Yesterday we got to finally see our 2017 football team. The Jayhawks showed a lot of things last night. I know that’s extremely vague, but that’s the best way to describe it. Some things were good, some things were bad, and a lot of things were just meh. The best way to describe the game was average.
The closer we got to the beginning of the game, the more likely it seemed that Peyton Bender would be the starter. He ran onto the field to begin the game and it took all of three plays for him to begin his Kansas career in the right way. On 3rd down, he connected with Steven Sims for a 77 yard touchdown pass. After another quick possession from SEMO, Bender connected with Chase Harrell on Kansas’ biggest highlight play of the night, a one-handed snag before laying both feet down in the end zone to make it a quick 14-0 lead.
However, it would stay 14-0 for quite a while before SEMO got on the board to make it 14-7 following a fumble by Ryan Patrick and an extremely bad toss from Bender that was intercepted. Kansas didn’t score again until seconds before halftime, when Bender connected with Steven Sims yet again, giving Kansas a 21-7 halftime lead.
5 minutes into the second half, Freshman Dom Williams recorded his first career Touchdown on a 10-yard scamper following a SEMO field goal. For the second time in the game, Kansas followed a touchdown with another touchdown on a 57 yard pass right up the middle to Ben Johnson. This would give Kansas a 35-10 lead, and would be our final Touchdown for the game. SEMO got one more TD, and Gabriel Rui got a Field Goal from 25 yards out, leading to a final score of 38-16.
The offense showed flashes of what they are capable of, with good passes from Bender to a multitude of receivers, but were inconsistent. Bender became the first QB since Todd Reesing to throw four TD’s in a single game, but I’m not sure if that’s Bender being good, or the fact that we haven’t had a capable guy behind center since Mangino left.
We didn’t get to see much of Daylon Charlot due to him missing a lot of training camp with a leg injury, but we will see him soon. We also didn’t see much of Khalil Herbert or Taylor Martin, which hurt our ground game a bit. Dom Williams looked good, but our offensive line was mediocre at best. The run blocking looked no different than last year, which is only going to hurt us in the long run,
You can’t forget that “it was only SEMO” and “we are still terrible,” but before you write off another season, consider the facts. This was the first time going against another opponent since last November. Give them a game to knock the rust out of their shoulder pads and work out a couple kinks. They found what was working, and what wasn’t working, and we will get to really see what this team is made of next week against Central Michigan. Kickoff for that game is slated at 3:00 PM at Memorial Stadium.