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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Emotional LB Justin Springer has big day vs. Georgia Tech

Kansas linebacker Justin Springer (45) takes Georgia Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt off his feet with a hard hit during the second quarter, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas linebacker Justin Springer (45) takes Georgia Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt off his feet with a hard hit during the second quarter, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 at Kivisto Field.

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Highlights: KU vs. Georgia Tech

Kansas took down a ranked Georgia Tech team, 28-25, Saturday, September 11, 2010.

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Turner Gill postgame: Georgia Tech

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Kansas head coach Turner Gill addressed the media after defeating Georgia Tech Saturday, September 11, 2010.

Feature

KU shocks No. 15 Georgia Tech, 28-25

Kansas' defense came up with a fourth-down stand in the final minute, helping the Jayhawks to a 28-25 victory over No. 15 Georgia Tech on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Justin Springer said it all hit him once he sat down at his locker following Kansas University’s 28-25 upset over No. 15 Georgia Tech on Saturday.

So much was rushing through his head: the end of the eight-game losing streak, the hard work he’d put in during the offseason, the KU students congratulating him on the field after the game.

The senior linebacker started to tear up.

“It’s a big win,” Springer said. “The biggest win of my life, to tell you the truth.”

KU might not have been able to pull it off without him.

The 6-foot-3, 237-pound Springer had 15 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack.

His previous career high in tackles was nine.

“That’s Justin Springer,” KU linebacker Drew Dudley said. “He’s a good player. He’s been a good player.”

As Springer’s four-year roommate, Dudley knows just how hard Springer has worked to be ready for this season.

He’s been there when, after two-a-days, he’s returned to the dorms ready to go to bed at 9:30 p.m., only to see Springer with a lamp turned on, still looking over the team’s formations.

“I guarantee,” Dudley said, “no one studies their playbook more than him.”

Springer said his preparation — and extra film time this week — helped him get ready for Georgia Tech’s difficult offense.

His responsibility wasn’t easy. Depending on how the play went, his obligation could be either the running back on the dive play or the quarterback on the option.

“I’m not going to lie, before the game I was still nervous. I haven’t been that nervous in a long time,” Springer said. “But I was so relaxed playing.”

The last time Springer had 15 tackles in a game was high school, when he recorded 18 tackles in a playoff game his senior year against Austin (Texas) Westlake. That game led to him getting recruited by Div. I schools.

On Saturday, Springer was most dominant in the second quarter, when he made or assisted eight of KU’s first 14 tackles.

The Los Fresnos, Texas, native finished with 10 tackles (six solo) in the second quarter alone.

“I know one play, I saw him fly over the offensive line and hit (Georgia Tech quarterback) Josh Nesbitt. I was like, ‘Whoa, where did he come from?’” KU linebacker Steven Johnson said. “Justin played well.”

Springer said it was the first time he’d experienced fans rushing the field afterwards to celebrate with his team.

“It’s just a great feeling,” Springer said, “winning like that.”

Comments

stravinsky 4 years, 3 months ago

Huge, HUGE props to our defense, especially Springer. Those guys played some inspired football today.

It's amazing how much better our defense is this year. How many of us would have had ANY faith in the defense to stop a team like GT from driving down the field in the last two minutes for the go-ahead TD last year?

David Lara 4 years, 3 months ago

What a stud. Don't you love it when hard work pays off? That's a high like nothing else. Let's hope the whole team catches on to that kind of dedication. Rockachalka!

TwinCitiesJHawk 4 years, 3 months ago

What a game. Springer was amazing. Rock Chalk.

Jaminrawk 4 years, 3 months ago

Even though they ended up converting that 4th down in the redzone (on their second TD drive) Springer's blitz up the middle to nail Nesbitt was amazing. It's nice to know we again have an impact linebacker.

grandpa 4 years, 3 months ago

Everybody in Texas is mean and hits hard!!!

yovoy 4 years, 3 months ago

he hits the blunt and/or bong pretty hard, so the original statement stands.

it also seems like he was a tough guy in an episode of 'miami vice'. :)

KGphoto 4 years, 3 months ago

The picture says it all. Nice job Nick.

We have a serious middle linebacker, with serious physical ability.

That was a Heisman candidate that he owned today.

OCJHAWK 4 years, 3 months ago

Even the announcers were impressed with his game. What a individual effort that was the pinnacle of the team effort put forth today.

KGphoto 4 years, 3 months ago

OMG, that color commentator is awful! He's totally wrong about half the time.

waywardJay 4 years, 3 months ago

All these kids deserve to crow a little bit after today. Springer had an excellent day. Daimond's bubble scree turned pinball touchdown YAC was pehonimally awesome athletecism and phenonally bad tackling from the Yellow Jacket secondary. Steven Johnson was no joke either, our LB's are playing pretty well.

lawrence_is_my_middle_name 4 years, 3 months ago

Why does Opurum need to play LB again? Looks to me like we could use a bruising, change-of-pace RB every now and then, like on that 4th and inches we failed to convert. Kudos to the LBs though, they played fantastic!

KU_FanSince75 4 years, 3 months ago

How many tackles did our linebackers made against Georgia Tech? It was a ridiculous number---Rock Chalk!

skwahjayog 4 years, 3 months ago

I read all the negative posts last week...Fire Gill! The Hawks won't win a single game this year! Nice guys finish last! Bring back Mangino! etc., etc., etc. That after a single game with a brand-new coach, completely different coordinators, a whole new system, and last year's team that was supposed to be the most talented ever at KU and managed lost its last 7 games. ((Great coaching and motivational tactics, huh?!)

Yes, we still will lose some games this year, and next year, and the next... But I, for one, am proud to have Turner Gill and his staff at KU and would never, ever want to go back to the coaching "style" of Mr. Mangino. I am an educator, and I firmly believe that young people of all ages will perform their best when motivated through positive means rather than bullying and belittlling tactics. I also highly respect and admire Gill's no swearing and no drug policy--just think what our world would be like if all institutions, companies, etc., adhered to such high morals.

I will remain a Jayhawk supporter through thick and thin. I am glad that a few posters already have come on to say they were wrong and are willing to give this team and coach a second chance. I encourage all of you who were bashing the Jayhawks in the previous weeks to get on board and to post an apology. You do realize that the players and possibly the coaches do read these comments? And for those of you who are too stubborn (ignorant?) to admit you were wrong, GROW UP!!!

RCJH!!!!!

lawrence_is_my_middle_name 4 years, 3 months ago

LOL there is no way in heck that anyone from the coaching staff reads user comments on this site. They are far, far too busy, and don't care. I doubt any of the players do this either, but who knows with so many of them?

skwahjayog 4 years, 3 months ago

Does anybody else notice that after last week's loss there were hundreds of posts, but now that we win against a team that was ranked 15th and has been to a bowl game 13 straight years, there are just a handful of comments? Are you all truly that negative of people, hoping that our Jayhawk football team will fail like we always have in the past? This board should be absolutely loaded with excited, jubilant posts--that was a great game for our football program yesterday! C'mon, people!!!!

skwahjayog 4 years, 3 months ago

You all do realize that with our former coach we had exactly one great year, a couple of decent years, and many poor years? What was our overall conference record and our record against top 20 teams during the Mangino era? BTW: that one good year was due to the schedule--if we had to play Texas and Oklahoma and if we ended up playing in the Big 12 title game we would have lost 3 games and not been in the Orange Bowl--and we were lucky to have been selected for that game to begin with. We also played the weakest possible opponent in a BCS game.

I'm not saying I wasn't thrilled, excited, and proud about that year--but let's be honest about what really happened. Then the next year, with more talent than ever, we lose our last 7 games?!?!

Give Gill and company a chance. He already has more and better recruits lined up for next year than Mangino ever did. While we really weren't that good before, I truly believe we have the opportunity to have the best run of football in the next few years that KU has ever seen. Who knows, maybe we can become a basketball AND football school. I doubt it, but I sure am willing to be optimistic.

lawrence_is_my_middle_name 4 years, 3 months ago

What do people do when they are furious? They rant! What do people do when they are thrilled? They celebrate! I think most people are sleeping in from going out to enjoy the win, or just don't feel the need to post a message at all. This is compared to last week, when all anybody wanted to do was tell anyone their opinion on the loss. A message board is a great place to rant anonymously.

Bottom line, you'll always see many, many more comments after a gigantic loss rather than a huge win.

amatxjayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

skwajayhog,

Thanks for taking the high road. Real fans are always optimistic. Real fans are always supportive. Real fans look for the positive in their team, particularly in college sports. We really can become both a basketball and a football school. It can happen and it's important to believe it can.

Just as important as the schedule, the other difference between our really good year and the next, was injuries. They were few and far between during our really good year. Not so the next.

One small point, it's hard to be "willing to be optimistic" and "doubt it" at the same time. You got to believe all the time.

I'm believing.

hawk316 4 years, 3 months ago

Justin, I'm so happy for you! Thank you for a fantastic game and all the hard work, perseverance and dedication that led up to it.

And Justin, if you want a little ego boost, be sure to catch the rerun of the televised broadcast (on FSN). The announcers were heaping praise on you like there was no tomorrow. Of course, you deserved it.

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