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KU-Rice game report

  • Published Sunday, Sep. 15, 2013, at 12:04 a.m.

First quarter

Key play: Rice linebacker Michael Kutzler stepped in front of a Jake Heaps’ pass and tipped the ball to himself for a pick-six interception.

Key stat: Rice held KU to just 18 rushing yards on seven carries.

Second quarter

Key play: KU’s offense finally showed some life as Heaps hit Tony Pierson for a 77-yard catch-and-run with 9:20 left in the half.

Key stat: Heaps’ TD pass was KU’s longest completion since Todd Reesing and Marcus Henry combined for an 82-yard TD against Oklahoma State in 2007.

Third quarter

Key play: Safety Isaiah Johnson set up KU’s first lead of the game on a 31-yard interception return to the Rice 16-yard line. Moments later, Jake Heaps’ quarterback sneak gave KU a 14-13 lead.

Key stat: It was the first career interception for Johnson, a junior college transfer.

Fourth quarter

Key play: After KU’s offense stalled, a tipped punt set up solid field position for Rice kicker Chris Boswell, who drilled a 56-yard field goal to put the Owls ahead 16-14.

Key stat: KU finished with just 11 first downs.

Player of the game: Rice running back Charles Ross finished with 157 yards rushing on 27 carries, controlling the tempo for an Owls offense that was limited to just 178 yards in the air.

Reason to hope: For the second straight week, a revamped secondary was one of KU’s bright spots. Even without juco transfer Kevin Short, who has been ruled ineligible, the group looked sound. Sophomore safety Isaiah Johnson had a big interception, and junior cornerback Dexter McDonald was solid.

Reason to mope: Where do the victories come from? After playing Louisiana Tech, KU will have to find some wins in the Big 12 to avoid another one-win or two-win season.

Looking ahead: KU returns home to play host to Louisiana Tech at 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

| Rustin Dodd, rdodd@kcstar.com

Report card

D OffenseAfter two weeks, the jury is still out on the KU passing game. It’s not that transfer Jake Heaps has been totally worthless; he’s been continually hindered by an inconsistent receiving corps. For now, though, it appears KU has to find more ways to involve its running backs in every facet.
A- DefenseWhile the KU offense was mostly silent the first half, the KU defense kept the Jayhawks in the game, holding Rice to just two field goals. The defense wasn’t flawless, but linebacker Ben Heeney and an inexperienced secondary made enough plays to win.
C Special teamsThere were no crippling errors, but KU had a punt tipped, and sophomore kicker Matthew Wyman couldn’t convert what could have been an important field goal.
x CoachingSomething is wrong with the Kansas’ offense, and Charlie Weis is the offensive coordinator. The KU defense played inspired football on Saturday, but the offense is severely lacking. It’s Weis’ job to fix it.

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