LAWRENCE — The first quarter was interminable Saturday.
Officiating reviews — four in that period and nine for the game — caused stoppages that taxed everyone in Memorial Stadium.
But then, few turned out anyway — a crowd announced at just 21,050 for homecoming.
The need to double-check spots and rulings placed even more of a spotlight on the glaring deficiencies that keep Kansas from competing against Big 12 rivals. The flaws this time resulted in a 65-19 loss to Texas Tech, the second-most points allowed by KU under third-year coach David Beaty.
With an extra week to prepare and tactics employed in practice to help with the urgency the Jayhawks need to start better, they came out with a thud. Again. A 21-point deficit KU surrendered in the first 10 minutes could not be overturned.
“I don’t have an answer for that,’’ said KU defensive end Dorance Armstrong, who at least got his first sack of the season. “It’s just what happened. We didn’t come ready to play.’’
KU was so desperate to invent some offensive firepower that it chose to alternate quarterbacks Peyton Bender and Carter Stanley.
On many of the same first-half possessions.
“Some of the things we had called there obviously played to Carter’s strengths in the run game,’’ Beaty said. “He’s a little bit better runner, we feel like, than Peyton, on certain run plays. That creates an extra gap there and it makes it tougher on the defense, quarterback runs.’’
However, the first time Stanley came in to sub Bender, on just the fourth snap the Jayhawks executed, a time out had to be used because the shotgun trade-out was too slow.
That should have been a designed play KU was ready to run without a hitch.
Yet hitches and hiccups left the Jayhawks (1-4, 0-2 Big 12) facing another insurmountable deficit, in part because they failed to convert two short-yardage situations on fourth down.
Some ball spots went against KU. Yet those are issues to overcome against Texas Tech, which came in with an improved defense but still rated 110th nationally in average yards allowed.
Khalil Herbert, the back who galloped for 291 yards in the Jayhawks’ previous game, logged both fourth-down carries that resulted in no gain. Yet the dynamic rusher was never really given a chance to find a rhythm.
In the first half, Herbert carried just five times after being so proficient against West Virginia. For the game, he carried 10 times before leaving with an apparent hamstring injury.
Herbert still led KU with 65 yards rushing. And now, with a quarterback carousel on full tilt, Herbert still looks like the surest thing — if healthy — for an offense too itchy to strike through the air and too prone to mistakes.
Disappointing? Yes, without question.
Yet Beaty declined to express that emotion when it was posed as part of a question.
“I don’t get disappointed, it’s a job we do,’’ Beaty said. “We go to the next play. It is what it is. You all want me to say disappointed a bunch. We’re about our next play. Period. Am I happy about the way things turned out? No, I’m not. I’m not ready to flush this thing, I can tell you that.’’
Well then, be ready to start faster following an extra week of preparation.
The defense could not rise up and get an early stop, surrendering TD drives of 75, 55 and 58 yards at the outset. The unit finished the game by allowing 30 consecutive points after the Jayhawks had crawled within 35-19.
Although Stanley settled in as the only quarterback KU used in the second half, the Jayhawks still committed four turnovers and were outgained in yardage, 603-368.
“I don’t think today was a good reflection of where we’re at as a team,’’ Stanley said.
Previous results and current statistics suggest otherwise, especially since the Jayhawks trailed by 25 points at halftime to Texas Tech, as well as 22 to West Virginia, 11 to Ohio and 18 to Central Michigan during their four-game losing streak.
Kansas keeps moving on to the next play, sure.
But any hope for a different outcome is crushed if plays at the outset give opponents every inclination they are superior.
Contact Kevin Haskin at (785) 295-1159 or @KevinHaskin on Twitter.