Saturday, September 21, 2013

Key fumbles by key players doom Lousiana Tech

Kansas defensive lineman Keon Stowers comes away with the ball after recovering a Louisiana Tech fumble late in the fourth quarter to give the Jayhawks the ball back.

Kansas defensive lineman Keon Stowers comes away with the ball after recovering a Louisiana Tech fumble late in the fourth quarter to give the Jayhawks the ball back.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Charlie Weis talks after 13-10 win over LA Tech

Kansas football coach Charlie Weis talks after 13-10 win over LA Tech on Sept. 21, 2013.

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Box score

KU-LA Tech

The unthinkable happened as Louisiana Tech sophomore running back Kenneth Dixon carried the football to Kansas University’s five-yard line with a minute-and-a-half left and the score knotted at 10 on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

The ball was knocked loose by KU’s Michael Reynolds and covered by KU’s Keon Stowers, squashing the Bulldogs’ hopes of a last-second, game-winning touchdown or field goal.

“Kenneth ... he’s got his head in a towel. He’s crying his eyes out. Nobody feels worse than he does,” Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz said after the Jayhawks quickly marched 60 yards in eight plays and pulled out a 13-10 victory over the visitors from Conference USA, thanks to 52-yard field goal by Matthew Wyman at :00.

“I told him, ‘I love the effort and the energy and the way you run and way you make people tackle you, but in a situation like that, we’ve got (to have) two hands on the ball. We’ve got to protect it.’

“Holy cow, it was not just Kenneth. We had about eight guys who had the opportunity (to recover it),” Holtz added. “It kept spitting out. It looked like we had four different guys jump on it. It would spit out, jump on it, would spit out. We just couldn’t get our handle on it.”

Dixon, who rushed for 129 yards off 18 carries, committed one of two back-breaking fourth-quarter fumbles by two of the Bulldogs’ top three stat producers.

Freshman quarterback Ryan Higgins, who completed 35 of 55 passes for 289 yards, a touchdown and interception, ran from KU’s 29-yard line to the two with 12:43 left and Tech up, 10-3.

Instead of settling for a key first down, Higgins completed the scamper by fumbling out of the end zone. KU was credited with a touchback. The play was reviewed several times as it looked as if Higgins might have stepped out of bounds before fumbling.

“I did,” Higgins said, asked if he thought he stepped out, which would have come before the fumble. “I was trying to make a play. It slipped out of my hands. It was a poor play on my part. I tried to pull it in, just ...

“It was really tough. I tried to make a play, tried to do a little too much. It hurt the team. I’m going to fix everything I can on film and get better.”

Holtz said he again appreciated the QB’s effort, but ...

“I told Ryan I was proud of the way he competed,” Holtz said. “What I said, as a quarterback stepping in as a freshman, ‘I’m not asking you to make the great play. I’m asking you to make the routine play. Put the ball on the outside line and protect it.’

“It’s unfortunate we had to lose a game to learn (from) a mistake like that. He’s a competitor. He got on the field running. He saw the goal line. He was trying to get it in. It just wasn’t a very smart play. That ball was way too important to do that. I was proud of the way Kenneth Dixon and Ryan Higgins competed. It’s just unfortunate they played such a great game they were two of the ones who made the mistakes in the red zone going in.”

The two key fumbles took away from the fact Louisiana Tech outgained KU, 443 yards to 396. D.J. Banks had 13 catches for 82 yards.

“Their punter and kicker were the difference in the game,” Holtz said. “He (Wyman) makes a 52 (yarder and 39 yarder). We missed two inside of that. He (Trevor Pardula) averaged about 57 yards a punt (57.6). You start talking about 57 to 39 (average by Bulldogs’ Logan McPherson) ... you are talking about 20 yards of field position that’s flipping every time you have to punt the ball.

“It was a hard-fought game. I applaud Kansas for hanging in there the way they competed. They were able to get it done at the end. We weren’t able to get it finished.”

Louisiana Tech, which has beaten Lamar (27-14) and lost to North Carolina State (40-14), Tulane (24-15) and KU, will play host to Army on Saturday.


Jeff Coffman 7 years, 6 months ago

Way to call out your player...skip.

A little lesson learned...Coach Gundy had the media call him out...has surged to the top and consistently improved his team. I wonder if Skip will get a top recruit after calling out his best player?

John Randall 7 years, 6 months ago

No way was coach Holtz calling out his guys – just lamenting their misfortune when they tried to do too much by themselves ... that happens to lots of players – good players, great players, mediocre players when they try to be heroes.

Steve Reigle 7 years, 6 months ago

Holtz did exactly as any good boss does... he pointed out what they did well and then pointed out their mistakes. That's simply doing his job and doing it the right way.

TommieSmithElbow 7 years, 6 months ago

While Higgins' fumble and the subsequent touchback were a gift, the Dixon fumble was caused by an extraordinary effort by our defense. Reynolds, on his back, clawing away until the last second, and Stowers and the rest of the team fighting like crazy for the recovery. Those guys earned that.

Reminds me of the loose ball in the NCAA tourney against Michigan where if McLemore or anyone could have gotten on it, we probably don't lose. Just illustrates that the difference between winning and losing is a very fine line at times, and this team, while it is rebuilding, has virtually no margin for error.

A great effort in turning today's battle into a victory, Hawks! Rock Chalk!

David A. Smith 7 years, 6 months ago

The game has breaks that go both ways.We capitalized. That is progress.

Pamela Shanks 7 years, 6 months ago

Agreed. We lost so many close ones last year that it is nice FINALLY to win a close one. Special teams were special!

Bryce Landon 7 years, 6 months ago

I saw on FS1 at the end of the game how they showed one of the LA TECH players crying uncontrollably. At some level I feel for him b/c of all the agony we've endured the past 3-1/2 seasons.

That said, it was great to get a win, exceed our victory total from last year and break the losing streak to I-A (ERRRRRRR) FBS schools.

And oh BTW, the blue Kansas helmets are the best.

Robert Brock 7 years, 6 months ago

Our uniforms looked good. Our OLs and DLs did not look good.

hawk316 7 years, 6 months ago

The old line still rings true: "the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat." We've been on the wrong side of that equation far too many times, so it's not difficult to feel some empathy for the two kids who lost the fumbles.

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