Jake Love couldn’t get the bad play out of his mind.
Early in the third quarter of Kansas University’s 20-14 loss to Oklahoma State, the red-shirt freshman ran to the sideline to try to make a tackle on OSU receiver Charlie Moore.
“I left my feet; I didn’t wrap up very good,” Love said. “He just got away from me. It was just kind of a depressing play.
“I kind of threw him out toward where nobody was at, and off he went.”
After breaking free from Love, Moore ran 72 yards down the left side for a touchdown.
Love was able to recover quickly from the mistake thanks in part, he says, to his teammates.
Safety Bradley McDougald and linebackers Ben Heeney and Huldon Tharp made sure to find him on the sideline, talking to him after the missed tackle.
Love later came through on one of KU’s biggest defensive plays, stuffing OSU running back Joseph Randle for a three-yard loss on a third-and-five with 2:29 left.
“I was playing two gaps, so I could go either way. I was reading the fullback,” Love said. “He went right, so I just tried to trigger, because we were trying to get a big stop. I was just lucky enough to get in there and make the tackle.”
Love finished tied for a team-high with 12 tackles, which included three for loss. He was filling in for starter Tunde Bakare, who suffered a head injury in practice this week.
“I thought he was very active,” KU coach Charlie Weis said of Love. “He looked like a sore puppy in the locker room after the game was over. He looked like a guy that had just gone 15 rounds.”
Love said he felt OK after the game, indicating he was in good shape because of strength coach Scott Holsopple’s workouts.
Earlier this year, most of Love’s playing time came on special teams, as he was in on both punt return and kickoff return teams. The Tonkawa, Okla., native had posted four tackles in five games coming into Saturday’s contest.
“I kept working hard,” Love said. “I just tried to step up when my time came.”