Monday morning quarterback...
• BULLPUPS ON A ROLL — The Bullpups did just as expected Friday night with a 35-6 throttling of a Circle football team that I didn’t give enough praise until seeing them in person.
I was expecting the Bullpups to operate against air all night, but to the T-Birds’ credit they allowed only two scores in the final three quarters and kept the game from getting out of control.
The Bullpup defense didn’t record its third straight shutout as I expected, but it came close. One bad angle on a play led to Circle’s only score on its first series, but the T-Birds never threatened after that.
The MHS defense was missing tackle leader Jayse Alexander, who was wisely given the night off as he was a bit dinged the week before. With sophomores Jace Kinnamon and Honestee Whittker poised to step in, the defense hardly skipped a beat.
The offense displayed nice balance as Andrew Powell’s 117 yards led an MHS 212-yard rushing effort. Casen Hoover threw for 192 yards and four touchdowns for the second week in a row, with some really nice-designed plays leading to big yards. Jeff Reed was over 100 yards with three catches for 101.
MHS goes on the road for only the second time on Friday against much-improved Rose Hill, which actually has the same record as the Bullpups after an O-fer last season. Also like the ‘Pups, the Rockets have won three straight — 7-6 over Wellington, 16-14 over Clearwater and 35-14 over El Dorado. This definitely has “trap game” written all over it as Rose Hill traditionally has played MHS tough.
• ‘DOGS PUT UP GOOD FIGHT — McPherson College’s Bulldogs slugged it out for three quarters with No. 14-ranked Kansas Wesleyan here Saturday, but the Coyotes decided that enough was enough and flexed their muscles with the final 21 points in a 49-25 victory.
This is just another signal, though, that this is a different McPherson College team, which last year was fodder for its opponents to pad their stats.
Mac continues to ride the two-headed offensive monster of Ed Crouch and Tyrone Campbell. Crouch had only 14 yards rushing in the first half, but finished with 138. He expended so much energy, though, that he came out of the game midway through the fourth quarter. He also threw for 215 yards, but it would have been much more had the Bulldogs not dropped some balls. Campbell is a reliable workhorse with 23 carries for 101 yards, but he too came out as he was nicked up.
Justin Fagan had a nice game receiving with 105 yards and two scores.
A top priority for Mac coach Paul Mierkiewicz in the offseason will be to build depth. The Bulldogs have only two running backs who carry the ball in Campbell and Zack Melius. They also don’t have a speed burner at receiver who can stretch the defense as they have to count on seam routes for big yards or jump balls to their tall receivers.
The defense played well for a half, but KW’s reservoir of skill players and massive line wore them down. Travis Steenson continued his remarkable season with 16 tackles, as he had entered the game No. 3 in the country in that category.
Had the Bulldog special teams not struggled, this could have been a much closer game. The Bulldogs are in a tough stretch of the schedule where they play the KCAC’s upper-division teams. If they can stay healthy, they might still grab a couple of wins down the stretch.
• KU BETTER THAN EXPECTED — It was way back on Thursday, but the Kansas Jayhawks weren’t totally embarrassed as expected by Texas Tech.
The Jayhawks were actually down only 28-19 in the third quarter, but the secondary finally buckled under the fast pace the Red Raiders played at as they scored the final 27 points.
KU is still pitiful against the pass, but is getting better against the run.
Offensively, coach David Beaty just needs to sink or swim with Ryan Willis. He is better at running the offense than Montell Cozart, who has been given more chances to succeed than we can count. The offensive line is a sieve and the receivers don’t block for each other on those bubble screens. KU and Tech ran the same offense, so maybe the Jayhawks learned some lessons.
It still looks like Iowa State is the only Big 12 game the Jayhawks have any chance of winning.
• KSU’S DEFENSE GREAT — Kansas State may have the best defense in the Big 12, which doesn’t have very many good ones.
But the offense needs to catch up for the Wildcats to contend in the upper division.
Saturday’s 17-16 loss to West Virginia hurt because for three quarters the Wildcats had this game in hand. They simply couldn’t muster anything offensively in the final period to lock the game down and allowed West Virginia to hang around and steal one.
I still believe KSU can finish in the upper half of the Big 12 if the offense can find a spark.
• CHIEFS AWFUL — It’s bad enough to put on a disgraceful performance, but to do it on national TV is a double whammy.
The Chiefs must have been munching on butterfingers before the game as they couldn’t hang on to the ball.
Alex Smith has been pedestrian all year. His first interception was simply terrible and it came on the heels of a Spencer Ware fumble.
Rookie D.J. White became a national punchline by the end of the night, including a play where Antonio Brown spun him around so badly he was like a catcher trying to find a ball that hit in the dirt. White looked all around to find him and when he did, Brown was celebrating in the end zone.
I had the Chiefs making the playoffs as a wild-card team, but red flags are everywhere. The secondary is in a fog, the linebackers are old and traveled, while there’s no pass rush.
Even the reliable Dustin Colquitt shanked a punt that looked like one of my mis-hit 5-irons.
Hopefully the bye week will get the Chiefs straightened out. As of now, they’re getting passed by in the playoff chase.