Kansas is a bit better than their record would suggest. The Jayhawks have played well at times against good teams, but boiled down, Tech's performance in this game does not inspire a great deal of hope and optimism. There are no signs that red zone woes are being resolved; meanwhile the performance of the defense continues to deteriorate.
Perhaps the return of injured players will cure some of the ills. Failing that, this team will rely on the arm of Seth Doege and the hands of the receivers to try to pull out wins over Oklahoma State and Baylor to close out the season. The task is a tall one.
Quarterback: Seth Doege is closing in on a truly outstanding senior season. If the Red Raiders were a top 15 team, Doege would be in the thick of the Heisman race. He certainly couldn't have played much better against Kansas. Doege threatened the 500-yard passing mark and threw three touchdown passes. Very few of his offerings were really bad passes. One exception was the overthrown ball, which was intercepted. If Tech scores a touchdown on that possession, the Red Raiders likely roll rather than sweat one out in overtime.
Running Backs: SaDale Foster, Kenny Williams and Eric Stephens only carried the ball 17 times, but their efforts didn't justify more opportunities. Foster had one nifty run in the second half; he also caught six passes. Williams, showing Emmett Smith-type leg strength, broke a tackle after catching a dump-off over the middle and broke it for 20 yards. But that was it. Eric Stephens, sad to say, is no longer making people miss, nor is he showing the old vision and cutting ability.
Receivers: Along with Seth Doege, these guys are the team's salvation. Eric Ward did drop a critical ball on a slant, but still managed 12 receptions for 180 yards. He is a workhorse receiver. Darrin Moore continues to be the team's top possession and red zone wideout. He is practically unstoppable on curls and outs. His whippet-like snatch of a crossing ball for a touchdown in the second quarter was really nice. Jakeem Grant dropped one pass, but was still a valuable contributor. Tyson Williams continues to improve. Alex Torres was called for a low block, but his blocking was excellent nevertheless.
Offensive Line: Run blocking was well nigh nonexistent. LaAdrian Waddle may actually be Tech's best run blocker right now, but both he and Beau Carpenter have lapses in pass protection. Deveric Gallington's hot grounder to Seth Doege caused the quarterback to take a knee in order to field it. The loss of yardage was significant. On the whole, pass protection was good. Le'Raven Clark was flagged for his second chop block in as many games.
Defensive Line: Ironically enough, given that Kansas rushed for nearly 400 yards, the defensive line actually hung in there reasonably well. But Kansas' first drive, an effortless thing that resulted in a touchdown, was a nightmare. And the defensive ends had trouble dealing with the speed option. Otherwise, however, these guys did a decent job. Kerry Hyder notched eight tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. Dartwan Bush also recorded a sack. Branden Jackson saw many snaps and responded with seven tackles. He also had terrible troubles with the option.
Linebackers: Sam Eguavoen actually played perhaps his best game of the season, although he was hardly immune to the missed tackles which plagued the back seven. Blake Dees and Will Smith routinely overpursued and were out of position on cut back runs. Dees partially redeemed himself with a big tackle for loss in the second overtime. Still, there's no denying that the blame for allowing Kansas' huge rushing totals falls heavily on this group. Tight end Brandon Bourbon was left all alone for a touchdown.
Secondary: With the exception of Cody Davis, tackling by the defensive backs was no better than by the linebackers. None of the corners, particularly Tre' Porter, tackled worth a darn; Cornelius Douglas was sorely missed. D. J. Johnson's pass breakup to seal the deal came right after Dees' tackle for loss. Pass coverage--Bruce Jones getting burned on a fly that was overthrown notwithstanding--was good. But then Kansas is not much of a passing team.
Special Teams: Ryan Bustin hit two short field goals, but missed a potential game-winner from 41 yards into the teeth of a stiff wind. Ryan Erxleben punted well given the conditions, and Kramer Fyfe's kickoffs were perfectly fine. The squib kick, incidentally, seems to have been put on ice. Austin Zouzalik continues to come on as a punt returner. Kickoff coverage was average at best.