Sunday, September 11, 2011

Matt Tait’s KU football notebook: KU running game solid again

KU receiver D.J. Beshears said he wasn't worried that his final TD would be overturned after a replay in KU's 45-42 victory over Northern Illinois on Sept. 10, 2011.


KU quarterback Jordan Webb describes the game-winning TD pass to D.J. Beshears

KU quarterback Jordan Webb describes the game-winning touchdown pass to D.J. Beshears following KU's 45-42 victory over Northern Illinois on Sept. 10, 2011.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Turner Gill

Kansas coach Turner Gill talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 45-42 victory over Northern Illinois on Sept. 10, 2011.

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Reader poll

Who was KU's most valuable player against Northern Illinois?

  • D.J. Beshears: 7 receptions, 70 yds, 2 TDs; 197 kick-return yards 35% 663 votes
  • Jordan Webb: 21/30, 281 yds, 3 TDs 50% 953 votes
  • James Sims: 26 runs for 110 yds, 2 TDs 10% 191 votes
  • Darrian Miller: 10 runs for 57 yds, TD 0% 9 votes
  • Kale Pick: 3 receptions, 55 yds, TD 1% 34 votes
  • Other 1% 35 votes

1885 total votes.

For the second straight game, Kansas University’s football team wowed its home crowd with an awesome display of running the football.

After rushing for 301 yards on 55 carries in the opener, the Jayhawks tallied 253 yards rushing on 60 carries during Saturday’s 45-42 victory against Northern Illinois.

Several key plays in a game full of fireworks came on the ground and a large chunk of those out of KU’s “Jayhawk” formation.

Three different backs took direct snaps Saturday night, with sophomore James Sims and true freshman Darrian Miller handling the bulk of the between-the-legs passes from center Jeremiah Hatch that didn’t touch quarterback Jordan Webb’s hands first.

“We’re fortunate to have a lot of quality players,” KU coach Turner Gill said. “It’s good to have those guys who we can put in there in different situations, who can go play the ‘Jayhawk’ position.”

While KU’s trio of freshmen backs (Miller, Tony Pierson and Brandon Bourbon) combined to rush for 131 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, sophomore starter James Sims nearly did that by himself. Sims finished with 110 yards and two TDs on 26 carries. The 26 carries were a career-high for Sims. The back-to-back 100-yard games were the first for a KU running back since Jake Sharp during the first two games of the 2009 season. Sims has topped the century mark five times in his first 13 games as a Jayhawk.

“A lot of good things happen when he’s over 100 yards,” Gill said of Sims. “In his two years here, when he’s been over 100 yards, we’ve won the football game.”

Gill said his team realized early that it could lean on the running game for the second straight week. He and KU’s running backs credited the offensive line for a lot of that.

“They were coming off the field talking about how we could run the football against these guys,” Gill said of the O-Line. “They felt very confident going against their defense, and it showed.”

Webb strikes again

The last time Kansas won on its last offensive play of the game came in 2005, when place kicker Scott Webb hit a 34-yard field goal in overtime to beat Iowa State. Saturday, the Jayhawks won on a six-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Webb with nine seconds to play in regulation.

Injury update

A few Jayhawks were forced to leave Saturday’s game because of injuries, and, following the game, Gill said he had no update on their status. Junior linebacker Tunde Bakare left midway through the game and did not return. In addition, junior defensive tackle John Williams suffered a leg injury and was limited, and freshman receiver JaCorey Shepherd also spent time on the sideline because of an injury.

Senior center Jeremiah Hatch sat out for one play, but immediately returned and finished the game.

Dandy debuts

After six true freshmen played in last week’s game, two more cracked the rotation against Northern Illinois. Defensive back Victor Simmons, of Olathe, and defensive end, Michael Reynolds, of Wichita, played the first snaps of their KU careers Saturday.

Reynolds was credited with two tackles while Simmons had one.

Red-shirt freshman Andrew Turzilli also played in his first game for the Jayhawks. He did not have a catch.


Randy Bombardier 2 years, 7 months ago

Since I had to listen to the game I have watch the highlights below about four times now.

I have a few favorite highlights then two observations. Favorite run was by Brandon Bourban just would not go down. On Pierson TD that was called back he made a wicked, absolutely stunning move to make a man miss. You have to watch it. Needs to be blown up and played in slow-mo (which I cannot do). This should have made a highlight somewhere. Favorite catch and moment of the game was the clincher by Beshears. Awesome presence to make sure he got over the goal line.

Observation number one. Pick quit on his route too early on the shotput to TE Biere on the drive that ended in the field goal. I really hope this gets coached up. If Pick would have been continuing to scramble and had set a course for the middle of the field, back of end zone he would have had an easy TD. Our guys had to do a lot finding open spots because of Reesing's ability to avoid a sack. Webb is also getting better about buying time so the receivers are going to have to extend the play.

Observation Number two. Eight men in a box is not going to stop our running game.


JHWKDW 2 years, 7 months ago

First off that sucks us losing John Williams the DT that is not a position we wanted to lose anymore guys to injury on!Well the defense is still a work in progress,but the guy I like the most on the coaching part of the defense is Vantz Singletary!This guy also coached the linebackers at the San Francisco 49ers!And we all know who his Uncle was!A HOF Linebacker for the bears who taught him alot!I think he brings alot to the team IMHO!

Man on offense Jordan Webb doesn't have to be all world QB just do not make turnovers!Boy he has done it so well!Kudos to him!

I always believed Coach Gill has had a eye for finding running backs!Well in college when he played football was fortunate to have played with a pretty good running back and heck even a good fullback!Rb Roger Craig and Fb Tom Rathman of the SF 49ers!ICoach Gill also developed a running back while he was in Buffalo who was on the Superbowl Packers team and had a part in helping them win a Superbowl!

Future is looking good for the Jayhawks Rock Chalk!


jhawkrulz 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't mean to be too negative, but #9, who I think is Bakare...really was the worse person on the Defense during the game.

I thought he was burned about every other play. He was also playing about 10-15 yards of the slot receiver.

You fix that, and I think you fix a few of our problems.


Mike Kendall 2 years, 7 months ago

@ gardenjay---LOL.

There was another beat writer for KU who covers the Jayhawks for the Wichita Eagle, J. Brady McCollough, who predicted a KU win---kudos to him, too!

Look out for Michael Reynolds---he's going to be good. I was fortunate to see him play one game last year for Kapaun Mt. Carmel HS in Wichita, KS. He was dominating at defensive end. I hope he continues to improve.


gardenjay 2 years, 7 months ago

Hey Matt, GOOD JOB picking KU to win this one!!!! You're the man at! The rest of the beat writers get the word 'bandwagon' for this week.


texashawk10 2 years, 7 months ago

Didn't KU beat Misery on its last offensive play of the game in 2008?


basketball122009 2 years, 7 months ago

you won't see a improvement in the d till next year, thats just how the 3-4 defense is


BrockIII 2 years, 7 months ago

Pretty tough stretch of games after GT. Let's see if the D improves and can slow down the uptempo offenses of the Big 9.


troutsee 2 years, 7 months ago

Our defense sucks. Big time. Players are slow to respond, slow to recognize, and appear to be out of position. The defensive coaches are doing a crappy job. We gave up many easy first downs to their wide outs. The frustrating thing is that is exactly what we did last year too. This ineptitude is on the coaches.


HAWKTOPIA 2 years, 7 months ago

Hawk fans, the offence has arrived. Don't be confused, it is the offensive line.

The difference between an OK quarterback and a great one is about 1 second in the pocket. The difference between a 3 yard loss, a 5 yard gain, and a 15 yard scamper, is 1,2,or 3 solid blocks. Three cheers for the guys in the trenches, creating the opportunity to let players play. and coaches coach.

Tighten up on defense.


JJHAWK 2 years, 7 months ago

Freshman class showed up early. Thank you HC Gill.


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