Kansas defense needed one 4th down stop to notch their first Big-12 victory and their first over the Texas Longhorns since the 1930’s but just fell short Saturday. Inside a less than packed Memorial Stadium, the Kansas football fans that did show up were rewarded by one of the Jayhawks best performances of the season in which the Kansas fans did their part as the 12th man.
The Jayhawks began the contest ironically looking as bad as we had seen them all season going backwards on their opening offensive possession and subsequently gave up a one-minute touchdown drive going down 7-0 early.
But the Kansas defense stepped up after and Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis put the game on his star running back James Sims who scampered to a 64-yard run setting up and impressive 15-yard TD run to tie the game in the 2nd quarter.
The Jayhawks went into the half with a 7 point lead but gave up two touchdown drives in the 4th quarter that sealed the Jayhawks fate once again.
TheShiver.com talked to several of the key players for the Jayhawks after the game including QB Michael Cummings, RB James Sims, and DB’s Gregg Brown and Bradley McDougald.
Despite all the hubbub over the quarterback switch all week, new Kansas starter Michael Cummings was a virtual nonfactor Saturday. Kansas Coach Charlie Weis put as little pressure on the young QB as possible opting rather to ride his rushing attack.
The only real problem I have with this logic is that Weis did not go to this philosophy when he had Crist in the backfield. If Weis was not going to allow his QB to pass, I am certain Dayne Crist would have been capable of operating the offense possibly better than Cummings. I like the call, just wish he would’ve gone to this earlier in the season.
Weis did say however that he anticipated passing the ball more but that the exotic packages Texas was showing Cummings forced them out of their game plan. In fact, about a crucial 3rd down pass late in the 4th, Weis said that they drew the play up at halftime to counter what the Longhorn were doing defensively.
We knew coming into the 2012 season that we would be looking for bright spots rather than actual victories and I think it’s safe to say running back James Sims is the Jayhawks brightest star.
Sims came into Saturday’s game as one of the most productive running backs in the Big 12 and Saturday he continued to turn heads with his mix of power rush and speed.
After eclipsing the century mark early in the first half, Sims didn’t let up as he added several more crucial runs to finish the game with 176 total rushing yards on 28 carries with a 6.3 yards per carry average.
Overall, the Jayhawks finished the day with 234 rushing yards with Tony Pierson, Taylor Cox, and Christian Mathews all averaging over 4-yards per carry.
We all wondered if Weis would be able to bring NFL caliber talent to Lawrence but it appears that next level talent was already on the roster.
The coaching staff and players continue to push the “no moral victories” line but if nothing else they have to be encouraged by what the defense and especially the secondary was able to accomplish against the Longhorns Saturday.
Coming into this game, Texas had averaged 261 ypg passing but this stout Jayhawk D frustrated the Longhorns all day holding them to just 131 total passing yards. In fact, the Jayhawks forced Texas Coach Mack Brown into making a quarterback change in the 4th quarter. That shift was a good one as the insertion of QB Case McCoy rejuvenated the Longhorns offense on the game winning touchdown drive.
All in all however I walked away happy with the secondary’s performance. Considering how bad they were in 2011, this unit has improved possibly more than any in 2012.
Safety Bradley McDougald
Corner Gregg Brown