Kansas Jayhawks drop Big 12 opener to Baylor Bears 45-7

The end result of the latest installment of the Kansas Jayhawks’ head-to-head series with the Baylor Bears looked just like most of them have for more than a decade.

Baylor came into Saturday’s game at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on an 11-game winning streak against Kansas, beating the Jayhawks by an average of 36.7 points each meeting.

It was a 38-point margin in the 2021 edition of the series, with the Bears crushing the Jayhawks 45-7. That’s the biggest loss for KU since losing to Kansas State by 39 last October, and it’s the worst loss suffered by a Lance Leipold-coached team since Buffalo fell to Western Michigan in Nov. 2016.

Kansas was in the game at halftime, piecing together an 11-play, 76-yard touchdown drive right before the break to cut Baylor’s lead from 14 to seven. Junior quarterback Jason Bean hit sophomore wide receiver Trevor Williams for the score, which ended up being the only points of the day for the Jayhawks.

The rest of Baylor’s domination is apparent from the box score. The Bears gained over 500 yards of total offense compared to a paltry 166 for the Jayhawks, and Baylor had a decisive lead in total plays, first downs and time of possession.

KU’s biggest statistical win was the turnover margin with a +1 advantage in that category, forcing and recovering two fumbles while giving away a fumble of their own midway through the fourth quarter. That was the first offensive turnover of the season for Kansas.

“[We’ve] just got to clean a few things up,” junior safety Kenny Logan said, who forced one of the two fumbles and recovered the other one in the losing effort. “We need to play better at the point of contact and play more physical.”

Physicality, or a lack thereof, was a common refrain in regard to the defense after the game, with Leipold addressing that same issue for the Jayhawks.

“I think just movement and getting people near the line of scrimmage enough, it just seems like a lot of contact’s taking place 5-7 yards down field,” Leipold said. “I still think we’re so tentative when we blitz … that needs to continue to be evaluated.”

Wilson added the same thoughts from an offensive perspective, commenting that he thought the whole team could use more physicality going into next week.

Leipold had no shortage of things to discuss when it came to the struggling offense, adding that overall he was “highly disappointed” in how the game unfolded.

“Multiple breakdowns, the inability again to establish a running game consistently, we were poor in blitz pickups early especially in the first three quarters..,” Leipold said. “You don’t get a chance to get a rhythm going and it just snowballs on us.”

Bean was the leading passer and rusher for the Jayhawks on Saturday before sitting down early in the fourth quarter. He went 8-of-17 passing for 57 yards with the touchdown to Wilson, also tallying 62 yards on 12 carries.

Kansas couldn’t muster much else offensively, with all the non-Bean players recording just 47 yards of total offense combined.

Leipold clarified that Bean wasn’t taken out of the game due to performance or injury, rather just to get sophomore Jalon Daniels more game reps.

After the loss, Leipold stuck with a common refrain he’s issued after the first several games of the year.

“We have to own it,” Leipold said, adding: “Good or bad, win or lose, we have to own what’s on the film. I told them that I need to do a better job for them.”

Next up for the Jayhawks is a trip to Durham, North Carolina next Saturday for their final nonconference game of the season against the Duke Blue Devils.

Click below to hear what Lance Leipold and the Kansas Jayhawks had to say after a 45-7 loss to the Baylor Bears.

Lance Leipold

Kenny Logan

Caleb Sampson

Trevor Wilson

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