Football

Five Quick Thoughts: Kansas 24, Texas 21 (OT)

Charlie Strong. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Charlie Strong. (Will Gallagher/IT)

By: Justin Wells

LAWRENCE, KS — A win is a win no matter how ugly it is. But a loss to a team that hasn’t won in the Big 12 it seems since the Clinton administration is about as bad as it gets.

And from a different angle, when your running back continues to shatter records because you’re force feeding him 51 carries – the most in D1 since 2000 and seven from the all-time mark, this loss is the type that gets coaches fired. No matter how many values he has.

Here are our Five Quick Thoughts following KU’s 24-21 OT win over Texas on Saturday.

1. Going Bowling? Not so fast – With the loss, the Longhorns move to 5-6 and unless they beat TCU on Friday, will miss bowl season for a 2nd consecutive year. This is unacceptable. Strong knows it. The players know it. Perrin knows it. And Fenves better by God know it.

2. Foreman Passes Campbell, Charles, and Benson – D’Onta Foreman gained 251 yards on 51 carries, surpassing Earl Campbell’s record of 11 straight 100-yard rushing performances at Texas. Foreman, who most believe is headed to the National Football League after this season, took awhile to get rolling against the Jayhawks. Kansas knew without question that Foreman would be shooting for the record – his first eight carries netted just 32 yards. But when it was obvious Shane Buechele wasn’t the same after his neck injury in the first half, Strong and Gilbert rode the Foreman horse until the tires were bald and two costly fumbles ensued. He’s blaming himself right now and he shouldn’t. The guy is a GD warrior. He also moved into 3rd in the all-time single season yards gained in Austin.

3. Six Turnovers and You Still Win Almost Won– The Texas offense turned the ball over six times in Lawrence. Bad decisions by Buechele, too many carries for Foreman, and anything else you want to pile on. It was Buechele’s worst game at Texas, it was Gilbert’s most lackluster game plan in Austin, and I still don’t think these kids were prepared for this game.

4. Kris Boyd Almost Saved the Day Again – I’m not sure anyone in all of football (HS, college , and NFL) knows what the hell a catch is. But that interception in the end zone late in the 4th quarter looked pretty caught to me. And many others. How about a review? Nope. How about Strong pleading his case for his best cover corner? Nope. That part hurts as much as anything.

5. New Direction – After a pretty pitiful performance against an out-manned Kansas team, what happens next? Eric and I, mostly Eric, have tried to relay what’s going on behind the scenes since Cal the best way we could. The men making the final decisions wanted to keep Charlie, but they also needed a reason. Charlie refused to give them one. And I’m not sure he was even qualified to do even that. Each week, the players played hard for Strong and his staff. It’s one of Strong’s positive traits. But with each loss, and even close wins, that number started to dwindle. The culmination of that reared it’s ugly head tonight.

D'Onta Foreman. (Will Gallagher/IT)
D’Onta Foreman. (Will Gallagher/IT)

By: Scipio Tex

This loss will ultimately prove to be a blessing. You probably don’t realize that right now and don’t even want to read it. But it’s true.

Texas opened the game with a 75 yard score on a hitch route to Jacorey Warrick and it seemed that the rout was on.

Not so fast.

Instead, that play set the stage for an improbable, nearly inconceivable loss to a 1-9 football team. This is the lowest of Texas football lows. And I’ve sat through most of them.

A 1-9 Jayhawk team that has played only three competitive football games all year out-gutted and out-coached Texas, highlighting another listless Charlie Strong led road effort to deliver one of the most humiliating, crushing losses in Longhorn history.

The first half saw the Longhorn offense turn the ball over on four consecutive possessions (Buechele INT, Swoopes strip sack, Foreman fumble, Buechele pick 6), go 0-7 on 3rd down on their first 7 tries (finished the half 1 of 8, an execrable 3 of 17 for the game) and stall out completely while repeatedly putting the Texas defense in terrible spots.

Texas would eventually turn it over six time in a display of bumbling offensive ineptitude against one of the worst defenses in college football.

In the second half, Texas fed the ball to a beaten down, clearly hurting D’onta Foreman in an attempt to kill him on the field and rode the big man to score two second half touchdowns. #33 finished with 250 yards on an amazing 51 carries with two touchdowns and two tough fumbles.

He needs an ice bath, some stickum, a PETA representative, nine Advils and a different head coach. NFL or college.

The Jayhawks led 10-7 at half despite mounting no real offense (119 yards) and the Texas defense holding them to 2 of 11 on 3rd down. The Texas defense largely played well except for critical errors down the stretch, but that’s the postscript to the entire Charlie Strong era at Texas.

While Texas “rallied” to a 21-10 second half lead, the listless Texas offense and a Texas defense committed to extending Kansas drives with dumb penalties and mental errors allowed the Jayhawks the chance to cut it to 3, convert a field goal (courtesy of a roughing the passer on McCulloch) and then win in the final stanza.

24-21, Jayhawks. Kansas deserved the win.

Let’s be crystal clear. If Texas had taken this effort on the road against any middling FBS football team and not the beakless Jayhawks, the Longhorns would’ve trailed 28-0 at halftime and lost the game 59-7.

Instead, they handed the game to a program so steeped in futility that they had less than 20,000 fans in their empty stadium to celebrate. Losing 69 games over the last 7 years will do that to a fanbase. Now Texas fans are starting to understand that feeling.

The 24-21 Jayhawk win should just about to do it for the Charlie Strong era at Texas. He’s done.

Fear will now do the work of reason. And that’s always how Bellmont best operates. When it’s so terrified that even their natural laziness, complacency and stupidity are counteracted by the terror of losing their spot at the trough should Texas fans raze everything to the ground in open rebellion. That’s where we are and they know it.

Self-preservation will now guarantee our coaching change. Not reason or insight.

Fear will do the work of reason.

Offense

The beauty of offense from an index card is that it creates fluency. The downside is that it doesn’t allow many options when something goes wrong with personnel. Buechele was extremely off before he was hurt and what appeared to be a mild pinched nerve sustained on a 2nd quarter 3rd down scramble reduced him to a rag-armed albatross. Swoopes was ineffective in relief and Shane gutted it out for another two and a half quarters, but played incredibly poorly.

Our only response was to turn Foreman into a plow horse, break him and pray the defense would hold. That calculation failed. We’re about as flexible as Dustin Hopkins in Rain Man.

Defense

I give them credit for largely controlling a bad opponent, but KU has an execrable offense and they ran an extremely conservative set of play calls for young QB Carter Stanley. The defense failed down the stretch, but the Texas offense abetted it.

Special Teams

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Quincy Vasser’s exceptional effort on kick coverage and myriad special teams. Great hustle, effort, physicality. Two great tackles and hustle on kick coverage.

Dickson is a stud and he pinned KU multiple times.

Conclusion

The first half performance was sufficient data to justify to the hoopleheads the decision they should have already arrived at based on bad process. The actual loss was simple the coup de grace. It’s now out of everyone’s hands. The decision is made.

So this loss will ultimately prove a blessing.

Texas moves on to finish the season against a poor TCU team that was destroyed in Amon Carter by Oklahoma State. I’ll watch because I’m a Texas fan. And I’ll marvel at the young, raw talent we have just waiting to be molded by a functioning college football staff.

Speed the plow.