The Kansas Jayhawks defeated the McNeese State Cowboys, an FCS opponent, 42-24 this past Saturday. Seems reasonable, you might say? Well unlike NIU's 49-26 stomping of Army, the KU-MSU game was as close as 35-24 with 8:32 left in the 4th quarter.
Kansas was able to get some things going on offense, but they only led in yardage by a margin of 447-420 allowing 325 through the air. To an FCS team, albeit one ranked in the top-20. And they get to play NIU's offense this weekend. I can only imagine the possibilities.
From Football Study Hall:
Hooray, Kansas! Their meager, 42-24 win over McNeese State was actually only the third-worst Big 12 performance of the week!
The positive: KU gained 447 yards and may -- may -- have found some explosiveness in the running game. Freshman Tony Pierson broke a 47-yarder, and Pierson and fellow freshman Darrian Miller combined for 136 yards in 18 carries (7.6 per carry). Throw in sophomore James Sims (104 yards on 5.5 per carry), and you have a three-pronged backfield. The passing game was basically used as a surprise -- Jordan Webb threw just 10 passes, but they went for 146 yards and three touchdowns.
The negative: McNeese State gained 420 yards (5.6 per play). They completed 31 of 41 passes for 325 yards (7.9 per pass, 76% completion rate) and scored 24 points against KU's first-string defense. By the way: Chandler Harnish and Northern Illinois are heading to town this weekend.
And here's a snippet from Rock Chalk talk's positional grades:
Secondary - F
I'm not sure I can adequately describe the secondary's play without violating the site's Terms of Service, but I'll give it a shot. Our DBs are terrible. Barfield and Brown have no idea how to play a ball in the air, and as a result are usually content to simply watch their man catch it, and tackle him afterward. This, combined with 5+ yard cushions, resulted in short gains through the air being readily available to McNeese State any time they wanted them. This problem was also compounded by some terrible pursuit angles, especially by Patmon and the safeties, which allowed short gains to be extended to first downs. Do you know why we have two converted receivers with virtually no defensive experience starting at safety? Neither do I, but I know it isn't because they're too good to be kept off the field.
Wide receiver Daymond Patterson remains doubtful for Saturday’s game against Northern Illinois after suffering a groin injury in the second quarter against McNeese State.
"I think we’ll know something for sure by Wednesday about whether he’ll have a chance to play, but I’d say the same thing I said (Saturday) night," Gill said. "He’s doubtful."
And finally take the over for Saturday considering how fast these offenses like to play:
For starters, the Jayhawks played fast offensively. There was a lot of no-huddle, quick tempo throughout the game and KU coach Turner Gill said all offseason that he wanted his team to get in and out of plays faster than they did a year ago. Part of that has to do with getting the calls to the field. Another part has to do with comprehension and execution from the players. Both seemed to be wildly successful Saturday night, as the Jayhawks pushed the pace all night.
After the jump, I'll post the animated drive chart to see how pitiful the McNeese State game actually was for the Jayhawks...
Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.