SCORE: Kansas 14, RICE 23
This game was as stiffly contested as anyone could of hoped. Both teams battled it out between the 30′s without either defense giving much up, until the end, when Rice was able to drive 50 yards late in the game for a touchdown, sealing the victory.
The Jayhawks scrapped hard, especially the defense, but fell short in a key non conference match up.
Let’s take a look on how the Jayhawks graded out in their first road game of the season.
RUNNING GAME: Throw out a 39-yard scamper by James Sims and the rushing game was not very effective. Sims ended up with 19 carries for a respectable 109 yards and a 5.7 yard average. Without that lone run, his average falls to 3.9. The rest of the team had 16 carries for -9 yards. This numbers includes when Jake Heaps was tackled or sacked behind the line of scrimmage. Coach Charlie Weis had trouble getting the ball into the hands of any of his play makers other than Sims. Tony Pierson, Darrian Miller, and Brandon Bourbon combined for just 4 carries for 19 yards.
PASSING GAME: Jake Heaps was a 13 for 28 in pass attempts for a putrid 46% completion percentage. He threw for 157 yards, including 77 to Tony Pierson, who popped away from contact after making the catch, then skirted down the sidelines. Heaps only had 80 yards outside that play. Michael Cummings went 1-1 for 13 yards in the game. Heaps also tossed two interceptions, one that was tipped along the line of scrimmage then snagged and returned for a touchdown. The other was a long ball slightly under thrown. The wide receiver did not make an adjustment on the ball; he just kept running. The defensive back made an easy pick.
This leads to another point. Not all of the passing woes can be laid at the feet of Jake Heaps. He is getting little help from his targets, who continue to drop balls delivered in a very catchable fashion, and fail to make adjustments on passes. Tight end Kimmy Mundine in particular stands out in this regard. Late in the fourth quarter, with the Jayhawks trying to catch up, Mundine dropped a pass that was right in his hands. He was wide open in the open field. Who knows what the result might have been if he could actually catch.
OVERALL OFFENSIVE GRADE: D
RUN DEFENSE: The theme defensively for Kansas in this game was bend, do not break. They gave up 192 yards rushing on the night, but didn’t allow a big play until under five minutes to go in the game when Charles Ross went on a 29-yard touchdown romp. Ross finished with 27 carries and 157 yards. The Jayhawks contained the running game more than stopped it.
PASS DEFENSE: Rice only completed 41.7% of their passes for 178 yards, a paltry 4.9 yards per attempt. Isiah Johnson and Dexter McDonald each came through with big interceptions for the defense. The pass defense kept the Jayhawks in the game, and deserved a little help from the offense.
OVERALL DEFENSIVE GRADE: B+
Kansas only had two yards in kick returns and missed a field goal. Punter Trevor Pardula averaged 47.8 yards on 6 punts, including two inside the 20.
OTHER GAME NOTES
First Downs: Kansas 11, Rice 19
Time of Possession: Kansas 26:36, Rice 33:24
Third Down Efficiency: Kansas 6-18, Rice 6-17
Turnovers: Kansas 2, Rice 2
OVERALL GAME GRADE: C-
Kansas (1-1) will host the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (1-2) at 11 a.m. CDT Saturday. The game will broadcast on Fox Sports 1.