Notebook: Kicker Ron Doherty strong off bench; Tony Pierson sits again

Kansas linebackers Ben Heeney, top left, and Jake Love (57) bring down Texas running back Johnathan Gray short of a first down with the help of safety Cassius Sendish during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 at Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin, Texas.

Kansas linebackers Ben Heeney, top left, and Jake Love (57) bring down Texas running back Johnathan Gray short of a first down with the help of safety Cassius Sendish during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 at Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin, Texas.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Charlie Weis

Kansas coach Charlie Weis talks to reporters after the Jayhawks' 35-13 loss to Texas on Nov. 2, 2013.

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Box score


— Despite a rough first half in which the Kansas University offense once again struggled to put points on the board, the Jayhawks got a late lift from an unlikely place as time ran out on the second quarter.

That's when senior place kicker Ron Doherty came in and knocked KU's first points of the day through the uprights with a 21-yard field goal that gave Kansas some momentum. Doherty doubled up his luck with a 27-yarder early in the third quarter that pulled KU within 14-6 and brought memories of better days flooding back to the mind of the Klein, Texas native.

“I just tried to make sure I was ready to go just like every week,” said Doherty, who replaced starting place kicker Matthew Wyman after Wyman misfired on a 31-yard try in the first quarter.

You remember Doherty, the former jack-of-all-trades who, just last year, handled KU's kickoff, place-kicking and punting duties. Against all odds, he was back out there helping the Jayhawks any way he could on Saturday during KU's 35-13 loss to Texas. That he came through on all three kicks — he added an extra point late in the fourth quarter — spoke to his preparation and commitment to the team. That his seven-point game moved him into fifth place on KU's season scoring chart speaks to the struggles of this Kansas offense.

“Any time we score, that's a huge thing for us,” said Doherty, admitting that he loved the fact that his first kick of the year was a chip shot. “I was definitely excited to actually help my team out with two field goals. I love this team, I love the guys on this team and I was very excited to get back out there and contribute.”

Asked if he had knew if he'd be back out there again the next time the Jayhawks needed a kick, Doherty smiled.

“We haven't talked about it,” he said.

Heeney healthy

KU linebacker Ben Heeney did return to action after a two-game absence and he picked up right where he left off, leading the team with nine tackles. Asked how it felt to be back out there, Heeney looked like a relieved man.

“It sucks sitting out watching your team on the sideline,” he said. “You just feel helpless. I definitely feel so much better being out there and being able to contribute. I wouldn't say I'm 100 percent. Maybe 90. But I didn't feel my knee at all today. I felt fine.”

Pierson sits

KU junior Tony Pierson, still dealing with the effects of a concussion, dressed and warmed up for Saturday's game but did not play. Weis said early last week that Pierson's status was unknown and that KU would continue to be extremely cautious given the severe nature of head injuries.

“He wasn't ready to go,” Weis said. “He was ready to warm up and I figured, if he's ready to warm up, let Texas worry about that.”

A few Jayhawks were injured during Saturday's loss, but Weis did not know their status following the game. Keon Stowers, Rodriguez Coleman and Tre' Parmalee all had to be helped off at one point during the game.

“It was a MASH unit in there,” Weis said. “Every time I turned around there was somebody new laying on the field. It was a physical game.”

Sims now 3rd

With 48 yards on 15 carries Saturday, senior running back James Sims moved into third place on KU's all-time rushing list. Sims, who has run for 3,119 yards in four seasons, passed Laverne Smith, who logged 3,074 yards from 1973-76.

Sims now has 637 yards for the season and is 722 yards behind first-place June Henley (3,841 from 1993-96) with four games remaining. Tony Sands (3,788 from 1988-91) ranks second.

Well done, friend

KU coach Charlie Weis and Texas coach Mack Brown are close friends and, following the game, Weis briefly shared what the two talked about during the postgame handshake.

“He was happy he won and he feels bad for me,” he said. “That's about what you'd expect. I congratulate Texas and coach Brown. They've won five in a row and maybe now people will realize maybe the guy can coach after all, after being here 16 years.”

Howdy, partner

Prior to Saturday's game, Weis was presented with a black Cowboy hat by UT officials. The gesture is a customary tradition for all visiting coaches making their first trip to Darrell K. Royal — Texas Memorial Stadium. Despite it matching his attire perfectly, Weis did not wear the lid during the game.

This and that ...

The Jayhawks won Saturday’s opening coin toss for the third time this season and chose to defer their choice to the second half. Texas elected to receive the game's opening kickoff. ... Saturday's loss marked the 300th game in the KU career of equipment manager Jeff Himes, who has worked under six head coaches at Kansas. It was also Himes' birthday. ... Junior Michael Reynolds' sack in the third quarter, which gave him a team-best 4.5 on the season, ended UT's streak of 11 quarters without surrendering a sack. ... KU fell to 2-11 all-time against UT, including an 0-11 mark in Austin. ... Temperature at kickoff was 72 degrees, under sunny skies with winds of 10 mph out of the north.