(Article written by Sports Staff member Lane Gillespie)
LAWRENCE, KS – On November 18, 2018, Les Miles was hired as the new head coach for Kansas. Excitement flowed through Lawrence and expectations were high.
Now year one has passed under the new head coach. On paper, not much has changed since previous head coach David Beaty’s final season. The Jayhawks finished 3-9 (1-8 vs. Big 12), which is the same record Kansas had in 2018. However, KU had good memories this season, and the KU football program has improved tremendously and still has great potential.
Aug. 31- Kansas earned their first win of the season against Indiana State 24-17. Les Miles earned his first win with Kansas.
Sep. 13- Kansas defeats Boston College on the road 48-24. KU entered the game as 20-point underdogs. The Jayhawks offense finished with 567 total yards.
Oct. 19- KU loses on close battle with #15 Texas. Kansas took the lead with 1:11 but lost 50-48 after a field goal as time expired. KU’s offense finished with 569 total yards. First game with new OC Brent Dearmon.
Oct. 26- Les Miles earns first Big 12 win with Kansas vs. Texas Tech 37-34 after a game-winning field goal from kicker Liam Jones.
Nov. 2- David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium has first sellout since 2009, with official attendance reaching 47,223. Kansas lost to #22 Kansas State 38-10.
Nov. 23- Sophomore RB Pooka Williams records his 2,000th career rushing yard. He’s the first to surpass that feat in his first two seasons since Gale Sayers.
Nov. 30- Senior QB Carter Stanley earns his 5,000th career passing yard. He is the 5th Jayhawk to reach this milestone.
Offense- After their loss to Oklahoma halfway through the season, head coach Les Miles decided to let go of Les Koenning as their offensive coordinator and figured he would go to new offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon to lead the charge on offense. Since Dearmon was hired, KU’s offense average 400.2 yards per game, including two straight 500+ yard games against Texas and Texas Tech.
Fan Support- In my eyes, this was by far the biggest climb I’ve seen for the football program. I knew it would climb, but not to this amount. In the 2018 season, David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium sat an average of 19,424 fans. This season, attendance averaged 33,874 fans. That’s a 74.3% increase in attendance.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
The biggest topic to watch for next season is for the quarterback spot. Since Carter Stanley just played his final game, many people, myself included, assume that Thomas MacVittie will take over the starting spot. MacVitte will be a senior next season, and he only had two appearances this season against Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
Year one is done. Some strides have been made, but there is still a lot to work on. Moral victories are great, and Kansas achieved a decent amount of moral victories, but the goal for next season should be to achieve more victories in the record book.
This is still a rebuilding process. Let’s see how the Jayhawks do next fall in Les Miles’ second season at Kansas.