This analysis is for both offense and defense:
The first thing to remember about this game is – a win is a win.
Baylor came into the game in Lawrence, KS with a 0-3 record on the road. The Baylor team lost in a squeaker in Manhattan and was blown out in consecutive games against A&M and OSU. The game got off to a very poor start prior to the kickoff when the Baylor captains for the game chose to have the wind to their backs to start the game after KU had deferred their option. While this process sometimes is confusing for junior high football players, the defer option should not confuse a collegiate captain that has been to midfield for the coin toss quite a few times in his collegiate career. It indicates the level of focus to start the game was not where it should have been.
The Bears and Jayhawks had a protracted first half that had eight or nine stoppages in play for video replays. The reason for most of these replays was the abnormally sloppy play of both teams in the first half. When you have the ball on the ground or possible changes of possession, the replay official must make sure he gets these plays correctly. At the end of this regrettable half, the Jayhawks had rushed for 146 yards and the Bears had run only 27 plays.
On the other hand, Baylor absolutely WON the 4th quarter this week. Trailing 24-3 and not looking like they could stop anything on defense or sustain a drive on offense, the Bears suddenly caught fire and dominated the final period of play, forcing overtime. The Bears scored on drives of 90, 98, and 80 yards for their three 4th quarter touchdowns. The Bears scored handily on the first drive of overtime, but gave up a touchdown on the very first play of the KU drive that hoped to tie the score (or win the game). On the critical two-point play, Joe Williams (22) and Mike Hicks (17) blanketed the KU receiver on the fade attempt and the ball fell to the ground – giving the Bears the win.
Despite getting gouged for most of the afternoon, the defense finally came up with a stop with 4:02 left in the game. This set up the Baylor offense to have an opportunity to tie the score.
Disclaimer: This game analysis was done off of the streamed video from KU without ability to playback the broadcast or to replay plays that the video feed didn’t replay. In other words, it was like going to a game and having to analyze it (without being able to see the wide view of most of the plays). Sorry for the lack of being quite so complete.
The Baylor defense playing against the Jayhawks on Saturday was one of the least aggressive and poorest tackling teams I have seen in the years the school has been in the Big XII. The Bears continually give up 3-4 extra yards at the end of a play because the defenders refused to keep their feet driving after contact, they go low on a tackle, or they play a tackle off to the side because they are not willing to take the head-on contact.
The Baylor defensive line plays too high and doesn’t keep their feet driving in power positions to maintain the line of scrimmage. Too many times the linemen were allowing the KU linemen (who have not been able to open holes against anyone) to stretch them horizontally and open excellent cutback lanes for their backs. The KU backs and offensive line are average (at best) Big XII player, but the Bear defensive line gave up big chunks of yards consistently in the first half. Time after time you could see Baylor defensive linemen being pancaked by the KU linemen. Coach Bennett played quite a few people in the defensive line, going two-deep for most of the game.
Tevin Elliot (18) was one of the few bright spots in the first half of play. Tevin got great pressure on the KU QB for a sack and redirected very quickly to pick up a tackle for a loss on the next play. Tevin still gets over-extended on read plays, giving the QB too much of an opportunity to make a play. Tevin ended up the afternoon with 2 tackles for losses, one of which was the Bears’only sack of the afternoon.
Gary Mason, Jr. (10) got suckered badly on the goal line zone/read score by the KU quarterback. Although he was unblocked, he could make no play on the quarterback as he ran right by him because Gary had turned his shoulders to the inside to chase the faking back from the back. At worst, Gary should have kept his shoulders square to allow himself a two-way go on the read play. He, also, lost contain and allowed the KU QB to convert a 3rd and long on the second touchdown drive.
Terrance Lloyd (18) had several opportunities to make terrific plays, but could not get the tackle made. He just seems to be not able to “carry” his feet with him when he gets close to a play. One memorable effort was a play on the first drive of the second half when he had a swing pass for a 5-yard loss, but could not come up with the tackle on a play that ultimately went for a drive extending first down. In addition, Terrance got hooked quite a bit (more times than in recent memory). A second half adjustment was asking Terrance to “pinch” inside of the tackle or tight end to his side. This was not verys uccessful most of the time, but it did set Lloyd up for a big tackle that put the Jayhawks behind the sticks, forcing a drive ending incompletion.
Tracy Robertson (13) seemed to hustle more against the Jayhawks than he had last week, but he is still struggling mightily to be an effective player. He was consistently driven back by the lightly-regarded KU offensive line. In addition, he was pancaked a couple of times. Tracy looked like he was working much harder on the pass rush, but still is not getting to the quarterback. He and his partner, Nicholas Jean-Baptiste(90), continue to struggle to get a pocket collapsing pass rush. In fact, they gave up a QB scramble to Webb (not a running QB) late in the game, that looked like it might put the game out of reach.
NJB continues to work hard, but is getting himself out of position too often. Nick needs to get better at getting off of the block quicker. In addition, he continues to struggle to push the offensive lineman back against reach blocks. This enables the ball to stretch the defense to a point where a crease will finally appear. Nick Johnson (76) and Kaeron Johnson (49)played adequately in reserve for the two starters. One of Nick Johnson’s tackles forced a 1-yard loss.
The linebackers are still not filling their holes against the run and are still having trouble with over-running the outside offense, allowing cutbacks. KU used 2 tight ends to force the undersized Baylor linebackers to play like big/physical linebackers against the inside run. For the most part, the Bear linebackers had real difficulty with this. Expect to see a lot more of this in the weeks to come.
Elliot Coffey (4) came up with a big interception on the 4th quarter drive that could have won the game for the Jayhawks. It stopped the KU drive and gave Baylor life. Elliot got another interception in the first half, but promptly gave it right back to the Jayhawks when he tried to extend the ball across the goal line from 5 yards out – not a smart play. Elliot is credited with 8 ½ tackles, one of those was for a loss, and 2 huge interceptions. Elliot probably had the best game of any linebacker on Saturday. Elliot is still struggling to get off of blocks on delays/draws. When he runs through the lineman’s block, Elliot has demonstrated that he has the ability to make the offense miss and he can make plays. He needs to utilize this ability more. Coffey was good at lateral pursuit against the Jayhawks, but (like his partners in the linebacking corps) had a lot of trouble when they ran at him with two tight ends.
Rodney Chadwick (26) had a very rough day, missing tackles and getting out of position on plays where he was not even blocked. He did have a very good tackle on the last KU drive that forced the Jayhawks to throw it on 3rd and long. One second half adjustment made by CoachBennett was to start pinching the ends. When you do this, the outside linebacker at the back of the pinch must be able to secure the edge. Rodney could not get this done for most of the half. KU repeatedly was able to cutback and beat Rodney at the point of attack (even when he was unblocked) for quality yardage. Rodney was credited with 9 ½ tackles, but most of these were from the side or behind, allowing for extra yardage on each play. Rodney did get one real quality tackle – this shows he can do it. BrodyTrahan (15) played some, in reserve. Brody appeared to struggle, as well.
Ahmad Dixon (6) might have reached his limit as a tackler in physical situations. Time after time he didn’t come up and tackle like a linebacker has to do. Plays run at Ahmad were very effective. Ahmad is a very active player in space. He really covers grass very well. But he has struggled against teams that are able to force him to play like an inside linebacker. He must work hard at this phase of the game. His lack of physical play against the inside run made it very difficult for the Bears to get off the field.
Teams continue to work very effectively to the inside receivers that are isolated on safety coverage. The safeties are improving in coverage, but they are still getting beaten consistently by those receivers.
Mike Hicks (17) gave the Bears a chance to get back into the game with an interception on the Baylor 2-yard line, despite the fact that the KU QB had all the time in the world. The biggest play of the game was Mike Hicks’ breakup of a KU throw on the last drive which resulted in an Elliott Coffey interception. The KU announcers thought it was interference, but a safety has to make that calculated chance to get to the receiver when the ball is coming. This play stopped the last chance that KU had to win the game (remember: they had the wind at their back).
Sam Holl (25) probably played his best game as a Bear. He made tackles all over the field. Sam was much better at tackling in this game, as well. Sam appeared to be tackling a little higher and he kept his feet on most of his tackles. It would still be nice if he moved his feet more after contact on his tackles. For the game, Sam was credited with 17 total tackles with 13 solo tackles in that number. Sam did give up a very critical touchdown when he lost his footing on a cutback by the KU back on the opening touchdown for KU in the second half. Holl must be balanced and work from inside-out on the play. He just doesn’t see mto trust his ability in the open field.
K.J. Morton (8) is still the guy that opponents prefer to attack when they work outside. For the most part, this makes sense because the short side throw is much easier than the throw to the wide side. The short side corner must be better in quick game coverage because the ball gets there somuch quicker. Morton held up against the intermediate and deep routes fairly well, but gave up a lot of short stuff in front of him. K.J. got into “chickenfights” with the KU receivers a couple of times. He needs to moderate these so he doesn’t hurt the team. K.J. was fairly effective tackling on the afternoon. He is credited with 7 ½ tackles and 1 pass broken up on the afternoon.
Joe Williams (22) defended the play of the game (the KU2-point play) very well. He looked to be able to get a hand on the ball and played it very cleanly. Joe gives up size to almost every receiver that he goes up against. Joe is a good tackler, as well. This young man has made a big difference in the pass defense of the Baylor Bears.
The defense did not play well. The defensive front was manhandled by the KU offensive line for most of the day. Defensive linemen were reached (that can’t happen), linebackers could not get off blocks, and coverage players missed tackles that were critical when the ball carriers got by the front seven (which was very often). The defense has to shore itself up in the last three weeks.
The Baylor offense was not effective for most of the game. There were multiple passes that went through the hands of the Bear receivers and Robert Griffin III (10) seems to be struggling to throw the ball effectively in the wind. These difficulties kept the Bears from being able to string together positive plays and first downs. This allowed the KU “offensive juggernaut” (sarcasm) to maintain possession of the ball and keep the usually explosive Baylor offense on the sidelines. Three Baylor turnovers against the Jayhawks caused the offense to struggle all day long.
In the 4th quarter, when the Bears started going up tempo, the offense seemed to get momentum. The move to a quick tempo really seemed to spur the entire offense. They gained 315 yards and scored 3 touchdowns in the 4th quarter alone. The play that really turned the game was the 49-yard run down the field by the nation’s most versatile quarterback – Robert Griffin III (10). Incredible! This play really tightened the collar of all of the KU players. They began to struggle making plays that they had been making all day long. The KU struggles in the 4th quarter, plus the Baylor upsurge, resulted in Baylor having an opportunity to win the game in overtime.
The Baylor offensive line did not give up a sack against the Jayhawks. If they had not been able to keep the quarterback upright, this great comeback probably would not have been possible. Overall, the Baylor line did a much better job of maintaining good position in pass protection against KU. Even when the Jayhawks KNEW the Bears were going to be throwing the football, Robert had plenty of time. This was the most critical element that made the 4th quarter comeback possible.
Ivory Wade (78) and Robert T. Griffin (79) provided good pass protection, but really struggled in developing quality run opportunitiesto their side. Trying to run right, the Bears never seemed to get a consistent crease.
Philip Blake (74) had a good game. He worked harder to level two and was successful at locking up the KU
Cameron Kaufhold (71) has to take the fall (along with CAB who should be preparing him better) for the coin toss mistake. He was doing the talking on the field for the Bears. Obviously, no one took enough time with him to make sure that he knew what he was doing when the Jayhawks deferred the choice option to the second half.
Cyril Richardson (68) looked to have an improved game. He didn’t get beat at the line of scrimmage nearly as much as we have seen in the last couple of weeks. This improvement might be attributed to the fact that the KU athletes are not quite as capable as the athletes on defense at A&M, OSU, and Mizzou. On the other hand, his other compatriots were struggling to develop movement against these defenders. Richardson needs to continue to improve for the Bears to be able to achieve their goals of a quality bowl game.
The Bears never really got the run game cranked up until the quarterback out-ran everyone on the KU defense into the end zone for a 49-yardtouchdown. Yards were very difficult to come by for the running backs.
Terrance Ganaway (24) carried the ball 9 times for 45 yards. Jarred Salubi (21) carried it 5 times for 27 yards and Glasco Martin IV (8) carried 3 times for 20 yards. None of these guys were highly effective, but they all averaged over 5-yards per carry for the game. Baylor mistakes and a very effective KU offense kept taking the running game out of the contest.
How fast is Robert Griffin III? He’s fast enough. His 49-yard run off of left end produced the momentum shift that was necessary. After Robert made that run, the Bears really turned on the offensive production faucet. Robert ended the game with 10 rushes for 121 positive yards and a net of 103 and 1 rushing touchdown. He averaged 10.3 yards per rush.
Robert is not quite throwing the football as effectively as he was earlier in the year. He may be feeling the effects of all of the hits he has taken during the course of this season. But if this is a less than 100% version of RGIII, it’s still a pretty good guy to have on your side. Robert was 21 of 29 passing for 312 yards, 2 touchdowns throwing the ball, 1 touchdown rushing, and 1 interception on a tipped ball that should have been caught. Here’s what he and the offense did in the 4th quarter:
· Trailing 24-3, the Bears went 90-yards in just five plays, capped by RGIII’s electrifying 49-yard touchdown run.
· After a foolish decision of trying to return a punt out of his end zone by Kendall Wright, Robert engineered a 98-yard drive in six plays. This drive ended with a 36-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams (2).
· On the tying drive, the Bears went 80 yards in just 3 plays to score on a 67-yard touchdown to Tevin Reese (16).
Robert Griffin deserves a ton of credit for this finish.
Kendall Wright (1) had probably his worst game as a Baylor Bear. He tipped a ball up in the air for a KU interception. He tried to run a PUNT back out of his end zone and was tackled on the 2 yard line. He had a couple of critical drops. When Kendall had gotten behind the secondary, RGIII threw the ball a little long. It appeared that Kendall did not have his usual burst to run the ball down. To his credit, Kendall played most of the game and gave a great effort despite having to overcome the twisted ankle from the Mizzou game. Even with all of this adversity, Kendall caught 8 passes for 102 yards. This guy has really matured into a quality receiver. He is money in the bank over the middle – he knows how to find the soft spot in the zone.
Tevin Reese (16) had the (to that point) play of the game when he came back to the ball after beating the KU safety vertically (Robert seems to be having a lot of trouble driving the ball into the wind). Reese caught the ball and beat the KU defense into the end zone for the tying score. Tevin beat the KU safety, again, in overtime’s first drive. These two catches were incredibly critical to being able to overcome the ineffective team effort of most of the afternoon. Reese totaled 6 catches for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tevin did have another fumble at the end of a catch. This is becoming a consistent problem. Tevin must learn to take better care of the football than that.
Terrance Williams (2) did a great job of beating the KU defender for the second Baylor touchdown. He and Tevin crossed up the KU secondary to spring Williams for the open throw. Williams caught 4 passes for 52 yards and one touchdown. Terrance cost the Bears a first down when Baylor was backed up on its goal line when a ball hit him right in the chest bounced off and when he caught it, he was two yards short. You must catch the ball cleanly.
Lanear Sampson (3) had three catches for 26 yards. Jordan Najvar (18) looked like he got injured late in the contest. Jerod Monk (20) came in to replace him.
Aaron Jones (43) deserves special recognition for making every one of his kicks on the afternoon. When he drove the 21st point through the uprights, I could have “kissed him on the lips.” Don’tf orget the untimed play at the end of the half that Aaron drilled a 37-yard field goal against the wind to get the Bears on the board prior to halftime. Thanks for hanging in there, Aaron, and making the plays the Bears needed to have a chance to win the game. By the way, Spencer Roth had his best day punting of the year - 3 punts for a 46-yard average.