Going into Lincoln this past Saturday, the Kansas Jayhawks were coming off an emotional win at home against Colorado. With it being head coach Turner Gill’s homcoming of sorts, the emotions were still at a high level. The Jayhawks were looking for their second straight win as well as their second conference win of the season. What they found in Lincoln was a buzzsaw of a Nebraska defense, and a loss 20-3.
Unlike last week in Ames, where the Cornhusker defense looked mortal, this time around it looked like a jaguar toying with its prey. The Jayhawk offense was held to only 87 yards. Yes, only 87 throughout the entire game. Starting quarterback Quinn Mecham was under pressure from the start. Being sacked six times, and only completing three out of his thirteen passes for a staggering fifteen yards. The Kansas ground wasn’t getting anywhere in a hurry either. Freshman back James Sims was held to twenty-four yards on nine carries. It was wide receiver Bradley McDougald who lead the team with twenty-seven yards on four carries. Kansas’ lone field goal came off of a Taylor Martinez fumble around midfield. Jacob Branstetter was then able to put a not so good looking forty-two yard field goal through the uprights. This was the only bright for the offense, who was just outmatched everywhere on the field. I thought watching the game that the scheme they were trying to work was good, with some miss directional plays, plus some play action. It was just that every time Mecham went back to pass, he was under pressure, or that his receivers were on lock down. You can tell he has been coached in situations to take the sack instead trying to make a play, and in a game like this, he made a lot of right decisions.
Even though the offense wasn’t quite up to par, the Kansas defense showed up and put a damper on the crowd, and the high powered Nebraska offense. This hasn’t been said often this year about the Kansas defense, but they outplayed the opposing offense all game. Sure they gave up over 400 yards of offense, but they shut down the Cornhuskers when they needed to. It was only fourteen zip at half, with Kansas still in the game. Plus holding Nebraska to only two field goals in the second half was a battle won for this defense, that had been giving up thirty-five points per game. Going into the fourth quarter, it was still anyone’s ball game, and it was the Kansas defense for a change kept it that way.
Kansas will have another daunting task on senior day. And that is trying to stop, or keep up with the most high powered offense in the Big XII, the Oklahoma State Cowboys. This game will be on FSN, and kickoff at 11 A.M.
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Written by David Freivogel