In the back of my head, I knew the shoe was going to drop. David Beaty was going to be David Beaty, and some Big 12 team was going to punk KU simply due to having a massive talent advantage. I didn’t expect, however, for that to happen in the first half of their first Big 12 game. Since David Beaty’s arrival in 2015, Kansas is the third worst team in the country against the spread on the road. Saturday was no exception. The Jayhawks came out flat, made mental mistakes, and were out coached by Baylor. As the late great Denis Green said, “They are who we thought they were.”
Baylor’s receivers were the best this secondary has seen all season, and it showed. In the second half though, KU buckled down. Joe Dineen, Daniel Wise, and Bryce Torneden continue to be the bright stars on this defense. All three of them looked stout, while other teammates struggled to find the ball in the air or missed tackles in the run game.
Pooka Williams continues to flash brilliance. His 72-yard run was downright explosive and proved he can still be a threat even if the run game has been bottled up. Beyond Pooka, the offense has now gone three straight weeks without a turnover. They have been uncharacteristically good (at least for Beaty’s tenure) at protecting the football. Carter Stanley brought some fresh air when he came in after Kendrick’s injury. He is a gamer and despite the lackluster quarterback play, he has been relegated to third string. It was nice to see him get out there.
KU’s defense looked shell-shocked in the first half. They were unprepared for Baylor’s athleticism and made mental mistake after mental mistake. Keith Loneker struggled covering players in space. He looked a step too slow for most of the game. Corione Harris looked like a freshman when Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer caught him looking in the backfield for a touchdown. Peyton Bender continues to lack awareness in the pocket, and his backup Miles Kendrick got injured. All in all, this team looked like the same team that got beat by Nicholls State.
The biggest negative on Saturday was David Beaty’s performance. He continues to call timeouts at odd times, including icing his own kicker and calling a timeout when Baylor was trying to take a delay of game. This is hardly new for the fourth year head coach. On top of that, the team looked unprepared to play Baylor to start the game. Baylor’s defense is ranked 98th in the country defensively according to S&P+. Everyone knew they were going to stack the box and KU couldn’t do anything to make them respect the pass. Cycling through three quarterbacks so far hasn’t worked, and it will continue to fail as the season goes on.
KU football is back. The team we know and loathe has returned. The annoying thing is that this team has talent. They shouldn’t be down 23-0 at halftime against a mediocre Baylor squad. This team is better than that. Saturday was their chance to prove they have turned the corner, instead they proved that the previous two weeks were flukey performances. Can David Beaty get KU to actually play up to their competition when they take on two top 15 teams in a row? The season is only going to get bleaker; hopefully, the Jayhawks give us more material to tune into on Saturdays.