If Les Miles indeed starts a reclamation story — and does what three predecessors could not with Kansas football — then a cool Friday night at Alumni Stadium will be considered the start of it all.
Coming off a lifeless home defeat against Coastal Carolina, KU didn’t just pick itself off the canvas ... it shocked the college football world with a 48-24 road victory over Boston College.
The Jayhawks rolled to the blowout win despite coming in as a 20-point underdog. They also picked up their first Power Five road victory since Oct. 4, 2008 vs. Iowa State ... two years before iPads were invented.
“I’m proud of them. I think the coaching staff did a great job,” Miles said after the game. “Those things are going to happen more regularly with our program at a great school like Kansas.”
In one week, and a short one at that, KU re-evolved offensively, ditching most of its under-center plays and I-formation for a shotgun, spread look.
The results were impressive. Quarterback Carter Stanley looked more comfortable in one of his best career performances, while running backs Khalil Herbert and Pooka Williams — with extra space to operate in the middle of the field — gashed the Eagles over and over.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am for those kids,” Miles added. “If anybody wants to know why a guy would come back to college football, this night tells you how much fun, how important college football is.”
All this came after it started out ugly for the Jayhawks.
On KU’s second offensive play, Stanley grossly overthrew an open Andrew Parchment over the middle, as Boston College’s Mehdi El Attrach picked it off. It was Stanley’s third interception on the season in 50 pass attempts ... matching what last year’s starter, Peyton Bender, had all season in 321 attempts.
Miles stuck with Stanley, though. And boy, was he rewarded.
After a punt the next possession, KU’s next four drives went like this: touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown. Stanley completed his next 12 passes, while going a perfect 4 for 4 on two separate length-of-the-field drives.
He also showed the competitiveness that’s long made him a team favorite. He tried to hurdle a linebacker on a zone-read run, then later went head-up on another linebacker while trying to gain an extra yard.
On the last possession of the first half, he also helped spring Herbert for an 82-yard rush with a block on a run blitz, with KU taking a 28-24 lead before the break on Parchment’s second touchdown reception.
Stanley’s first-half line: 13 of 15, 165 yards, three touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks — after averaging 5.2 yards per play on the season coming in — chucked their way to a 9.7-yard average before halftime.
That even led ACC Network analyst E.J. Manuel to comment at the break that Stanley was “playing out of his mind.”
KU’s offense didn’t slow in the second half, starting with three straight scoring drives to push its lead to 17.
Both Williams and Herbert went over 100 yards rushing. Parchment had 100 yards receiving, while Stanley threw for 238.
KU (2-1) suddenly can start to dream a little. KU will host West Virginia at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday — a matchup that will likely be the team’s easiest game left on the schedule.
“The Jayhawks are coming. It’s very realistic that we can be a great program with quality football teams year after year,” said Miles.