Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Midseason report: Kansas
By David Ubben
Record: 1-5, 0-3 Big 12
Second verse, same as the first. In a lot of ways, Kansas is better than it was under Turner Gill. The defense looks more sound. The offense has something of an identity.
The record, though? There's no getting around that. Kansas is sitting at 1-5 and the hope of grabbing a second win to equal last year's win total seems like one in which the odds do not favor. Kansas' 1-5 record came courtesy of a pair of blown fourth-quarter leads to Rice and Northern Illinois. The Huskies are a good team with just one loss (by one point) to Iowa, but even Memphis (winners of six games in the past three seasons) beat Rice, a feat the Jayhawks couldn't duplicate, even at home. No Big 12 team had ever lost to the Owls, too.
Dayne Crist doesn't look any better than he did at Notre Dame, and after completing just 49 percent of his passes, might lose his job to Michael Cummings. That's natural, considering every other Big 12 starting quarterback is completing at least 60 percent of his passes.
Dave Campo has the defense looking much more sound, but even that growth looked a bit like a mirage in a 40-point loss to Kansas State. Last week's 20-14 loss to Oklahoma State offered a little hope, but the weather and a hurt quarterback had a lot to do with the Cowboys' struggles, and late mistakes undid the Jayhawks late.
The Charlie Weis Reclamation Project in Lawrence is off to a rough start, and the second half of the season will require a whole lot of improvement if anything's going to change.
Offensive MVP: Anthony Pierson, RB. Nobody on Kansas' team has really stood out this season, but Pierson is the biggest home-run hitter on the team and offers a threat in the passing and running game. He's down with an elbow injury for a bit, but it doesn't sound like a major injury. He's turned his 59 carries into 319 yards and two touchdowns, the highest yards per carry on the team. He's also second on the team with 15 catches and third on the team with 198 yards and a touchdown.
Defensive MVP: Bradley McDougald, S. This one's pretty easy. McDougald is the team's best player and could start for a number of other Big 12 teams. The former receiver is making plays all over the field and is tied with Ben Heeney for the team lead with 50 tackles. He's picked off two passes and has three tackles for loss with a sack. He's also forced a pair of fumbles and broken up a pass.