LAWRENCE — The world has changed in the years since Kansas football's last road victory.
Nearly nine years have passed since the team’s last triumph away from home, a 34-7 victory over UTEP in El Paso, Texas. The numbers attached to the now-record 46-game losing streak in true road contests are jarring, but a glance at off-the-field transformations since that day provides perhaps an even more staggering context.
At the time of the Jayhawks’ last road victory on Sept. 12, 2009:
— Marvel Studios had only released two feature-length films in its cinematic universe. It has since released 18 new flicks in the super-powered franchise.
— Recording artists Drake, Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande had yet to release their first studio albums. The three have since released 13 combined studio albums and contributed to 11 No. 1 singles and 52 top-10 hits on the Billboard Top 100.
— Uber had yet to give its first ride. It has now hosted more than 10 billion rides worldwide.
— The Kansas City Royals were completing a 97-loss season. The team is on pace to lose 108 games in 2018, so not much has changed there — outside of the franchise’s back-to-back World Series berths and 2015 championship victory, of course.
— LeBron James was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has since joined the Miami Heat, rejoined the Cavaliers and is now a Los Angeles Laker, collecting three rings along the way.
— The U.S. unemployment rate had ballooned to 9.8 percent. It’s now at 3.9 percent.
— Stock in Domino’s Pizza traded at $8 per share. It stood at $290.53 at the market’s close Thursday, a 3,532-percent increase and one of many Wall Street success stories since 2009.
— Barack Obama was in the 235th day of his presidency.
— David Beaty was on the sidelines for KU ... as a wide receivers coach.
The Jayhawks’ losing streak in true road contests now stands as the longest in major college football history, but that’s far from the only gaudy number associated with the dubious achievement.
KU has lost each of the 46 contests by an average margin of 28.5 points, suffering four 40-plus-point defeats in 2011 and three in 2017. In fact, the Jayhawks have notched more road defeats by at least 40 points (15) than single-digit losses (six), with only one single-digit margin attained in the last 26 road defeats.
And now for the good news: The Jayhawks’ best — and perhaps only — opportunity to break the streak this season is on the horizon.
KU (0-1) travels to Central Michigan (0-1) for a 2 p.m. Saturday kickoff at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Despite the Chippewas’ 45-27 thrashing of the Jayhawks last season in Lawrence, Beaty’s squad enters as only a five-point underdog against the Group of Five foe.
One final stat: Three head coaches have been fired in the years since KU’s last road victory, and if one were to classify Beaty's status as on the ropes, that might be too generous. Beaty's 16 road defeats are more than any of his predecessors, a large chunk of his 3-34 overall record that most recently includes a home defeat to FCS-level Nicholls State.
"It's going to be a tough task going on the road, but I know our guys are excited about it," Beaty said, "and we feel like it's a good matchup."
CLOSEST CALLS IN THE STREAK
Iowa State 13, Kansas 10
Date: Nov. 5, 2011
What happened: KU entered the game on the heels of a 46-yard offensive performance in a shutout defeat against Texas. Throw the Jayhawks' conference-worst defense into the mix and few expected the contest with the Cyclones to come down to the wire. After taking a 7-3 lead in the first quarter, KU drove to the ISU 32-, 19-, 23- and 2-yard lines but came away with a combined three points on those drives. ISU kicker Zack Guyer's 42-yard field goal with 4:30 proved the difference maker.
Notable quote: "We gave them that win," said running back James Sims, who committed a red zone fumble in the defeat.
Colorado 34, Kansas 30
Date: Oct. 17, 2009
What happened: The first defeat in the 46-game road losing streak was actually one of the closest. The Jayhawks overcame a three-touchdown first-half deficit to take a fourth-quarter lead, but Rodney Stewart's 13-yard rushing touchdown with 8:36 left gave the game its final score. KU got the ball to the Colorado 19 in the final seconds, but an attempted Todd Reesing-to-Dezmon Briscoe end zone connection fell incomplete as time expired. The outcome represented both the end of the Jayhawks’ undefeated season and the first of seven straight defeats to end the 2009 campaign.
Notable quote: “It's unfortunate that they picked this [last] week to take his redshirt off. I think they found their quarterback, that's for sure," said KU coach Mark Mangino of Colorado's Tyler Hansen, who ran for a touchdown and threw a TD pass in the upset of the then-No. 17 Jayhawks.
TCU 23, Kansas 17
Date: Nov. 14, 2015
What happened: KU entered a 46.5-point underdog but nearly pulled off a stunning upset. Tyler Patrick's 10-yard touchdown reception from Ryan Willis pulled the Jayhawks within six with 6:19 to play, but on the first play of a drive that started at KU's own 48-yard line with 3:04 left, Willis threw a back-breaking interception to TCU’s Ty Summers. KU turned it over on downs on its final possession.
Notable quote: "The thing that I'm probably most proud of is I saw in our guys' eyes that they were playing a football game. They were not worried about who they were playing, and that was a whole different feel,” Beaty said.
BIGGEST BLOWOUTS IN THE STREAK
Texas A&M 61, Kansas 7
Date: Nov. 19, 2011
What happened: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (21-for-26 passing for 280 yards and three touchdowns) and running back Cyrus Gray (nine rushes for 94 yards and three touchdowns) staked the Aggies to a 61-0 third-quarter advantage and ultimately delivered the largest margin of defeat in the Jayhawks’ ongoing road drought.
Notable quote: "I didn't do a very good job of getting our guys ready to play at 11:10 a.m. today," said KU coach Turner Gill.
Oklahoma 56, Kansas 3
Date: Oct. 29, 2016
What happened: Dede Westbrook returned a punt 71 yards for a score just five minutes in and it was off to the races from there for the Sooners. Westbrook’s diving 41-yard scoring grab was one of four touchdown passes thrown by quarterback Baker Mayfield. OU scored touchdowns on six consecutive drives, mixing in a seventh score on an interception return during the stretch.
Notable quote: "They've got some good lookin' rascals over there," Beaty said of the Sooners.
West Virginia 59, Kansas 10
Date: Dec. 1, 2012
What happened: WVU quarterback Geno Smith was sensational, completing 23 of 24 passes for 407 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Four different Mountaineer running backs found the end zone. Tavon Austin finished with 77 rushing yards and 110 receiving yards for WVU.
Notable quote: “I am fully aware of our deficiencies. I am fully aware what they are. In about five seconds we're going to be out recruiting so we can try to plug some of these holes and not have as many deficiencies, because you saw a gross mismatch out there,” said KU coach Charlie Weis.