The Kansas University football team’s defense, on the wrong end of domination weekly, is on pace to break every Football Bowl Subdivision scoring record for futility.
The Jayhawks have allowed an average of 50.4 points per game and are on pace to surrender 605 points. The 2010 East Carolina Pirates hold the mark for most points allowed (572), and it took them 13 games. The 2002 Eastern Michigan Eagles hold the record (566 points) for 12 games.
How did East Carolina play 13 games when it had such a horrible defense? It qualified for a bowl game with a 6-6 record. It doesn’t take much anymore.
Kansas also is on pace to break Louisiana-Lafayette’s 1997 record for most points averaged by an opponent, 50.3 in 11 games. KU has allowed 50.4 points.
Even though Kansas opponents have scored 24 more points through seven games than Eastern Michigan had allowed at that point, the smart money says KU won’t break the records.
Kansas already has put the toughest portion of its Big 12 schedule behind it. Games against Texas and Iowa State, the two least productive offenses in the conference, remain. Three of the top four offenses (1. Oklahoma State, 3. Oklahoma, 4. Texas Tech) already played Kansas.
Texas, Saturday’s opponent, is coming off a bye week and will have the home-field advantage, but the Longhorns average a mere 30 points a game.
Then again, UT hasn’t yet played a team on pace to shatter futility records, a team that in the past five games has allowed an average of 57.4 points.
Freshman David Ash and sophomore Case McCoy, Colt’s brother, had been sharing the quarterback job until Ash was given it outright against Oklahoma State. Ash responded with a lousy game, completing 22 of 40 passes for just 139 yards. He didn’t throw a touchdown pass and was picked off twice in a 38-26 loss to the Cowboys.
True freshman running back Malcolm Brown hasn’t met superstar expectations, but he did rush for 135 yards and two touchdowns against OSU, both career highs.
Kansas supplies Ash and Brown with an opportunity to build confidence with big games, but it doesn’t feel as if the Longhorns will become the sixth team in two seasons to score 55 points or more against the Jayhawks.
But nothing’s impossible with a football team packed with so many men who think the team’s improving when game-day data suggests otherwise. Also, the athletes are in the uncomfortable position of playing for a coach whose job security has become a topic of daily discussion.
“Sometimes, I think it’s ridiculous what people say about him,” senior linebacker Steven Johnson said of coach Turner Gill. “It really hurts. ... I look up to him because he takes in so much heat every day and does his job and doesn’t let it faze him.”
Words won’t help if the weekly blastings persist.
“I’m pretty sure you guys and other people talk bad about him and try to get him out of here, but I feel as though that would be a big mistake,” Johnson said. “It would be a huge mistake because this program is on the rise.”
Expectations have plummeted, but surely not enough to consider this bunch closing in on historic futility to be “on the rise.”