Tale of Tait | Baylor beats a harsh reminder that Kansas football still has a long, long way to go | News, Sports, Jobs

Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon (11) walks into the end zone untouched by the Kansas defense during the fourth quarter on Saturday, September 18, 2021 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Nick Krug / Special for Journal-World)

Before I get too far into this column, let me start by saying that none of what you’re about to read should come as a surprise.

Yet because of things like human nature, emotion, and hope, we were there Saturday morning seeing and listening to Kansas fans who genuinely believed the Jayhawks could not only be part of Baylor, but also to win.

They weren’t. They did not do it. Baylor 45, Kansas 7.

About as many people showed up for the KU Week 3 game and the Big 12 opener as there were in the season opener. And by the start of the fourth quarter, almost all of them were gone.

Just like that, a day and game that started off with a bit of enthusiasm and optimism ended how we’ve seen so many KU games end in recent years – with an unbalanced result on the scoreboard. edge and the cold, hard sheen of concrete serving as the backdrop for the insignificant last minutes.

It’s not the fault of the current coaching staff or even the players who fought on Saturday. It is the fault of reality. And the reality is that KU still has a long, long way to go before they can expect to be competitive in the Big 12. Conference.

Remember, this was an unranked Baylor team that had yet to prove anything. Not only that, this latest Bears team to beat Kansas wasn’t even one of 21 teams that received votes in this week’s Associated Press poll.

Do you know who was? Five of KU’s last nine opponents, which means seven of KU’s remaining nine games will face teams that have either been ranked or received votes this week. Overall, these aren’t the kind of teams this Kansas team can or should beat.

It’s things like that, and outings like Saturday’s, that should – and now probably – keep Kansas fans from going too far for relevance the rest of this season.

Lance Leipold was hired to rebuild a program that was in the gutter long before he considered taking on the challenge. It was never going to happen overnight.

It was clear during the post-match press conference that this unusual feeling is not one that Leipold is used to or willing to accept. It can only help. But even with that, progress will be slow and stalled.

Leipold’s message to his team after Saturday’s game was simple: take the punches, accept responsibility and come back more motivated than ever to improve.

That’s really all they can do. And that’s what Leipold and his coaching staff will demand, which overall offers long-term hope.

The hope that comes in the short term, however, is just too fragile to be real.

Consider the most heartbreaking part of Saturday’s rash as proof of this.

After surviving a lousy first quarter and finding their way back into the game in the second quarter, the Jayhawks were only 14-7 down at halftime and had all the momentum on their side forward. half-time. For this 20 to 30 minute portion of Saturday, KU seemed ready to make his followers terribly good.

And then, just five games in a second, it was over – the game, not just the momentum.

A three-and-out by the Kansas offense. A KU punt. And a 69-yard touchdown pass by Baylor in his first offensive snap of the half put him on the ice.

The rest was just a formality and he has set up an October and November that will test both this team and their fan base who have proven through two home games that they are ready to go. come forward to support this team.

We’ll see where things go from here.

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