Three observations from KU’s first spring game since 2019

photo by: Kevin Berg/Photo courtesy of KU Athletics

Kansas running back Daniel Hishaw Jr. stiff arms a defender during a spring scrimmage on April 17, 2021, at KU's indoor practice facility.

For the first time in two years, a spring game was played at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

Thanks to a unique scoring system, the White team (defense) earned a 74-42 win over the Blue team (offense) on Saturday. While there is only so much that can be gleaned from an event like this within any collegiate program, it was the first time to watch KU in action since its winless campaign in 2020.

Because of that, here are three initial observations from this year’s spring game:

The scoring system was probably too cute

Shortly before the spring game began, it was announced that there was going to be a different scoring system than normal.

The offense had its standard ways of scoring such as a touchdown, field goal, two-point conversion and extra point attempt. The offense also scored three points for an explosive play, which was a run of 12-plus yards and a pass of 17-plus yards. If there were two more first downs on a drive, the blue team also netted a point.

KU’s defense, meanwhile, scored one point with a three-and-out, two points for a sack, three points for a missed field goal attempt and three points for a fourth-down stop. The white team also scored six points for any touchdown, one point for a tackle-for-loss and one point for any stop to end a drive.

All of that led to a blood bath early on.

KU’s defense grabbed a 11-1 advantage after the first two possessions. That lead grew to a 21-1 advantage two possessions later. The white team scored 26 points before the offense got back on the scoreboard for another point.

The Kansas defense held a 51-14 advantage by halftime, and they certainly earned a lot of that. The offense put together more sustainable drives in the second half, many of which ended in field goals.

But maybe next year the scoring could be more standard.

KU’s defense was flying around

All that said, the Jayhawks were playing very well on the defensive end on Saturday. That should be expected, with the offense learning a new system and the defense returning a lot of key young players.

KU’s defense just looked ready to play, as everyone was seemingly flying around to the ball.

Safety Kenny Logan Jr. made a nice open-field tackle on fourth down, forcing a turnover on downs on the opening possession. Linebacker Nick Channel came through with a third-down sack to end the next trip.

Malcolm Lee intercepted a bad pass from Miles Kendrick, who was looking to dump it off to his running back. Jay Dineen forced a fumble early on, Kyron Johnson came through with a sack on fourth down as well.

Yet the biggest play of the game was a pick-six from cornerback Jacobee Bryant. The freshman from Evergreen, Alabama undercut a comeback route, in which quarterback Jalon Daniels was trying to connect with receiver Jordan Brown.