(Article written by Sports Staff member Lane Gillespie)
LAWRENCE, KS – David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium was sold out for the first time in ten years for the 117th Dillons Sunflower Showdown for the rivalry matchup of Kansas (3-6, 1-5 Big 12) and #22 Kansas State (6-2, 3-2 Big 12), but the sellout crowd, nor the Jayhawks’ defense, could stop the Wildcats’ running game.
The Jayhawks had just won their first Big 12 game under Les Miles in chaotic fashion, which meant that many people thought Kansas would have a good amount of momentum against in-state rivals Kansas State. However, the Wildcats came off of what is arguably the biggest upset of the season (so far). Upsetting Heisman candidate Jalen Hurts and #5 Oklahoma at home, Wildcat fans were ready to see what they had to offer on the road against a sold-out crowd in Lawrence. And boy, did Kansas State deliver in the 38-10 victory.
Led by junior QB Skylar Thompson, Kansas State’s run game made the biggest difference on Saturday. Overall, Kansas State finished with 342 rushing yards on 60 attempts. Thompson led with 127 yards and 4 touchdowns on 17 attempts. Passing, Thompson was only 9/16 for 129 yards. Kansas finished with only 61 rushing yards, led by sophomore RB Pooka Williams with 61 yards on 14 attempts. Stanley was sacked 4 times, which listed his net rushing yardage at -27.
The offense for Kansas seemed sub-par. Senior QB Carter Stanley only connected on 13 out of 23 passes for 115 yards and threw 2 interceptions. To give some context, under new offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon, Stanley threw for 310 yards against Texas and for 415 yards last week against Texas Tech. This was the first week that Stanley did not perform at his best.
Carter Stanley did get injured in the fourth quarter, which took him out for the rest of the game, but head coach Les Miles says he will be okay. “I don’t think it is [bad]”, said coach Miles. “I think he’s nicked, but I don’t think there’s anything serious. I immediately talked to the trainer. The trainer said, ‘We just need to take him out’. So then we took him out.”
One major positive outlook that the Kansas football program can look towards is the fan support. The official attendance at the game listed at 47,233 people, which gave Memorial Stadium its first sellout since the game against Nebraska on November 14, 2009 (Nebraska won 31-17). Last time a Kansas football game was sold out at Memorial Stadium, the track was still a part of the stadium, the hottest song of the week was “Watcha Say” by Jason Derulo, and I was in fourth grade.
After Kansas’ offense collected an average of 548 yards per game over the past two weeks, Kansas only produced 241 total offensive yards against KSU.
The Kansas defense allows an average of 473.2 yards, including 235.3 rushing yards. The least amount of rushing yards KU has allowed in Big 12 play is 192 yards against West Virginia.
Kansas has a bye week next week. Their next game will be at Oklahoma State on November 16.
Kansas needs to win out to be bowl eligible, but with their last three opponents (at Oklahoma State, at Iowa State, #11 Baylor), it seems unlikely. It will have to take a miracle. However, it is just year one in a rebuilding process under Les Miles. It’s too early to write the final passage in the Kansas football program.