Kansas football’s egregious 61-6 loss on senior night to Baylor was a complete disaster. The team committed a season high six turnovers, which ultimately led to the result being as rough as it was.
“Certainly, it’s obvious why we didn’t do well — we turned the ball over,” coach Les Miles said in his post-game press conference. “We turned the ball over six times. That’s uncharacteristic of teams that I coach and uncharacteristic of this team.”
A lot of the errors Kansas committed were a product of not being able to establish a run game early.
The Bears entered as the fifth-ranked run defense in the Big 12, but they stepped up big against the Jayhawks. One week ago, sophomore running back Pooka Williams Jr. totaled 154 rushing yards on 19 carries. But, in the first half against Baylor, the talented back only managed to gain 34 rushing yards.
Williams said after the game he started seeing “more holes and more gaps” in the second half, but by then it was too little too late.
With no semblance of a running game, Kansas had no choice but to throw on Baylor’s defense. Coming in as the top ranked defense in the conference in pass defense efficiency, the Bears flexed their stout pass defense and forced senior quarterback Carter Stanley into making bad decisions.
Stanley finished the day with only 13 completions on 26 passes for 95 yards and three interceptions. After the game, he took responsibility for his errant throws.
Kansas football ended the season 3-9 and 1-8 in conference play after Baylor dominated in Memorial Stadium Saturday, Nov. 30. The Jayhawks will take to the field for the first time in 2020 on Sept. 5.
“Two of them from me were just forced passes,” Stanley said. “We’re down at that point, and I was maybe trying to make too much happen.”
After the third interception — at the 7:15 mark of the third quarter — Stanley pulled himself from the game, down 41-0. A very defeated Stanley said he walked up to coach Miles and his offensive coordinator, Brent Dearmon, and told them to “go ahead and give Manny a shot.”
Stanley, who is a fifth-year senior, said he wanted senior Manny Miles, coach Miles’ son, to enjoy his final opportunity to play quarterback under his dad.
“I know how special it is for Manny to play under his dad for this last year,” Stanley said. “I just wanted him to have [a] moment there and close out his career as well.”
Manny came in the next drive and scored Kansas’ only touchdown of the game. But, he also threw the Jayhawks’ fourth interception of the game late in the fourth quarter.
On top of the interceptions, Kansas also muffed two punts — something it hadn’t done all season — and both ended up being recovered by Baylor. Coach Miles voiced his displeasure with those after the game and said this blowout loss isn’t fitting for a team that he thinks improved over the year.
“They turned the ball over twice on special teams. You can’t win football games doing it that way,” Miles said. “This team has taken some strides to improve, and this game was not indicative of the team that played game after game.”
Stanley said the lopsided defeat wasn’t how he envisioned his career ending, but he said he believes the program is heading in the right direction.
“Today certainly wasn’t a reflection of the progress this program has made,” Stanley said. “It’s so many things just internally that these coaches have done that’s been incredible for this program. I’m super jealous [of them] — I’m graduating, and I won’t be able to play here anymore. I truly feel like there is a great foundation set.”
Williams added to that by speaking on his frustration with the team’s performance.
“It hurt me deeply just because I told Carter we were going to send him off with a win,” Williams said. “Just competing, we didn’t really compete as much as we should’ve to send the seniors off with a victory.”
Junior receiver Andrew Parchment said he felt as though this season was a “disappointment,” but he is looking forward to coming back after a short break.
“I almost felt like we were getting complacent with losing... It’s a new team,” Parchment said. “[This] season’s done. We got a week off then we come back to work — I’m excited for that.”