The Jayhawk was partially hidden behind Joe Dineen’s orange shirt sleeve, a Kansas 1941 “angry-style” mascot looking to the right with a scowl.
If there was any question why the KU linebacker was so emotional after the game — why he was taking Saturday’s 38-9 loss to Baylor so personally — one only needed to take a look at the red and blue tattoo on his left bicep.
These results hurt. Dineen grew up in Lawrence with two parents who were KU grads. His grandfather was a running back for the Jayhawks in the ’60s, while his great-grandfather played basketball for the legendary Phog Allen.
That Jayhawk on his arm? It might as well be over his heart.
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“I think the town, the fans, I think they deserve a better performance from the players,” Dineen said, talking slowly and reflectively. “I can’t really put it in words, but I think the fan base deserves for us to play better.”
The reality was clear: to Dineen, to coach David Beaty and also to the announced 21,797 that gave KU football another chance Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
An already frustrating season? It had just hit rock bottom following a four-possession loss to previously winless Baylor.
“I know our fans are disappointed,” Beaty said. “They’ve got every right to be.”
It was the latest disconcerting look for a Jayhawks program that has already had its share.
Two weeks ago, KU had just 21 yards of offense against TCU — the worst mark ever by a Big 12 team. In the same game, the team tied the FBS record with its 44th consecutive road loss.
But to be blown out by Baylor? A team that was 0-8 coming in with a previous home loss against FCS opponent Liberty?
“I think what we put out there today, it was embarrassing,” Dineen said. “It’s unacceptable. That can’t happen.”
For a day, Dineen was the primary voice for the program. He spent more time with reporters than Beaty, choosing his words carefully while seated at a round table at Anderson Family Football Complex.
“Credit to them,” Dineen said. “They came out, and they kicked our (butt) for four quarters.”
Dineen praised Beaty for doing his best to keep guys positive in the locker room. He said it would have been tough to do the same if he were in those shoes.
“It’s getting hard for me to keep my cool,” Dineen said. “The fans, they deserve so much better, and we’re Big 12 football players.”
The Jayhawks didn’t play to that level for much of Saturday, with the lapses coming frequently on both ends.
Carter Stanley — after posting 418 yards last week — was inaccurate while throwing too often without his feet set. That led to a costly third-quarter interception that killed any slim hopes of a comeback.
Meanwhile, the Jayhawks secondary was beaten repeatedly by a Baylor offense decimated by injuries. True freshman Charlie Brewer — in his first start — threw for 315 yards, which included 233 in the first half. Big-play threat Denzel Mims also broke free, catching a 56-yard pass before going over 100 receiving yards in the third quarter.
Beaty said Baylor “schematically exposed us a couple times” before admitting KU’s defense regressed from previous weeks.
“There’s not going to be a pep talk after a game like that,” Beaty said of his team. “We expected to win that game, and we didn’t do it. Frustration … I don’t think that word even approaches the feeling.”
Baylor, which entered as a 7 1/2 -point favorite even without a win this year, easily delivered a larger spread than that while primarily running the ball in the fourth quarter.
The result only reopened questions about the team’s progress in Beaty’s third season. The coach dropped to 3-30 at KU, which includes a 1-29 record against non-FCS foes. That lone victory was a 24-21 overtime win over Texas last season.
Earlier this week, Beaty said he believed Baylor coach Matt Rhule was going through “a very similar situation to kind of what we inherited when we first got here” when it came to a low number of scholarship players. Beaty was asked Saturday, then, what the 29-point loss might indicate about his team’s growth over the last three seasons.
“They’re nowhere near where we were,” Beaty said of Baylor. “We were down 30-plus scholarships. They’re not even remotely close to that. I said that there’s ‘some things’ that they’re facing. They’re not even close to where we were.
“And we’re still not there, but that’s no excuse.”
KU, which fell to 1-8 overall and 0-6 in the Big 12, should be at least three-touchdown underdogs in each of its final games. The Jayhawks travel to Texas next week before hosting Oklahoma and traveling to face Oklahoma State.
Knowing that, Dineen was fully aware of the opportunity KU let slip away Saturday.
“I thought we had a great week, practiced well. I felt like we were ready to go for this game,” Dineen said. “I’m not sure what happened, to be honest.”
The KU linebacker could only promise this much: He’d be giving his all again next week against the Longhorns.
“I’m a Jayhawk. I grew up, family, all that good stuff. That’s why I take pride in putting the jersey on and going out every Saturday and playing as hard as I can,” Dineen said.
“Obviously, the end product isn’t what I want it to be.”
Baylor 38, Kansas 9
KAN—FG Rui 38, 14:24
BAY—G.Holmes 26 pass from Brewer (C.Martin kick), 13:15
BAY—Feuerbacher 25 pass from Brewer (C.Martin kick), 7:03
KAN—FG Rui 40, 4:18
BAY—G.Holmes 4 run (C.Martin kick), 2:29
KAN—FG Rui 43, 10:39
BAY—Te.Williams 1 run (C.Martin kick), 2:51
BAY—FG C.Martin 38, 8:45
BAY—Wainright 9 pass from Brewer (Webster kick), 2:31
Time of Possession
RUSHING—Baylor, Te.Williams 23-62, Hasty 5-28, Brewer 8-22, G.Holmes 1-4, Ebner 2-4. Kansas, Herbert 10-71, T.Martin 3-26, Do.Williams 7-23, Moos 1-11, Sims 1-11, Stanley 9-(minus 2), Bender 1-(minus 6), Schadler 1-(minus 8).
PASSING—Baylor, Atkinson 1-1-0-20, Brewer 23-29-0-315. Kansas, Stanley 17-33-1-155, Bender 2-3-0-8.
RECEIVING—Baylor, Mims 5-122, G.Holmes 4-66, Te.Williams 4-25, Ebner 3-34, B.Lynch 2-10, Hasty 2-5, Feuerbacher 1-25, Brewer 1-20, Atkinson 1-19, Wainright 1-9. Kansas, Sims 7-47, Schadler 3-25, Patrick 3-17, Fairs 2-40, Harrell 2-30, B.Johnson 1-5, Herbert 1-(minus 1).
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Baylor, C.Martin 36. Kansas, Rui 48.