While Saturday’s 20-14 loss to Oklahoma State will likely be remembered as red-shirt freshman quarterback Michael Cummings’ coming-out party, the one-hour and 19-minute weather delay also may be talked about for some time.
“That was tragic,” senior safety Bradley McDougald said. “It felt like forever. It was tough because you can’t keep guys riled up for a whole hour, but at the same time you gotta keep ’em juiced up enough to know we’re going back out and playing a football game. It’s right back into the game.”
The teams were sent to the locker rooms with 44 seconds remaining in the first quarter of a scoreless tie because of lightning in the area. Each time a bolt of lightning struck nearby, the clock on the mandatory 30-minute waiting period was reset, and the waiting continued. All parties involved said the delay was a challenge, but KU had every detail down.
“We had a whole game plan,” KU coach Charlie Weis said. “They were coached exactly how we were gonna handle it if there was a delay.”
That routine: Pads off, change shirts, take a seat, and talk with your position group about what had happened. Weis said the plan was for the offense and defense to handle their business separately and for everyone to come together with five minutes to go.
“Every time we were about ready to talk to ’em, it got rebooted to a new 30 minutes,” Weis said.
Overall, Weis said the delay was handled well by everyone involved.
“We knew exactly what was going on,” he said.
The only negative, he said, was how his team responded to the restart.
“Obviously, they handled it much better than we did,” said Weis of the Cowboys, who scored 10 second-quarter points and led 10-0 heading into halftime, which was shortened by five minutes.
Special teams shake-up
Weis promised all week that he was going to get some new faces on the field this week in response to the disappointment he had in some of the regulars. And while guys like Darius Willis, Victor Simmons and Brandon Bourbon played a little more than they had in recent weeks, nowhere was Weis’ tweak more obvious than in the kicking game, where sophomore Nick Prolago handled kickoffs, field goals and extra points, and sophomore Sean Huddleston took care of punting.
The new faces took the place of junior kicker Ron Doherty, who had struggled with KU’s place kicking and punting during the season’s first five weeks.
Pierson doesn’t play
Expected to play all week after having not missed any practice, KU’s leading rusher, sophomore Tony Pierson, suited up for Saturday’s game but did not play because of an injured elbow that kept him out of the final three quarters in a loss to Kansas State on Oct. 6.
Weis made the final call during warm-ups.
“He looked like a one-armed bandit to me,” Weis said. “And I’m looking at him, and I’m saying, ‘This game’s gonna be a pound-it, methodical game.’ It just didn’t look, to me, like this was the type of game to play him in.”
Starting Sam linebacker Tunde Bakare also missed the game because of a head injury he suffered earlier in the week. Red-shirt freshman Jake Love started in Bakare’s place and finished with a career-high 12 tackles.
Weis applauds fans
The tradition of singing the alma mater with the student section following KU football games has taken pretty well. But Saturday Weis added a wrinkle.
“I did something I don’t ever do,” he said. “I walked back and I clapped for the students to let them know that I appreciated that they were still there at the end of the game. It doesn’t make a difference how many; it’s who they are. And there were a lot of fans on our home sideline who were there, too. And that’s a good thing.”
In addition, at the start of the game, several shirtless fans spelled out “Kansas Wet With Weis” in paint on their chests in response to Weis’ comments at Friday’s Late Night about showing up to the game despite the rain.
This and that...
Flags were flown at half-staff in response to the passing of Kansas Court of Appeals Chief Judge Richard D. Greene. ... Temperature at kickoff was 73 degrees, under rainy skies with winds of 18 mph out of the south.