Oct 9, 2021; Lubbock, Texas, USA;  Texas Tech Red Raiders wide receiver Erik Ezukanma (13) rushes in the second half against the Texas Christian Horned Frogs at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech looks to extend Kansas’ Big 12 skid

This season, Matt Wells quickly reached the win total, four, he posted in each of his first two seasons coaching Texas Tech.

Lopsided defeats, however, against Texas and TCU have left Wells facing criticism while standing 12-16 in his third season, with a 6-15 mark in Big 12 play. His Red Raiders (4-2, 1-2 Big 12) face Kansas (1-4, 0-2) on Saturday in Lawrence, Kan.

“The result of a game is not going to define me over a 25-year career or nine years as a head coach,” said Wells, who previously guided Utah State. “There’s nobody I’m going to let outwork me.

“What you try not to let it do is demoralize you when we lose. Are we disappointed? Heck, yeah. You kidding me?”

Texas Tech needs two victories to qualify for its first bowl bid since 2017.

Running back SaRodorick Thompson is coming off a 118-yard rushing performance last week in the Red Raiders’ 52-31 loss to TCU. Erik Ezukanma leads Big 12 receivers with an 85.8-yard average as the favorite target for Henry Colombi, who has posted two 300-yard passing performances since taking over at quarterback after Tyler Shough broke his collarbone.

Red Raiders linebacker Colin Schooler, the FBS active leader in career tackles and tackles for loss, ranks second among Big 12 tacklers (51).

Texas Tech has struggled against the run in Big 12 play, allowing 394 yards against TCU after previously surrendering 336 to Texas.

When questioned about his defensive approach, Wells said, “Scheme does not look good when you’re getting run through.”

Kansas continues to struggle under Lance Leipold, though the first-year coach knows he cannot take out his frustrations on others while attempting to end the school’s 14-game Big 12 losing streak.

“You go back to your values and what you’re going to be, and not start panicking,” Leipold said. “You can’t coach angry.”

The Jayhawks scored just seven points in each of their first two conference games while allowing 45 to Baylor and 59 to Iowa State. The offense has leaned heavily on the arm and legs of Jason Bean (1,143 total yards). The defense surrenders 7.4 yards per play.

On the plus side, Kansas has been assessed just 22 fouls, the fourth-lowest total among FBS teams.

“That has probably been one of the positives,” Leipold said.

–Field Level Media

Iowa State Cyclones wide receiver Joe Scates (9) catches a touchdown pass during the first half of the game against Kansas at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.

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Iowa State cruises behind Brock Purdy’s four early TD passes

Brock Purdy threw four touchdown passes in the first quarter and Breece Hall rushed for second- and third-period scores as Iowa State rebounded from a loss in its Big 12 Conference opener with a vengeance Saturday night, storming visiting Kansas 59-7 in Ames.

In beating the Jayhawks (1-4, 0-2 Big 12) for the seventh consecutive time, the Cyclones (3-2, 1-1) ran up 564 yards of total offense that were nearly split down the middle between rushing (290) and passing (274).

The 59 points were the most scored by Iowa State since a 72-20 shellacking of Louisiana-Monroe in the third game of the 2019 season.

Purdy did most of Iowa State’s passing, going 17 of 22 for 245 yards. His TD passes — all in the first 14:12 of the game — covered 36 yards to Xavier Hutchinson, 6 yards to Charlie Kolar, 44 yards to Joe Scates and 7 yards to Jirehl Brock.

Hutchinson finished as the game’s leading receiver with seven catches for 96 yards.

Up 28-0 after one quarter, the Cyclones turned mostly to their running game, with Hall churning out 123 yards on 17 carries on the day. His scores came from 9 yards in the second quarter and 1 yard in the third.

Hunter Dekkers added a 41-yard TD run in the third quarter and Connor Assalley a 26-yard field goal on the final play of the first half, as Iowa State, coming off a tough 31-29 loss at Baylor, put up 52 points in the game’s first 43 minutes.

Deon Silas capped the scoring with a 16-yard TD run with 3:13 left.

Torry Locklin scampered in from 12 yards out on Kansas’ first possession of the third quarter for the visitors’ only score.

Devin Neal rushed for 83 yards on 15 carries and Trevor Wilson hauled in three passes for 55 yards for the Jayhawks, who totaled 302 total yards.

Kansas starting quarterback Jason Bean went 10 for 20 for 120 yards. He was intercepted once by cornerback Kym-Mani King.

The Jayhawks also lost a fumble in the game. Iowa State had no turnovers.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Iowa State Cyclones running back Breece Hall (28) carries the ball against the UNLV Rebels during the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Breece Hall bids to get Iowa State back on track vs. Kansas

Standout running back Breece Hall nearly did it all for Iowa State during last week’s Big 12 opener at Baylor.

The Cyclones (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) are hopeful something that even slightly resembles an encore will help them get back on track Saturday when conference foe Kansas (1-3, 0-1) visits Ames, Iowa.

“When he’s at his best, boy, is it hard to find a better player in terms of the running back position in terms of what Breece Hall brings to a team,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “I just think for Breece, part of that was getting going. … I’m really proud of where Breece is right now. When Breece plays well, we seem to have great flow in our offense.”

Hall rushed 27 times for a career-best 190 yards and two touchdowns at Baylor while contributing five receptions for 51 yards and a score. The Bears thwarted the Cyclones’ final bid for a road victory, however, when they intercepted a two-point conversion attempt in the closing seconds to preserve a 31-29 win.

Iowa State has alternated wins and losses since the season began, but has found better consistency in its attack in recent weeks.

Quarterback Brock Purdy completed 23 of 33 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown at Baylor one week after leading the offense to a 48-3 rout of host UNLV.

“It’s more a sense of we’re a team that continually gets better throughout the season, and if you watch film, I think you can see that the last few years,” Cyclones tight end Chase Allen said. “So it kind of comes with the growing pains, you know. We’re set up to play our best football in October, November. So we’ve got to take steps in order to get there, and we’re on the right path.”

Kansas figures to be in for a defensive test against the Cyclones. The Jayhawks realize there’s only room for improvement on that side of the ball after surrendering 607 yards of total offense to Duke a week ago, faltering after forcing a pair of early turnovers.

The Blue Devils scored five touchdowns and a field goal on their six trips to the red zone and seized control of their eventual 52-33 win with 21 points in the third quarter.

Jayhawks coach Lance Leipold said the team’s pass rush is “not where I want it to be” at this juncture of the season.

“We’ve got to do a better job of getting to the QB, and then when we get there, making the play,” Leipold said.

Still, a potent offense helped keep the Jayhawks afloat until Duke’s big second half shifted the momentum. Kansas averaged 7.4 yards per play en route to 530 yards of offense. Quarterback Jason Bean accounted for 377 of those yards (323 passing, 54 rushing) while passing for two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Kansas leads the all-time series 50-44-6. The Jayhawks are searching for their first win at Jack Trice Stadium since taking a 35-33 thriller on Oct. 4, 2008.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils quarterback Gunnar Holmberg (12) runs between Northwestern Wildcats linebacker Chris Bergin (28) and linebacker Bryce Gallagher (32) during the third quarter at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

Duke aims for consistency, Kansas some offense in Power Five clash

Consistency is a trait any football coach will emphasize, but Duke’s David Cutcliffe can talk about uneven performances while preparing for a matchup Saturday against Kansas at Durham, N.C.

“If you’re going to do anything and be considered special, you’re going to be consistently good at something,” Cutcliffe said. “We’ve had a major emphasis of working good against good at practice. I think that pays off. Stay healthy and it’ll pay off and continue to pay off.”

The Blue Devils (2-1) overcame a season-opening loss to Charlotte to win back-to-back games against North Carolina A&T and Northwestern.

In Kansas (1-2), Duke faces a moribund Power Five program attempting to gain footing under new coach Lance Leipold, though the Jayhawks are coming off a 45-7 setback in their conference opener against Baylor.

A complete game eluded Duke in each of its wins, including last week when it mounted a 27-0 lead against Northwestern before winning 30-23. The Blue Devils committed three turnovers and drew 10 penalties for 104 yards.

Obviously, better execution must be achieved, though Duke did force five turnovers and can lean on defensive playmakers. DeWayne Carter and Lummie Young were named ACC players of the week after each caused fumbles by Northwestern. Young also grabbed an interception.

“He’s always been an extremely aware and savvy football player,” Cutcliffe said of Young, “but you got to play fast and he’s going to continue, hopefully, to practice that way.”

That could spell trouble for Kansas, which has struggled to click despite seeing encouraging promise from Jason Bean, a North Texas transfer Leipold chose to engineer the offense. In terms of any positives, the Jayhawks have surrendered just one turnover.

The Jayhawks grew thinner in the offensive backfield early this week after Velton Gardner entered his name in the transfer portal. Gardner averaged just 1.9 yards per rush on 29 carries.

Devin Neal, the Jayhawks’ prize 2021 recruit, likely will become the starter after averaging 3.4 yards on 22 rushes. He will run behind a line that will be without starter Colin Grunhard the next two weeks, who is battling through an ankle injury.

The Jayhawks have struggled defensively, allowing 518 yards on average in its defeats after needing a late score to beat an FCS opponent, South Dakota, 17-14 in Leipold’s debut. In losses to No. 17 Coastal Carolina and Baylor, the Jayhawks have been outscored 94-29.

“There’s continued progress,” Leipold said. “It’s not showing up on the scoreboard or on the stat sheet, but we’re still trying to figure out what we can do offensively.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears players greet fans along the sidelines after a victory over the Texas Southern Tigers at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor can improve to 3-0 with road win against Kansas

The benefits of a blowout win against an overmatched FCS opponent can be tough to measure, but Baylor coach Dave Aranda offered a positive assessment nonetheless.

“We’re growing. We’re learning to play together,” said Aranda, whose Bears will attempt to stay unbeaten Saturday when they travel to Lawrence to face Kansas. “The buy-in and commitment, I feel, is strong and ascending, and it’s exciting to be a part of.”

Baylor recorded its most points and yardage since 2015 (Art Briles’ last season as Baylor coach) when it totaled 714 yards last week and trounced Texas Southern 66-7.

Also for the first time since 2015, three rushers enjoyed 100-yard performances in the same game – Trestan Ebner, Abram Smith and Taye McWilliams. Ebner is the first player in Baylor history to crack the 1,000-yard mark as both a rusher and receiver.

In his second start at quarterback, Gerry Bohanon passed for 247 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for two scores after engineering a 29-20 win at Texas State in the opener.

“Everybody was literally one play at a time and making plays,” Bohanon said.

Defensively, JT Woods has scored touchdowns off takeaways in each of the first two games.

A year ago, Baylor finished ahead of only Kansas with a 2-7 league mark in Aranda’s first season. The Bears carry an 11-game win streak against the Jayhawks, winning those games 48-12 on average.

The Jayhawks have not won a Big 12 opener since 2009 and have lost 12 straight conference games.

Yet in North Texas transfer Jason Bean, Kansas has the makings of a playmaking quarterback executing a system still being constructed by first-year coach Lance Leipold.

“His athleticism is starting to show and he’s starting to feel confident. He’s making real solid decisions, he works to get better and he takes to coaching,” Leipold said of Bean, who became the first Kansas quarterback since 2002 to rush for 100 yards when he ran for 102 yards in a 49-22 loss last week at then-No. 17 Coastal Carolina.

Developing better timing and consistency is a must for the Jayhawks offensively, especially among linemen after Leipold arrived too late to conduct spring practice following the ouster of Les Miles.

“You’re never where you completely want to be,” said Leipold, “but we’ve had to be patient in our installation.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2021; Conway, South Carolina, USA; Coastal Carolina Chanticleers cornerback D'Jordan Strong (2) celebrates an interception against the Kansas Jayhawks  at Brooks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Reese White’s big night lifts No. 17 Coastal Carolina past Kansas

Reese White rushed for 102 yards and three touchdowns Friday as No. 17 Coastal Carolina hosted a Power 5 opponent for the first time and toppled Kansas 49-22 before a record crowd of 17,697 in Conway, S.C.

The Chanticleers (2-0) extended their home winning streak to nine games with a third win in three years against the Jayhawks (1-1).

Grayson McCall, who drew his first start for the Chanticleers at Kansas a year ago, again showed off the form that made him the 2020 Sun Belt player of the year by passing for 245 yards, going 17 of 21 with two touchdowns. He also rushed for a score.

Kansas, which has not defeated a ranked opponent since 2010, showed flashes behind North Texas transfer Jason Bean. Named the starting quarterback last week on the same day as the season opener, Bean propelled the Jayhawks to a 9-7 lead after one quarter.

Electric at times, Bean finished with 102 yards rushing and two scores while adding 189 yards passing as Kansas continued to roll out an attack designed by new coach Lance Leipold.

The balanced Chanticleers countered with too much strength, recording 460 total yards, 245 through the air and 215 on the ground. Their defense posted six sacks, 3.5 of them by Josaiah Stewart.

White paced the run game by averaging 7.3 yards per carry as Coastal Carolina continued its ascent to prominence in its fifth season as a full-time FBS member. Jaivon Heiligh paced the Chanticleers’ receivers with six catches for 122 yards and one touchdown.

McCall completed 8 of 10 first-half attempts with one touchdown and rushed for another score to lead Coastal Carolina to a 28-15 halftime margin. White also scored a TD while rushing for 54 first-half yards.

Special teams boosted the Chanticleers as Alex Spillum blocked a punt that he also recovered in the end zone. Stuffing Kansas for no gain on a fourth-and-1 play also provided Coastal Carolina a short field that it converted into a 35-yard TD drive.

In the first quarter, a 35-yard pass from Bean to Luke Grimm keyed a drive that Devin Neal capped with a 2-yard burst to put Kansas up 9-7. Bean also scored on a 34-yard keeper with 1:36 left in the half.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2021; Conway, South Carolina, USA; Coastal Carolina Chanticleers running back Braydon Bennett (1) catches a pass against the Citadel Bulldogs during the first half at Brooks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

No. 17 Coastal Carolina aims to keep silencing doubters vs. Kansas

Any notion that Coastal Carolina could dip after climbing as high as No. 9 in the rankings and finishing 11-1 last season seems to have been addressed in fall camp.

“I really think the success we had last year actually motivated us to work harder in the offseason and get better because now we know the places that we can go,” quarterback Grayson McCall said.

McCall and the No. 17 Chanticleers (1-0) will face Kansas (1-0) on Friday at Conway, S.C.

McCall, the reigning Sun Belt player of the year, needed just six possessions to show off his touch as Coastal Carolina pounded Citadel 52-14 in its opener. After going 16 of 19 for 262 passing yards and adding 24 yards on just two carries, McCall rested.

“We went into the game saying we weren’t going to call anything specific where he had to run the ball,” said coach Jamey Chadwell, noting that McCall’s mobility will still be critical to the Chanticleers’ success.

Additional firepower is available after running back Braydon Bennett, the Sun Belt 110-meter hurdle champion, cracked the lineup and sailed 23 yards with an option pitch on the Chanticleers’ first snap of the season. Bennett gained 82 all-purpose yards on eight touches.

Coastal Carolina totaled a whopping 610 yards and averaged 11 yards per play. After drawing its second-largest crowd in history, attendance could soar even more with a first-ever visit from a Power 5 program. The Chanticleers won at Kansas each of the past two seasons and have won eight straight at home.

“We still feel like a lot of people think last season was a fluke, and it just happened because of COVID, and we cheated on COVID tests, and it really just pushes us,” said nose tackle Travis Geiger, one of just four new starters from last season.

Like Coastal Carolina, the Jayhawks also beat an FCS opponent to begin the season, rallying for a 17-14 win over South Dakota to end a 13-game losing streak in a successful debut for new coach Lance Leipold.

North Texas transfer Jason Bean beat out two veterans and went 17 of 26 passing with two touchdowns. He added a team-high 54 yards on 15 rushes.

“There’s going to be a work in progress in a lot of different things,” Leipold said. “But (Bean’s) athleticism is something, his speed and quickness when he does decide to keep the ball.”

One of the most impressive attributes about Bean’s performance may have been the poise he showed in the clutch. The Jayhawks, after all, are coming off a 0-9 finish a year ago, including a 38-23 loss to Coastal Carolina.

“Just coming in each day, trying to get better, trying to be consistent,” Bean said of his approach at fall practices, which also marked the first that Leipold directed after his hiring came too late to orchestrate spring practices.

The Jayhawks will have more depth among rushers since Amauri Pesek-Hickson will return off an injury. Kansas running backs gained just 30 yards on 25 carries against South Dakota.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold (left) shakes hands with South Dakota Coyotes head coach Bob Nielson before a game at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas edges South Dakota to end 13-game skid

Jason Bean connected for a 16-yard touchdown pass to Lawrence Arnold with 1:10 remaining Friday as Kansas snapped a 13-game losing streak by toppling South Dakota 17-14 at Lawrence, Kan.

The Jayhawks benefitted from a targeting call that got them into a goal-to-go situation before capping the game-winning, 64-yard march and giving coach Lance Leipold a win in his Kansas debut.

Kansas went 0-9 last year and dropped its final four games in 2019.

Bean, a North Texas transfer who beat out two veteran quarterbacks, completed 17 of 26 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He also led Kansas with 54 rushing yards.

The Jayhawks’ Travis Wilsom snagged five receptions for 50 yards and Mason Fairchild added 58 yards on four receptions.

The FCS Coyotes, picked eighth in the Missouri Valley preseason poll after finishing 1-3 during an abbreviated spring schedule, grabbed a 14-10 lead with 5:13 left on a 25-yard touchdown rush by Travis Theis.

Theis gained 96 yards on 18 carries. Carson Camp added 98 yards passing but completed only 10 of 22 attempts. Shomari Lawrence scored South Dakota’s other TD on a 29-yard burst. The Coyotes totaled 263 yards to 245 for the Jayhawks.

One of the biggest plays for the Jayhawks came when Nate Betts stuffed Theis on a fourth-and-1 from the Kansas 22 early in the fourth quarter. That stop came after South Dakota coach Bob Nielson called a timeout just before his kicker, Mason Lorber, made a 39-yard field goal that would have tied the game 10-10 with just over nine minutes left.

South Dakota countered with a fourth-down stop with 6:15 remaining and then gained its first lead on Theis’ TD.

Bean connected on an 8-yard strike to Lawrence Arnold with 24 seconds remaining for a 7-0 halftime lead. The Jayhawks had gone three-and-out on their first four possessions and punted on each of their first since possessions.

Bean accounted for almost all of the Jayhawks’ first-half production, going 7 of 10 for 59 yards passing while adding 44 yards rushing.

A 21-yard rush by Theis accounted for the longest first-half gain as the teams combined for 10 punts. Kansas generated 106 first-half yards to South Dakota’s 100.

–Field Level Media

The University of Kansas new football coach Lance Leipold, left, shakes hands with athletic director Travis Goff, right, during a news conference Monday at the indoor football facility.

Reports: Kansas plots Big Ten move with OU, Texas exiting Big 12

Kansas could be on the move in an immediate response to the imminent exit of Oklahoma and Texas from the Big 12 conference.

According to multiple reports, Kansas will hold a secondary call with Big Ten officials that could lead to the Jayhawks becoming the 15th team in the conference and the further weakening of the Big 12.

Iowa State is also rumored to be considering leaving the Big 12 for the Big Ten.

Oklahoma and Texas are close to finalizing a move to the Southeastern Conference that would cost the universities at least $76 million apiece, paid to the Big 12 as an exit fee. Texas A&M and Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2011.

The Big 12 lost Nebraska to the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pac-12 in 2011.

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said Thursday at conference media days that the league would consider how and when to get involved in potential realignment in response to the Sooners and Longhorns heading for the SEC.

Kansas has been a dominant force in college basketball and recently underwent changes at athletic director and named a new football coach, Lance Leipold, to replace Les Miles.

–Field Level Media

Sep 22, 2018; Waco, TX, USA; Kansas Jayhawks fullback Caperton Humphrey (35) and fullback Hudson Hall (49) and offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji (78) and wide receiver Jeremiah Booker (88) celebrate a touchdown against the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Kansas paid player $50K-plus to leave amid turmoil

Kansas paid former football player Caperton Humphrey more than $50,000 in benefits to ensure his silence after he left the team amid harassment and threats, The Kansas City Star reported Sunday.

Humphrey and his family said four teammates who played on defense threatened and harassed him, as well as loosened the lug nuts on his car. The 6-foot-2 fullback, who is from West Virginia, played at Eastern Kentucky in 2016 and at Kansas the following two seasons. He caught three passes for 29 yards in his Jayhawks career.

He left Lawrence, Kan., in the spring of 2019 shortly after former teammates entered his apartment and threatened him, he said. His teammates lived in the same apartment complex, and Humphrey’s father had reported to the school that some of them were selling drugs there.

“They bought him off. That’s what they did,” Humphrey’s father, Jamie, told The Star. “They bought him off to keep his mouth shut.”

Caperton and Jamie Humphrey said once then-Jayhawks coach Les Miles learned of the escalating situation between the sides — before the alleged apartment incident — his solution was for them to fight it out on the practice field.

Caperton Humphrey said Miles wouldn’t meet with him and his family. Miles did agree to talk with the fullback and four teammates, and recommended they apologize to each other. They didn’t.

“I came out of that meeting, and I was like, (Forget) this,’” Caperton said. “They don’t want to talk to my family. They don’t want to do anything to help me. Why sit in this misery and fear for my life over something dumb?”

Miles, former Kansas athletic director Jeff Long and other university officials wouldn’t comment to The Star.

Jamie Humphrey said he was informed after the alleged apartment incident that the university wanted to strike a deal. Under the terms, the younger Humphrey would leave campus, take online classes from West Virginia and not talk about his time with the team in exchange for his tuition and a monthly stipend being paid through May 2020, when he was expected to graduate, plus moving expenses back home. The Humphreys also were not allowed to speak about the agreement or make disparaging comments.

“They chose the four football players over Caperton,” Jamie said.

The family apparently is speaking out now as they consider legal action against the university. Caperton Humphrey said he allowed himself to dream, while with the Jawhawks, that he could pursue a pro football career, perhaps as an undrafted free agent in the NFL or in the CFL.

“It cost me everything,” Caperton Humphrey said.

According to his father, Caperton has lingering emotional issues and is undergoing therapy.

Miles and Kansas parted ways earlier this year amid allegations that Miles made sexual advances toward female students and also made comments about women in the athletic department that were sexist or insulting when he was the head coach at LSU.

Long subsequently was fired.

–Field Level Media