October 2, 2010

Big plays cost Jayhawks as Baylor crushes Kansas 55-7

WACO, Texas — In the fourth quarter, as Baylor put the finishing touches on its 55-7 thrashing of Kansas, the Baylor student section serenaded the 53 KU players unfortunate enough to have been a part of it.

"KAN-SAS HIGH SCHOOL!" they chanted.

A month ago, the Jayhawks lost to a team from a lower division. On Saturday, in a defeat that was debatably more humiliating than the North Dakota State debacle, the Jayhawks played like they could not have been less prepared to play a college football game at any level.

"We got outcoached," KU coach Turner Gill said.

But there was much more to the nightmare that unfolded on a sunny day at Floyd Casey Stadium. KU (2-3, 1-2 Big 12) was also outmanned by the Bears.

"When I went out there, they were bigger than I thought," KU linebacker Steven Johnson said. "I'm just like, 'What in the world are they eating?’æ”

The Bears pigged out on Jayhawk on Saturday. Baylor hadn't fed on that much mythical bird since 1989, when it beat Kansas 46-3.

Before digging too deep into the gruesome incident report from Waco, one thing needs to be repeated: Baylor did this. Baylor, which last played in a bowl game in 1994. Baylor, which drew 35,405 people to this Big 12 opener, leaving 15,000 empty seats. Baylor, the school that was only allowed to join the Big 12 to begin with because of its cozy perch with Texas politicians. Baylor, not Texas or Oklahoma.

Sure, Baylor is improved. The Bears are 4-1 and appear good enough to end their bowl drought at the very least. Quarterback Robert Griffin III is as good as there is in the Big 12, and he's got some guys around him who are speedy and hard to tackle. But, while Saturday's game could have been construed as Baylor's coming out party, it could just as easily be the most sure sign yet that Kansas has left the shindig altogether.

"It's shocking," KU wide receiver Daymond Patterson said.

It was only a year ago that the Jayhawks were undefeated and ranked 15th in the coaches' poll, coming off back-to-back bowl victories. Kansas is 2-10 since beating Iowa State on Oct. 10, 2009.

In this latest defeat, the Jayhawks went about rewriting the Baylor record books. The Bears' 678 yards were their most ever — the previous mark was 656, set against Lamar in 1980. Griffin broke the school's single-game passing record with 380 yards and the single-game total-yards mark with 444. The margin of victory was Baylor's largest in Big 12 play.

You had to figure that a loss this lopsided would challenge Gill's positive outlook on things. Well, think again.

"Overall, our defense has played fairly well this season," Gill said.

Gill said this was just one game that the defense didn't play well. But his players were able to make the connection that this one game just happened to be played against a spread offense that came prepared to pass the ball from sideline to sideline and see if KU had the speed to cover the whole field.

North Dakota State, Georgia Tech and New Mexico State didn't do that. Southern Miss did, and the Jayhawks were gashed in the running game for 202 yards.

"Georgia Tech was a running offense," Johnson said. "We feel with the run we can stop that. Right now, it's just a little soft on the corners when they throw those little hitches and bubbles and screens. (Baylor) got us going lateral really fast. It started getting us tired because it's sideline to sideline to sideline, and the same thing happened at Southern Miss."

The play that said everything was a wide receiver screen pass from Griffin to Josh Gordon that turned into a 94-yard touchdown and a 24-7 Baylor lead.

"It's embarrassing," KU safety Olaitan Oguntodu said. "When you play defense, you have to play as a team. Today, from the look of the score, we didn't do that."

Offensively, Kansas regressed, too. Redshirt freshman Jordan Webb was responsible for three of KU's four turnovers. The Jayhawks had 54 yards in the second half.

All told, this historic loss was a true team effort.

"I've never been on the field and had that happen to me," Johnson said. "Right now, I'm really upset."

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