By Ryan Beach
While KU honored the families of the players at University Field on Saturday, turnovers and big plays contributed to Slippery Rock’s 58-10 dismantling of KU.
Rock’s quarterback Nigel Barksdale led the charge, throwing for 307 yards with 4 touchdowns, his longest a 75-yard dink to wide receiver Jaimire Dutrieuille for one of the wide-outs three touchdowns. KU’s Alec Werner’s struggles continued as he went 14-39 for 181 yards and three interceptions. KU hoped to exploit Rock’s 12th ranked pass defense, which gave up on average 258 passing yards a game, and 14th ranked points against, which sits at 36.5. But for the game, they amassed 262 yards of total offense.
Both sides of the ball struggled in the contest. The defense continued having a hard time stopping its opponents through the air. Its last ranked pass defense struggled to contain Rock’s receivers, giving up three touchdowns from passes of 20 yards or more. But first year coach Drew Folmer did not put the loss solely on his defense’s shoulders.
“I thought our defense came up with some big stops,” said Folmer, “But we gave up points today. And a lot of those points were the offense putting the defense in bad positions. We’ll have to take a look at the film.”
Early on, KU seemed to be invested in the game. After allowing two quick scores to put Rock up 14-0, KU tightened up the defense, issuing two three and outs and forcing Rock to punt in KU territory. The offense was then able to mount a 9-play 56-yard drive that resulted in a field goal after Werner over threw receiver Anthony Kelly, who was open in the back of the end zone. At 14-3, KU seemed to be primed to make a run.
That was, until the second quarter.
In a matter of minutes, 7:02 to be exact, Rock scored three touchdowns in three possessions, putting KU in a 31-3 hole. With Rock rolling, KU was unable to answer offensively, with Werner throwing two interceptions in the quarter, the second resulting in a return for touchdown. Both turnovers resulted in touchdowns for Rock.
For Werner, it was his third multi-pick game in five games. Against one of the conference’s worst pass defenses, he was only able to produce 181 yards passing. It is the first time he has thrown for less than 200 yards in the entire season. Accuracy was also an issue, posting a season worst 35.9 completion percentage. Regardless, Folmer has confidence in his quarterback.
“He’s our starter. That’s why there are 10 guys on the field. Not every interception is the quarterback’s fault.”
KU will try for its first win of the season as they host Cheney Saturday Oct. 12 at 1:05 p.m.