Say something nice about Kansas football: Carter Stanley makes it interesting

Kansas quarterback Carter Stanley (9) heaves a pass around Baylor linebacker Raaquan Davis (19) during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas.

Finally, a little intrigue spices the stagnant-so-long air hovering over another dismal Kansas football season.

Thank redshirt freshman quarterback Carter Stanley for supplying it by running the offense more sharply than any KU quarterback has in quite some time Saturday in a 48-21 loss at West Virginia in a game that Kansas trailed 31-0 at the half.

Beaty used Stanley as his second-string QB for the second consecutive week, a promotion from third-string status. Not all of Stanley’s work in Morgantown came against the second string. He entered in the third quarter after starter Montell Cozart was shaken up and according to head coach David Beaty showed some concussion symptoms.

Stanley’s statistics — he completed 9 of 11 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns with one interception — were impressive, but more than that, he looked like he knew what he was doing running the offense. He looked decisive, scanned the entire field looking for receivers, made the defense respect his running ability, and other than on an interception in the end zone on which his throw was wide left, to the side where the tightest coverage on LaQuvionte Gonzalez was located, he was pretty accurate.

Stanley’s threat as a runner made a defender freeze for a second, which enabled speedy running back Taylor Martin to run right past the defender to open space, where Stanley found Martin with a short pass that KU’s fastest runner turned into a 42-yard touchdown.

Less than half of one game does not a quarterback drought cure and questions remain about Stanley — arm strength, the swiftness of his release, two interceptions in 32 throws — but his encouraging performance at least gave KU football fans a reason to watch the Iowa State game Saturday. No point in not turning the offense over to Stanley for the final three weeks to see if he is a legitimate candidate to join a spring football competition that will include Tyriek Starks, a New Orleans high school recruit spending his first year at Kansas as a redshirt, plus in all likelihood a junior college or graduate transfer not yet in the Kansas program.

A forgotten man as recently as a few days ago, Stanley is back in the QB conversation. Even so, he has a long way to go before becoming as famous as a musician who entertained so many before his life came to a tragic end.