run. Five-play drive for 52 yards, in 1:54. (OSU 44, KU 7.)

0:59 — Hale 24 field goal. Fourteen-play drive for 51 yards, in 5:18. (OSU 47, KU 7.)

Comments

Bee Bee

What is Les doing?

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Dale Rogers

Building a foundation. Obviously it will be awhile before it pays dividends but it will get there. Eventually.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Brett McCabe

Jeff Monken.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

I don't think so. If you are a head coach with P5 aspirations, Lawrence is not on your short list. Unless you are Charlie Weis, David Beaty or Les Miles in which case KU might be the only P5 school who will give you a shot.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Randy Bombardier

At least Khalil Herbert's having a good year...just not here.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

Watching KU football is painful. From now on, I'll record the game and watch the autopsy knowing the outcome.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Chris Bailey

Did I miss the game where our offense didn’t stumble this year? It appears we have no offense this year. I’d like to blame the defense but when your best play on offense is a three and out what do you expect from a young defense?

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Layne Pierce

The real story here is that qb rb play depend on the offensive line. Our line play is horrible.
Last year Stanley simply played better than his line, and he frankly was better than anyone we have now. But I repeat, until our line even becomes average, let alone great, we simply will be embarassed. Same goes for Dearmon's offense, no line no offense, its that simple.

Now part 2 of our lament is that we need 3 to 4 years of 3 star players to make any real progress. Unfortunately we are in our 2nd year of a likely 4 years scenario. Yes it sucks, but no coach could change it.

The only thing that we could do is start playing for the future, especially on defense. What's the difference between 62-7 and 47-7, experience for young players.

I still prefer Miles not recruiting Jucos to win 2 instead of 0 games a year, because in it there is hope.

What is troubling, is development of players, and field discipline.
RCJH

RCJH

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

Not buying it. If our O-line is so horrible then it's due to coaching.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Brian Wilson

The Offensive line is lost. Simplification is great, but when you make it so easy for your opponent to know what you are doing you also make it easy for your opponent to confuse you.
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Somehow KU needs to get the passing game going and get more agressive to open up lanes for Pooka. At this point I would be reaching a bit. Over the top to Sosinski, add a shovel pass, a few more option plays. IDK....but running up the middle is only going to get us 2 yards and a cloud of dust and so far our new OC doesn't seem to be as creative as advertised.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Mike Hart

2nd year of 3 star players? Beaty’s last couple of seasons had a ton of 3 stars and some 4 stars (Corionne Harris, Pooka). MacVittie was a never sniffed the field Guy at Pitt.. 3rd String there on the QB depth chart, so he went Juco and played 8 games. Not much of a college career ... essentially nil at KU. So far, Miles is rolling with 3 year eligibility juco transfer Kendrick at QB, another Beaty recruit. Who is our best receiver .. Andrew Parchment? Juco transfer. Ezra Naylor WR - Juco under Miles. Takulve Williams? He’s a Beaty HS recruit. So far in two years, Miles hasn’t reeled in a HS WR that has made a splash. Can’t say Inhave any superlatives for what DJ Eliot has shown as defensive coordinator. Oh .. and zero turnovers forced in 3 games

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Marc Frey

If the OSU frosh can put up Heisman stats, it has to be the O-line. He had all day to find a receiver, even if not wide open. The running backs ran through us. With that said, we still have boys playing against men. This year is going to be like this game every week we play. Our young guys need experience. Rock Chalk

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

The discrepancy in talent between KU, KSU and ISU is not that significant and two of these teams are playing competitive football including wins over Oklahoma. It has to be the coaching and Les is not getting it done.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Jerry Walker

In case you missed the game -- here are the words that Benton Smith used to describe the outcome.

Overwhelmed...calamitous...drubbing...dominated...pedestrian...sputtering...cobbling together...defensive disaster...desperate...blunder...putrid.

Whew! Sad but true.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Steven Haag

Amen Dane. Our recruits are not inferior to Iowa State or K-State. They are both 2-1 and beating the likes of OU. It is coaching and the players believing they belong. Part of the mindset is on the players, and part on the coaches. I’m frankly getting tired of people saying, “we need time to develop our young players”. Other teams are starting true freshman and knocking it out of the park. It has become our new “chant song”. At some point we need to identify the elephant in the room and stop drinking the koolaid.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Jerry Walker

Brent Dearmon -- it appears -- is in over his head.

He previously was an analyst at Auburn, an offensive coordinator at Division-II Arkansas Tech, then head coach at his alma mater Bethel in the NAIA before latching on with the Jayhawks as an analyst.

Sure, I get the disparity of talent. If he had more horses on the O-line his system might be better. But that's why his system doesn't work. I'm sure he knows the X's and O's inside and out. He watched Auburn...with superior talent...make the system work. His RPO dispatched teams with lesser talent at the Division-II and NAIA levels.

But this is the big time...a Power 5 conference...with better players and coaching than he was accustomed to at Division-II and NAIA. You can't realistically expect the play calling to produce like it did at his previous stops -- when you're out-manned.

I'm sure he's a bright guy...as Miles said. And he needs to use that bright mind to develop some imagination and yes...even some trickery...until our talent level catches up with the rest of the conference.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Benjamin Shear

At least KU should have no problem recrutting punters. Kyle Thompson had 9 punts in this game! Any 5 star punter should want to come to KU. There are more punting opportunities at KU than any other power 5 team!

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Pamela Shanks

Hey, at least we are tied with Oklahoma! Who would have predicted that early on? Rock Chalk!

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

“I think we will work together and do the things this school has done before.”

Maybe that is pure coach speak, but it is just crazy scary to me. We need to be radically different than almost anything that has happened before.

2 years ago I thought we were good game day leadership away from being bowl eligible, which was huge progress over 4 years. Im wondering if we are still progressing.

The one big caveat is this year. There are so many upsets and so many things that are far from normal. The Big12 (w/o spring football) loses to the Southern conference (w/spring football) and then those same teams (except us) beat an elite program. It’s happening elsewhere too. We also seem to repeatedly have significant players missing.

I don’t know, though most of you probably know more than me. The one thing I am pretty sure about is that it seems really weak minded to quit on a program 3 games into year 2, especially when “the coaching staff is doing almost everything right (sarcasm off)”.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

Bryce is the only person I know who has given up on this program.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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the les press conference is as bad, if not worse, than the actual game. les has dementia & hasnt a clue what hes doing anymore. sinking ship. expect more of the same. sad. rcjh

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Layne Pierce

So to put this in perspective, let's face it, the rest of the conference is way ahead of us, we are like a mid-major team playing in big 5. And for those of you who say Beatty recruited some 3 stars and 4 stars, yes, but he never did a damn thing with them.

The one thing that the Fat Man did really well, wss to deamnd field disicpline, you did what you were supposed to do, or you did not play. It was mean, it was cruel, but it was effective. This is something no one can take away from Mangino.

Frankly, it has reached the point, where we shoud start plaing all 3 strings and just develop players. Who are we kidding? I would even switch some players from offense to defense and vice versa. How do we know, until we try. When Carter Stanley was playing I actually thought we had a chance to win. This year without him we are simply not nearly as good. What I am watching now, since we are not going to win the conference, is what steps are taken to improve and develop the team for the future.

RCJH

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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