What seemed to be the Jayhawks’ only chance at a road victory this season turned out to be a second-straight loss from a Mid-American Conference school. The Jayhawks were coming off a disappointing loss to Central Michigan and to both save their season and reputation needed a win this weekend.
The Jayhawks fell behind early, ending the first quarter 0-11, and down 18 early in the second quarter after a 41 yard field goal and two touchdowns, one with a two point conversion from Ohio. KU struggled to fall into rhythm on the offensive side with many short possessions.
With a touchdown early in the second quarter the game looked like it could turn around for the Jayhawks. Peyton Bender threw two complete passes and Khalil Herbert ran 56 yards to put the Jayhawks on the board. Ohio responded quickly with a touchdown. KU ended the first half with momentum though by scoring another touchdown and running out the clock. The Jayhawks combined running plays by Khalil Herbert and passing from Peyton Bender to Steven Sims Jr. to work their way up the field from the 20 yard line. Entering half-time the Jayhawks had momentum from the recent touchdown and had closed the gap to just nine points.
Kansas’ defense started the third quarter with this momentum with an interception by Mike Lee, when Ohio was at a 1st and goal. Immediately following, Peyton Bender’s pass was intercepted and Ohio had the ball at the Kansas 32. Ohio quickly scored another touchdown to lead the Jayhawks by 18. The Jayhawks’ next possession was quick and included Bender getting sacked twice. Ohio ended the quarter with another touchdown to expand their lead to 25 points.
Despite what looked like the end of the game, the Jayhawks finished the game with two touchdowns and a field goal in the fourth quarter, mixing their running game with a better passing game by Peyton Bender.
KU lost to Ohio 42-30 to expand their road losing streak to 42 games dating back to September of 2009. KU’s road losing streak is on the path to becoming the longest road losing streak since Western Colorado between 1926 and 1936, who lost 44 straight road games. Ohio seemed like KU’s best bet for a road win this season and best bet to snap the road losing streak.
Looking forward, KU needs to focus on consistency. KU showed they are capable of winning one more game if they can piece together their good moments from the game against Ohio. The Jayhawks need Bender to be more consistent and throw like he did in the fourth quarter. To help Bender to be more consistent the offensive line needs to do a better job of protecting him. With a good running game, the Jayhawks would benefit from more variation between play calls.
Next week, Kansas opens Big 12 play with a home contest against the West Virginia Mountaineers. Kickoff is set for 11am, with pregame beginning at 10am on 90.7fm KJHK.