The Jayhawks (6-5 overall, 3-4 Big 12 Conference) became bowl eligible for the second time in as many years, but will need to beat Missouri next weekend to assure a spot in a bowl. Only eight Big 12 teams are guaranteed spots in bowls, and right now Kansas is the ninth conference team to become eligible.
One of those teams that are guaranteed a spot is Kansas State (7-5, 4-4 Big 12). The Wildcats’ season is over, and they will now wait for their bowl assignment, which will come after the entire college football season is over in early December.
Here are the star performers (if you want to call them that) from the debacle in Lawrence.
Players of the game on offense – Running back Leon Patton
The lone bright spot for the Wildcats rushed for 102 yards and one touchdown on only 14 carries. The highlight of his day was a 44-yard touchdown run that should have been stopped for a mere four-yard gain. He broke two tackles and faked out a defender on his way to the endzone. He has scored five rushing touchdowns in as many games, and has also eclipsed the 100-yard mark in three games this season.
Players of the game on defense
– Linebacker Brandon Archer
Archer led the team in tackles with nine and tackles for loss with two. He also sacked Kansas quarterback Kerry Meier once. He was pretty quiet in the first half, but came on in the second making a few big hits.
– Cornerback Joshua Moore
I haven’t really been paying attention to Moore this season, but I watched him a lot during this game, and I noticed that this freshman can flat out play.
He was a huge reason why Kansas receivers Brian Murph and Marcus Henry were held to just two catches and 10 yards, both by Murph. He also made an amazing interception in the second quarter in the endzone. The Wildcats were playing zone coverage, and the Kansas receiver found a hole in between Moore and the safety. Meier threw the ball with slightly too much air, and Moore made up a lot of ground, picking it off before it could get to the Jayhawk receiver.
The only problem with Moore is his status for the bowl game is in question, as his name was added to an already long list of injuries to the Wildcat secondary.
He was carted off the field in the second half after having a vicious collision with teammate Chris Carney in what looked like to be a neck injury of some sort. The extent of his injury will be made public soon.
Offensive Grade – F
Freeman does a complete 180 in turning the ball over six times and completing only 23-of-44 passes for 244 yards. He did not look like the player Wildcat fans had come to know and love, and he showed that he isn’t invincible.
The offense actually outgained Kansas with 362 yards of total offense to the Jayhawks 355, but it’s hard to win a game when your quarterback turns the ball over six times.
Defensive Grade – C
The defense came up with four turnovers and held Kansas quarterback Kerry Meier to only 108 yards passing. Running back Jon Cornish made sure the Jayhawks didn’t leave without the trophy. The senior rushed for 201 yards and two touchdowns for an average of eight yards a carry. The Wildcats had no answer for Cornish, and he made the defense look helpless.
Special Teams Grade – A
The return teams didn’t give up any big plays to Kansas, and punter Tim Reyer averaged 52 yards per punt. The highlight for the special teams was when running back James Johnson returned a kickoff in the fourth quarter 85 yards for a touchdown.
Kicker Jeff Snodgrass made two field goals, a 21-yard kick and a 47-yarder.