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Sunday, November 12, 2000

Texas barbecues KU - TEXAS 51, KANSAS 16

Longhorns erase early deficit as well as Jayhawks' postseason hopes

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Kansas talked as if Texas had the Jayhawks' number.

But the Longhorns played more like they had the Jayhawks' playbook.

After bolting to a two-touchdown lead in the first five minutes, the Jayhawks scored just two points the rest of the way, gained a total of 236 total yards and surrendered 637 in a 51-16 loss to UT on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

The loss mathematically eliminated KU (4-6 overall, 2-5 Big 12) from postseason consideration for the fifth straight year and put a serious damper on the Jayhawks' chilly Senior Day.

"The way the game started out, we just never thought it would go like that," said Kansas sophomore tight end/fullback David Hurst, an Austin, Texas, native. "Our defense was making plays and we started making plays, then we just hit the wall. I don't understand what happened. In the blink of an eye, we go from a 14-point lead to down 14 at halftime and we couldn't get anything going."

They couldn't be stopped early. Kansas held No. 19 Texas (8-2, 6-1) to a three-and-out first possession, then set sail on a three-play, 58-yard drive capped by Derick Mills' 29-yard end-around touchdown for a 7-0 Kansas lead at 12:45.

On the fifth play of the Longhorn's next possession, Kansas' Andrew Davison stepped in front of a Chris Simms pass and returned it 43 yards for another Kansas score, and KU led, 14-0, with 10:11 left in the first quarter.

UT drove for a field goal to make it 14-3, then closed to 14-9 briefly on a 38-yard pass from Simms to Roy Williams at 3:06.

But the Longhorns tried for a two-point conversion, and Kansas' Carl Nesmith, three yards deep in the end zone, one-handed an interception and returned it 100 yards for a safety that made it 16-9, KU.

The Jayhawks didn't score again, and UT reeled off 42 unanswered points.

"That was a tough one," KU coach Terry Allen said. "We had some chances. We had some opportunities early. We had some early chances and got an early lead, but Roy Williams can take you out of things. Then when we had a chance to slow them down, they made some plays."

Williams, UT's 6-foot-5 true freshman wideout, had four catches all over Davison for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He also rushed for a 35-yard end-around touchdown in the third quarter.

And UT's Hodges Mitchell rushed for a career-best 264 yards and three touchdowns on 37 carries.

"I'm not sure I've seen one like that," Allen said of Williams. "We tried to double-cover him and we got in a situation where we took people to double-cover him and that left us susceptible to Hodges Mitchell. You play a chess match, and they had a little bigger pawns."

If the Williams-Mitchell combo put the Jayhawks in check, the UT defense made it checkmate.

KU had just four first downs in the first half, averaged just 3.9 yards per play, punted nine times and had four straight three-and-out possessions after its last lead at 16-9.

"They just knew everything we were doing out there," Kansas quarterback Dylen Smith said after completing 10 of 24 passes for 111 yards and getting sacked twice. "They were calling out everything we were doing. They obviously had us scouted out. They'd be calling quarterback draw and know which side we were running to."

Smith said it seemed like the Longhorns had a copy of the KU playbook.

"They knew what we were doing every time we broke the huddle just like Nebraska knew and Texas Tech knew and whoever we played before that," a frustrated Smith said. "We've been doing it all year. It's not that hard to pick up on."

"They were calling out our draws," Hurst added. "I know that for sure. They were always at the right place at the right time. It'd be really hard to scout us out that well, unless we're giving something away, and I don't think we're giving anything away."

The Jayhawks gave the game away in the first quarter.

Texas' first TD came after a fumble by KU senior David Winbush, and the Longhorns masterfully worked the clock at the end of the second quarter to take a 30-16 lead into halftime.

"We let them back in," Allen said. "David's fumble was pretty costly at the time. It was 14-3 at the time of the fumble. We had some things going offensively. That was as drastic a situation as there could be."

The final score turned it from drastic to grim. KU's 20 seniors, who were recognized in a pregame ceremony, will graduate without a single postseason experience.

"We're out of a bowl game," Smith said. "That's frustrating for me. We thought all year we could go to one. I was confident going into this game. But we got whipped up on today. It's frustrating."

The Jayhawks will finish the season next Saturday at Iowa State. Kickoff is 1 p.m. in Ames, Iowa.

"We've got 20 seniors on this team," Hurst said. "Most of them, that will be their last game. We want to do it for the seniors. If we don't, that's pretty selfish. You always want to end the season with a win."

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