LAWRENCE — A 46-point defeat on homecoming weekend. Continued porous secondary play. The emergence of a full-blown quarterback controversy.
If one is inclined to believe David Beaty, none of these things faze the third-year Kansas football coach.
“I don’t get disappointed,” Beaty said following the 65-19 beatdown administered to his Jayhawks by Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. “I mean, it’s a job we do, right? We go on to the next play. It is what it is.
“Y’all want me to say disappointed a bunch and I’m not gonna do it. I mean, we’re about our next play, period.”
If Saturday’s display didn’t disappoint the upbeat Beaty, it’s fair to assume nothing will.
The Red Raiders scored the first 21 and final 30 points of the contest contested in front of a paltry crowd of 21,050, with the 110th-ranked Tech defense suffocating KU starting quarterback Peyton Bender and relegating the junior to the bench for the entirety of the second half.
All told, the Red Raiders outgained the Jayhawks by 235 yards (603-368). KU had two weeks to prepare for this contest.
“Am I happy about the way things turned out? No, I’m not,” Beaty said. “But I mean, I’m not ready to flush this thing, I can tell you that. We’re going to be all right. We’re going to be all right.”
A slow start and horrendous finish spelled doom for KU for a fourth straight week.
After falling into 18-, 18- and 25-point holes in each of its last three contests — all double-digit defeats — KU again found itself down three touchdowns just 10 minutes into Saturday’s game.
The Jayhawks (1-4, 0-2 Big 12) failed on a pair of fourth-and-1 attempts on their first two possessions, while the Red Raiders (4-1, 4-1) scored touchdowns on each of their first three drives. Justin Stockton and Desmond Nisby scored on 13- and 47-yard runs, respectively, and each were untouched on their way to the end zone.
Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek, who threw four touchdowns in relief of an injured Patrick Mahomes in last year’s meeting between the two teams, hooked up with Quan Shorts on a 37-yard strike that gave the Red Raiders a 21-0 advantage with 4:59 left in the first quarter.
Beaty said the Red Raiders outplayed and out-coached the Jayhawks — “The whole shebang,” he added. KU, which entered eighth nationally in an 83.3 percent fourth-down conversion rate on 12 attempts, gave Tech the ball at the Red Raider 45- and 42-yard lines after the Saturday’s early failed attempts.
“If you get ’em, you look pretty smart. When you don’t get ’em, it don’t look very good,” Beaty said. “Those were really, really close calls.”
Bender got the Jayhawks on the board with an 18-yard strike to Jeremiah Booker, but it represented the only score KU had through the air.
Bender, who finished 12-for-24 passing for 146 yards, the touchdown and an interception, was lifted for sophomore backup Carter Stanley for the entirety of the second half. Stanley, the incumbent from last season who the juco transfer Bender overtook in fall camp, finished 11-for-19 passing with 110 yards and an interception on a tipped ball.
Beaty wouldn’t commit to a starting quarterback for the Jayhawks’ next contest, an 11 a.m. Saturday game at Iowa State, adding it’s going to be “a competition.”
“We weren’t quite as accurate, the timing wasn’t as good — I don’t know what caused that,” Beaty said of his quarterbacks. “We’ll have to take a look at the film and see it. But quarterback play is so important to the efficiency of your offense.”
KU scored 12 unanswered to cut the Tech lead to 35-19 late in the third quarter, and Dorance Armstrong’s strip and fumble recovery gave the Jayhawk offense the ball with a chance to make it a one-score game.
Just two plays later, however, wide receiver Chase Harrell was himself stripped and fumbled the ball as Red Raider defensive back Justus Parker ran the scoop-and-score in 20 yards for a crushing touchdown.
The play represented the first seven points of 30 unanswered scored by the Red Raiders to close the game.
“Energy kind of kicked in a lot. It was probably the most energy I think we had throughout the game,” Armstrong said of his strip tackle and fumble recovery. “Then it just went away the next play.”
That sequence — a momentum-grabbing moment followed by a deflating self-inflicted wound — has become a common theme to the Jayhawks’ season, right?
“I mean, a lot of people see that, yeah,” Armstrong answered.
Nisby finished with 93 yards and four touchdowns for the Red Raiders, while Stockton tallied 161 yards and one score on 15 attempts. Playing in his first game since a breakout 291-yard rushing effort against West Virginia, KU running back Khalil Herbert mustered only 65 yards on 10 carries before leaving late with a hamstring injury.
While the KU postgame media room featured its fair share of downtrodden faces, Ben Johnson was not among them.
At 23, the fifth-year senior tight end is an elder statesman on the team. He’s seen his share of all of this before — the 40-plus-point defeats, the quarterback controversies and gut-punching home defeats.
Like Beaty, Johnson refuses to at least publicly show disappointment.
“I mean, I’m a positive guy, so I’m never really going to be down. My head is never going to be in the ground, you know?” said Johnson, who finished with five catches for 55 yards. “… It’s a blow, but we can always bounce back. That’s what we’re going to do.”
The recovery process, Johnson said, begins with the Jayhawks’ practice Sunday.
“I’m going to be out there running around like a crazy man, you know, just to lead by example and kind of show ’em there’s no reason to hang your head,” Johnson said. “Just get better. What are you here for?”
Texas Tech 21 14 13 17 — 65
Kansas 7 3 9 0 — 19
TT — Stockton 13 run (Barden kick), 11:43
TT — Nisby 47 run (Barden kick), 8:34
TT_Shorts 37 pass from Shimonek (Barden kick), 4:59
KAN — Booker 18 pass from Bender (Rui kick), :19
TT — Nisby 8 run (Barden kick), 13:06
TT — Nisby 1 run (Barden kick), 5:16
KAN — FG Rui 21, :14
KAN — FG Rui 41, 11:07
KAN — T.Martin 2 run (run failed), 5:49
TT — Parker 20 fumble return (Barden kick), 3:44
TT — Coutee 40 pass from Shimonek (kick failed), 1:30
TT — Nisby 15 run (Cluck kick), 12:23
TT — FG Cluck 26, 8:37
TT — Willies 32 pass from Carter (Cluck kick), 3:52
Attendance — 21,050.
GAME IN FIGURES
First downs 30 17
Rushes-yards 52-313 33-112
Passing 290 256
Comp-Att-Int 22-27-1 23-43-2
Return Yards 122 119
Punts-Avg. 2-43.5 7-36.71
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-2
Penalties-Yards 2-21 4-35
Time of Possession 31:12 28:48
RUSHING — Texas Tech, Stockton 15-161, Nisby 11-93, King 10-40, Felton 4-31, Carter 4-14, Shorts 1-5, (Team) 3-(minus 11), Shimonek 4-(minus 20). Kansas, Herbert 10-65, T.Martin 14-32, Sims 1-8, Stanley 6-5, De.Thompson 2-2.
PASSING — Texas Tech, Carter 3-3-0-57, Shimonek 19-24-1-233. Kansas, Bender 12-24-1-146, Stanley 11-19-1-110.
RECEIVING — Texas Tech, Coutee 8-87, Shorts 4-76, Stockton 2-33, Cantrell 2-26, Batson 2-9, Willies 1-32, Robinson 1-19, Wesley 1-6, Reed 1-2. Kansas, Sims 5-102, B.Johnson 5-55, Harrell 4-27, Booker 3-39, Hampton 2-17, T.Martin 2-3, Schadler 1-7, Herbert 1-6.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — Texas Tech, Barden 44.