Two of the hottest coaching seats not just in the Big 12 Conference, but in the country, cooled down slightly on Saturday. Kansas head coach David Beaty led the Jayhawks to a 31-7 win over Central Michigan, giving KU its first road win since September 12th, 2009. Meantime, Kliff Kingsbury’s Texas Tech Red Raiders smoked Lamar 77-0 in the home opener one week after a disappointing 20-point loss to Ole Miss to start the season.
Neither coach should be resting on his laurels, but at the same time, both should be proud of the fact that after a brutal Week 1, Week 2 could not have gone any better for either coach.
“For our program, for our fans, for our stakeholders, that was really important,” Kansas coach David Beaty said. “Our fans deserve it, and they deserve better.”
Even though his coaching acumen remains suspect, at best, its quotes like this that give you reason to want to root for David Beaty. He’s a good guy who has just had an abysmal track record thus far in Lawrence. Had he lost Saturday’s game, I wonder whether Jeff Long would’ve given him the Lane Kiffin treatment by firing him on the tarmac. That’s how frustrated KU fans rightfully were after a season opening loss to an FCS program last week.
The Jayhawks took advantage of CMU’s mistakes with six turnovers and Pooka Williams, the true freshman running back, racked up 125 rushing yards and two touchdowns in snapping the second-longest road losing streak in college football history at 46 games. In addition to winning the turnover battle (6-0), KU had fewer penalty yards, more total yards, better 3rd down efficiency and won the time of possession. All signs that KU fans want to start to see from the program against inferior competition.
Meantime, Texas Tech scored its most points since 2005 and had its first shutout since 2006. The Red Raiders also dominated in the turnover department, winning that battle 4-1, while true freshman QB Alan Bowman only had to play the first half and finished 22 of 25 for 282 yards and two scores. Kliff Kingsbury continues to utilize his ground game as best as he can and piled up seven rushing touchdowns on Saturday.
After the win, Kingsbury said, “Defensively, I thought it was good to get a shutout. It wasn’t the cleanest game. Offense, there were way too many penalties. That’s something we talked about, doing the little things and not hurting ourselves. We didn’t get that accomplished. … That was disappointing.”
Yes, the 14 penalties for over 130 yards were not a positive for Kingsbury’s group, but considering the overwhelming impressive afternoon, you’ll deal with it for now.
Let’s make it clear that both Central Michigan and Lamar are expected to, and likely will be based on Saturday’s performances, bad football teams this fall. They’re games that Kansas and Texas Tech should be winning with relative ease. But that’s why Beaty and Kingsbury have been on the hot seat, because these were sometimes the games that they lost (KU to CMU last year) or struggled with unnecessarily at times.
So each will live to fight another week, but it doesn’t get any easier from here on out. Kansas welcomes in a Rutgers team that got blasted by Ohio State on Saturday 52-3, but beat Texas State 35-7 in Week 1 and is improving its recruiting under Chris Ash. In Lubbock, the Red Raiders host Houston, who is currently 2-0 after wins over Rice (45-27) and Arizona (45-18).
Each has reason to enjoy Week 2’s successes, but don’t get complacent, because the outcome for each could still be the same as was predicted following a tough season opener.
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