LAWRENCE — Sometimes life just needs a mercy rule. Or maybe a running clock. Just something to get you through the night. Anything would have helped during Kansas’ 59-14 loss to No. 6 Baylor on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
“They score in a hurry,” KU coach Charlie Weis would say.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, one of the nation’s most efficient quarterbacks, completed 20 of 32 passes for 430 yards in less than three quarters as Baylor overwhelmed Kansas with a cartoonishly effective offensive arsenal.
The Bears, who entered Saturday averaging a nation-leading 714 yards per game, put up a cool 743 yards despite resting Petty and starting running back Lache Seastrunk for most of the second half.
It was the third-most yards ever recorded against a KU defense. Only Nebraska’s 799-yard day in 1978 and Georgia Tech’s 768-yard bludgeoning in 2011 had been worse. Petty added three touchdowns passes while averaging 21.5 yards per completion.
It was all so easy, all so fast, all so systematic that Kansas fans had to be wondering how college football’s golden era for offense has bypassed Mount Oread and Memorial Stadium.
“You have to cover, really, the whole width of the field,” Weis said. “And what it does, they got good athletes and they can expose you.”
The Jayhawks, 2-5 overall and 0-4 in the Big 12, lost their 25th straight Big 12 game, a streak that continues to hover over Weis’ rebuilding project. Of course, Kansas was also playing a top-10 team — and one of the most explosive offenses in college football history. So even the fans that remained in the second half, in a deserted Memorial Stadium, probably weren’t expecting a victory against Baylor.
But they may have hoped for signs of life from the KU offense, which has continued to hamstring Weis’ plans in year two. The Jayhawks had 308 yards of total offense, and failed to score 20 points for their fifth straight Big 12 game, dating back to last year.
It wasn’t so long ago that all these ugly numbers belonged to Baylor, which once lost 29 straight Big 12 games from 1998 to 2002. On Saturday, the Bears rolled into town with some flashy white uniforms, a head coach (Art Briles) who is pure Texas gunslinger and an offense that is pure extraterrestrial.
“They were prepared,” KU safety Cassius Sendish said. “Once they flip the switch, it’s like a bat out of hell.”
After punting twice in the first quarter (How did that happen?), Baylor scored on four straight possessions. The Bears built a 28-0 lead. Seastrunk (109 yards rushing in 13 carries) highlighted the onslaught with a swiveling, 29-yard touchdown run. And the longest drive took just seven plays and stretched just one minute, 32 seconds.
Baylor. Is. Fast.
“We started coinciding with each other,” Briles said. “The next thing you knew, you looked up and it was 28-0.”
On the other side, it didn’t matter who was playing quarterback for KU. Jake Heaps started and completed just seven of 19 for 85 yards. True freshman Montell Cozart, playing in his second career game, came off the bench and was four of 14 for 69 yards, including a 45-yard deep ball to receiver Rodriguez Coleman that set up KU’s first touchdown.
“I don’t know who will play more on a weekly basis,” Weis said. “But I think we have to get them both ready to play on a weekly basis.”
Kansas finally spoiled the shutout late in the third quarter, when junior Brandon Bourbon rushed in from 22 yards out. The touchdown came just two plays after Cozart connected with Coleman.
Heaps would add a 30-yard touchdown pass to Coleman, cutting the Baylor lead to 52-14. It kept alive one of KU’s more unlikely streaks: Heaps, despite all his struggles, has thrown a touchdown pass in all seven games this season.
And this one might have been the most meaningless of all. Here was Kansas, powerless against a blindingly effective offense. Here was Kansas, now just five more conferences losses away from breaking Baylor’s record for Big 12 futility.
“When you hear Baylor,” KU defensive tackle Keon Stowers said, “you kind of say, 'OK, it’s Baylor, but they’re just having a good year this year.' But that is a really good football team that we just played. …
“It is what it is. We gotta come in here and correct the mistakes.”