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Archive for Sunday, September 14, 2008

Keegan: KU’s 20 minutes of doom

South Florida receiver A.J. Love leaves Kansas defenders Justin Thornton and Isiah Barfield in the dust as he heads in for a touchdown during the fourth quarter Friday, Sept. 12, 2008 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

South Florida receiver A.J. Love leaves Kansas defenders Justin Thornton and Isiah Barfield in the dust as he heads in for a touchdown during the fourth quarter Friday, Sept. 12, 2008 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

September 14, 2008

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— The Kansas University defense was closing in on pushing its touchdown shutout streak to 10 quarters, when the defense that to that point had bent but never broken was blown to bits for roughly 20 minutes of game clock Friday night at Raymond James Stadium.

For those 20 minutes, beginning with a few minutes left in the first half and ending a couple of minutes into the fourth quarter of a 37-34 loss to the University of South Florida, the KU defense allowed four touchdowns.

For the other 160 minutes, the defense has not allowed a single touchdown.

What possibly could have happened to a defense that returned nine starters from a 12-1 season capped by an Orange Bowl victory?

"We just didn't have the edge that we had in the first half," safety Darrell Stuckey said. "We just failed to make plays when it counted."

It looked as if the edge was missing, as well as the endurance and, strangely, the speed. The defense ... looked ... so .... slow ... during ... the ... 31-0 ... stretch .... of ... the ... game. Why?

If the game had been played in Colorado, at high altitude, many would have theorized that the thin air sapped the visitors unaccustomed to playing under such conditions and didn't bother the home team that lives in such an environment.

Tampa isn't a high-altitude city, so put that theory in the paper shredder. Wait, maybe just put it in the recycle bin and adapt the materials to fit the circumstances.

The game was played in intensely uncomfortable humidity, Florida humidity. A stretch? Maybe, which by definition also means maybe not.

(Aside: I did get sapped of strength rather quickly playing Laser Tag on Thursday night, but wasn't sure if that might have been because it was the most strenuous exercise I had done in roughly 30 years).

You don't go 12-1 by taking the Alibi Ike route, so no Kansas player or coach would ever acknowledge that humidity could have had something to do with the 20-minute slow, weak stretch that prevented KU from doing what it had hoped to do with a nation of college football fans watching.

"We were looking forward to being on the stage and playing our hearts out, showing everybody we deserve all the publicity we've gotten, or for some people to show we're better than they think we are," Stuckey said. "It just didn't go our way."

Receiver Johnathan Wilson had a huge day, catching 10 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Still, he couldn't help but feel a little empty from the experience.

"We wanted to come out and show the country we were a good team, we were supposed to be ranked," Wilson said. "We weren't just talk. We weren't just a one-year wonder because that's what everybody thinks. So we had something to prove tonight, just came up short. I think we've still got a chance. The season's not over at all."

If the Florida muggy air played a part, that correction already has been made. As for trying to find a way to put more heat on the opposing quarterback than quality foes will put on Todd Reesing, that's a considerably more iffy proposition.

Comments

ralphralph 5 years, 11 months ago

What a stupid scheduling move by the Belly ... on the road, in the heat of Tampa, against a real team. What happened to the cupcake recipe? The Belly must get a really big ache when he looks down the schedule and sees words like "at Oklahoma" and "vs Texas".Face it, folks, last year was a fluke; nay, an illusion. The party is over, the bubble is burst, the clock is striking twelve ... add your cliche'. It was fun to be able to pretend to be good for one season, and now reality swoops down upon the Belly.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 11 months ago

ralphralph: I agree that it wasn't the best scheduling move by Mangino. They thought they'd be able to shake off some of the cupcake accusations by playing someone in contention for a BCS berth but I'd think OU, TX, Miz, and TX Tech are enough for one season to prove we're a good team...no need for another top 25 team especially when trying to get the O and D clicking before the conference play starts.There are many things wrong that have to be corrected before those big games. We only have the passing game working right now and that's not going to fly against OU and the rest. On D, I thought we looked great until last Friday. The other teams will watch the film and see that they can nickel and dime us in 8-9 yard chunks to make easy 6-pts. I have no idea why the D let USF's receivers run down 8 yards, turn and have no coverage to catch an easy pass. They burnt us big time in the 3rd quarter this way and I was ready to throw things at the TV when they let USF trot down the field in 8 yard chunks over and over again.It was a learning experience for sure. Hope they take the lesson to heart.Oh yeah, one last thing: the vitriol in your attacking Mangino's weight doesn't help your arguments. Say what you want about the team's play and whether they are a one-year wonder but leave a guy's personal struggle with his genetic makeup alone.

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rtwngr 5 years, 11 months ago

Dind't make plays. Period. - USF looked real good too.

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Bubarubu 5 years, 11 months ago

The...line...period. Mangino mentioned the ineffective rush at the end of the first half. In the second half, USF was able to take over the line of scrimmage both ways. KU couldn't stop the run and couldn't get pressure on Grothe. USF was all over Reesing and was shutting down the run (not that that's anything new). A young offensive line with an All-America DE on the other side explains some of it, but we haven't been able to run at all this season. There's no reason for KU's d-line not to make more impact though. Grothe had a better completion percentage (over 70%) and USF was averaging 1.2 yards per carry better than KU. The bright spot so far is the passing game (Reesing making plays on the run, the WRs not quitting on plays and making themselves open).

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