The Kansas Jayhawks continue to struggle mightily against FBS competition. They are now 0-5 against the highest level of NCAA football competition this year, with the most recent chapter in a story of futility coming in the form of a 41-14 dismantling at the hands of the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday.
Thanks to a pair of touchdowns with under a minute to go, the Jayhawks were able to post a more respectable final score, but the 41-0 margin before backups entered the game is more apt indicator of how the Week 7 contest unfolded.
“That was disappointing,” KU coach Lance Leipold said. “Lot of different things in a lot of different areas I thought we would do better today.”
Texas Tech racked up 438 yards from scrimmage in the game and averaged 6.5 yards per carry, tearing up a KU defense that has been porous throughout the season. In fact, despite posting 41 points and coming within a minute of a shutout by that margin, that’s the fewest points the Jayhawks have allowed to FBS competition this year.
Kansas has now been outscored 145-28 in Big 12 games this year and is allowing more points per game than any other Power 5 program.
“I think it just came down to proper execution,” Kansas junior linebacker Rich Miller said. “We kind of just beat ourselves and shot ourselves in the foot sometimes … we’ve just got to be able to come back from that, and we weren’t able to tonight.”
The two best drives of the game for Kansas came in garbage time, with senior backup quarterback Miles Kendrick throwing two late touchdown passes, with one each to sophomore Luke Grimm and redshirt freshman Lawrence Arnold. Leipold said Kendrick was put in to get reps and as part of the evaluation process for the team’s non-starters, not as a way to bench starting junior quarterback Jason Bean.
It was a tough night for Bean, though, who went just 11-of-21 passing for 80 yards and an interception.
“It definitely wasn’t his best game,” Leipold said in regard to Bean. “We need to be better in the passing game holistically.”
Bean also added 14 rushing yards and was not sacked in the loss.
One of the few offensive bright spots, relatively speaking, was freshman running back Devin Neal, who led the Jayhawks in rushing with 54 yards. His performance is a key piece for Kansas both now and going forward, something Leipold made sure to emphasize.
“Statistically, he wasn’t eye popping, but he continues to run hard,” Leipold said. “His maturity is beyond his years right now, and he’s a major component for the future of this program.”
Neal, a Lawrence native, said that despite another blowout loss he isn’t deterred about what KU is building.
“Obviously, disappointed in the result, but at the end of the day I came here for a reason and that’s to turn things around,” Neal said.
Kansas ran for 145 yards on 33 carries in the loss, good for 4.4 yards per carry. Last week, TCU rushed for 394 yards and 8.4 yards per carry against the Texas Tech defense.
After having two weeks to prepare for Texas Tech thanks to a bye, Kansas now has a week to prepare for the No. 5 team in the country, Oklahoma. While arguably the Big 12’s best team looms and the losses continue to pile up, with five of them in a row now, Leipold said the message hasn’t change for the Jayhawks since the start of the season.
“We believe in our approach, we said it after Week 1 and again today: We have to own what’s on film, we have to come in with an attitude that we want to get better, and I think they have,” Leipold said. “There are things that this team and this program are getting better at, and it will pay dividends.”
Kansas will be back at home next week to host Oklahoma.
Click below to hear from Lance Leipold and the Jayhawks following their 41-14 loss to Texas Tech: