Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bare Bones Recap

I'm not planning to have too much for you here, because I'm really in no condition to make sense for more than a few paragraphs. That said, I felt bad about the delayed analysis last week and I wanted to rectify the mistake.
First off, and this is not to take anything away from a couple sterling performances, but the game ball last night has to go to Darrell Stuckey. For one thing, he had 10 tackles from safety. Secondly, he punched the ball loose on Chris Harris' endzone pick. And most importantly, he destroyed the morale of La Tech chasing down the incredibly fast Phillip Livas on a 78 yard end around. Darrell had somewhat of an angle, but not an ideal one and he still ran down the fastest guy on their team. Then, if that weren't enough, he tackles Jackson for a 4 yard loss on the next play and the drive stalls, eventually ending with a missed FG. Darrell Stuckey: player of the game.

And if you saw the game, you'd know there were several other standout performances, so that should tell you how highly I thought of Stuckey's play. The first one you have to mention is Todd Reesing. Both FIU and La Tech have chosen to stop the run first; no matter, because Todd has picked them apart in the passing game. After playing a (supposedly) subpar game last week (71% for 256, 3TDs & 1INT) Todd decided to ratchet it up a notch against a much better defense and this time he completed 32-38(84%) for 412 yards, 3 TDs & 0 INTs. Did I mention that this was during a game in which it never stopped raining? Not too bad, especially considering he really should have been 33-38 when Dez caught the ball, only to fumble and recover it, but have it be ruled incomplete. Any other week and he's easily the player of the game. (Note: Through two games he's completed 69-90 passes (77%) for 668 yards, 6 TDs and a pick.)

Obviously when your quarterback throws for 412 yards, a few receivers had to contribute as well. Before we get into this, it should first be said that the play of both Kerry and Jonathon Wilson did not go unnoticed, but last night these other two separated from the pack a bit. First off, I think we're going to like Daymond Patterson. Filling in for Dex, Daymond caught a very Dexton-esque 3 yard pass for the first Kansas TD of the game. And from there he went ahead and caught another 7 passes for 130 yards, including another TD, this one from 39 yards out in which he completely ran by everyone. (Note: This of course makes no mention of his punt returning, which is indescribably better than a year ago. Even if last week turns out the be the only one he takes back (I doubt it), he looks so natural back there you can tell it's never going to be a problem and always poses a threat.) Moving on, the other receiver we have to mention is Dez Briscoe, whose 48 yard catch and run was second only to Stuckey's run-down for play of the game. But aside from that incredible TD, Dez also caught another 6 balls, totaling 146 yards and of course that incredible touchdown. I'd say he's replacing Marcus Henry fairly well so far.

If those four were the players of the game, Angus Quigley was the best surprise. Running 15 times for 84 yards (most when La Tech knew a run was coming), for the second straight week Angus was the only Kansas running back to have any success. We'll be discussing this much more later, because these struggles officially worry me now, but I won't be surprised to see Angus get some first half carries Friday.

Overall, I was much more pleased with the performance. This was a MUCH better team, and not only did the defense pitch a shutout, but the offense put up an easy 29 points on 538 yards. My biggest complaints were the red zone offense with 4 drives stalling at the 10 (3 FGs, TO on downs), the first half running game (that turnover on downs especially), and that one bad drive by the defense (22 plays). But on the latter, kudos to the defense for coming up with an endzone INT to negate that long drive. But especially against better competition, you can't let a team convert that many third and longs and you certainly can't keep a defense on the field for 22 plays. If it doesn't kill you then, it will in the 4th quarter of a close game.

So obviously, there are some concerns heading into a much more diffcult game next week. But I think we saw plenty to know that even without correcting these shortcomings Kansas has enough viable options to still pull out the W. That being said, I wouldn'tmind them addressing a few of these issues in the next couple of days.

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