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Kansas defeats Iowa State, 34-14

  • 2:30 p.m., Nov. 8, 2014
  • David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bathing in Victory: Jayhawks grab first win under interim head coach Clint Bowen

Kansas interim head football coach Clint Bowen gets doused in a Gatorade bath in the final seconds of the Jayhawks' 34-14 win over Iowa State on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.

Kansas interim head football coach Clint Bowen gets doused in a Gatorade bath in the final seconds of the Jayhawks' 34-14 win over Iowa State on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.

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KANSAS 34, IOWA STATE 14

Box score

In a locker room that Kansas University running back Tony Pierson called the most excited he had ever seen, KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger waited for the entire KU football team to finish celebrating Saturday's 34-14 victory over Iowa State on the field with some of the 33,288 fans who showed up and then tossed a football to senior captain Ben Heeney.

Heeney, who led the Jayhawks with seven tackles but watched half a dozen of his teammates make the kinds of plays so many KU fans are used to seeing from him, knew exactly what to do with it.

“After we did our rock chalk chant, I called everybody up and said, 'Listen up, listen up,'” Heeney recalled. “'Game ball. Coach Bowen.' He got kind of emotional after that. We had some fun in the locker room after the game, for sure. This was probably the best moment of my career because we got a win for a guy that bleeds Jayhawks. It was awesome.”

Not 15 minutes earlier, former KU coach Mark Mangino, who once was Bowen's boss and now leads the ISU offense, handed Bowen a verbal game ball of his own.

“You've earned the right to be the head coach here,” Mangino told Bowen, according to an eye witness who saw the encounter.

Clint Bowen may not have wanted to make this week or even these final nine weeks of the 2014 season about him, but he seemed powerless to stop a locker room full of guys who saw it exactly the opposite way. And on Saturday, those guys played like a team determined to make the rest of the world see what they do in their head coach.

Behind a highly efficient offensive performance and a defense that dominated the first half, the Jayhawks (3-6 overall, 1-5 Big 12) raced out to a 24-0 lead, momentarily slipped in the third quarter and then slammed the door with 10 straight points after ISU (2-7, 0-6) had cut the Kansas lead to 24-14 with 13:53 to play in the third quarter.

Whether it was the 514 yards of total offense — running backs Pierson (101) and Corey Avery (103) both topped the century mark and scored a touchdown — the four sacks, seven tackles-for-loss and 14 pass break-ups or the wild celebration that unfolded on the field after the game and ended with the goal posts in the south end zone being torn down and deposited into Potter Lake by win-crazy fans, all of it was a reflection of the kind of program Bowen has tried to build and the way his players have followed his lead.

“I feel like everybody just went out there and played our hearts out for Coach Bowen to get his first win,” Pierson said. “I feel like this means the world for him. When we look at Coach Bowen, we see KU all over him… We just went out there and fought hard for him.”

Asked what it felt like to be the starting quarterback in Bowen's first career victory, junior Michael Cummings cracked a smile and followed it with some sincerity.

“That means a lot,” said Cummings, who finished 24-for-40 for 278 yards and a touchdown and also added a one-yard TD run. “The respect we have for Coach Bowen is off the charts.”

It definitely seems like that whole respect thing is a two-way street around the KU football complex. After the game, Bowen fielded several questions about what the game meant to him, how he felt about the victory, what this might do for his candidacy for full-time coaching gig in Lawrence. Each time, he deflected his answer back to the Jayhawks.

“Our players, they made plays and did some special things today,” he said. “It felt good turning around and seeing those players with smiles on their faces.”

Included among those special plays were a late-third-quarter, 42-yard grab from junior receiver Nigel King on a third-and-19 that set up Cummings' one-yard touchdown run, which pushed KU's lead to 31-14 with a little less than 18 minutes to play.

“That's just Nigel being Nigel,” Cummings said of the reception which King (101 yards on five catches) ripped out of the air with two hands.

Then there was the Victor Simmons strip-sack and fumble recovery on the next possession and a 16-yard pitch and catch from Cummings to Jimmay Mundine (6 catches, 75 yards, 1 touchdown) when KU had the ball that led to a Matthew Wyman field goal and a 34-14 lead. After catching the ball about 10 yards into his route, Mundine juked once, stabbed twice and then lowered his head to pick up the final six yards he needed to convert the third-and-15.

Finally, there was the toughness shown by Cummings to play through what he called a shoulder stinger on the second play of the game. Cummings momentarily left the game but came back out of the locker room in the second quarter and led the offense the way he has done all season.

“The offense came out of the gates unbelievable....” Bowen said. “You kind of always look at football players and there (are) certain guys that, when you look in their eyes, you know they're gonna compete and fight. And I never had any doubt about that with Mike. He always had that presence and those kind of guys you can win with.”

On Saturday, Bowen and company did just that. And if the guys he celebrated with, who celebrated him, have anything to say about it, Bowen's first victory as the KU head coach will forever be special but soon be just one on a long list of them.

“I think it should be 100 percent, man,” said Heeney, when asked if Bowen should be KU's next head coach. “We're all behind him. The whole team feels like he should be the guy. We want him to be the guy. Even though I'm not gonna be here next year, I'd love for him to be the head coach permanently and I think that's the message the whole team would tell you, too.”

Comments

Titus Canby 6 years, 3 months ago

I can't remember the last time I heard the Rock Chalk chant at the end of a football game. It gave me chills.

Did anyone else notice the way our receivers are catching the ball with their hands now? Only one dropped pass all day, and that one was tipped. Nice to see receivers who can get open and catch the ball, and a QB who can hit them. Nigel King is a stud.

And Jacorey Shepherd. What a game! He may have secured a spot in the draft today.

I know ISU is a lousy team with injuries, but geez it sure is nice to win a conference game.

Clara Westphal 6 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations Jayhawks and Coach Bowen. I would also like to see Clint Bowen be the head football coach at KU. Zenger isn't going to find anyone else who would be more dedicated.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 3 months ago

But I bet Zenger could find someone who could be more successful (assuming he isn't dazzled by a fistful of Super Bowl rings).

Dirk Medema 6 years, 3 months ago

There were a number of game management goofs.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 3 months ago

Good to see Kansas win a conference game, and good to see Mangino being so classy to Bowen. Not cool for the fans to storm the field and tear down the goal posts over a win over a fellow cellar-dweller. Still not sold on Bowen as the permanent head coach, but I'm happy he got this victory.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 3 months ago

Well I agree today's game was all about Bowen. The team knew what was on the line and they played their hearts out for him. It solidifies his position for serious consideration but I still think we need to go through a thorough process before finalizing on a coach.

I love how involved he is in the game.

Richard Duran 6 years, 3 months ago

I've been saying all year: Blue helmet= great play! and those ugly grey pants too! I love how the Gatorade they dumped on Bowen was blue! I hope he gets a similar effort the next two weeks. It would be great to give TCU and the Kitties all they can handle!

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 3 months ago

KSU is 3 weeks out. KU plays Oklahoma in 2 weeks after TCU.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 3 months ago

I've been very cautious and recommended that Zenger has to protect KU. Maybe giving Bowen a shot IS Protecting KU. Bowen won't ask for a buyout and in fact would probably resign if he felt it was best for the program. One thing is clear...his players love him. That goes a long way. Helps with recruiting too. Ok. I'm on board.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 3 months ago

One other thing. Many of us have thought that Mangino was A very good coach. But how much did he make Reesing or did Reesing make him? How good would he and KU have been without the Todd Reesing effect? Therefore I've concluded that mason was actually the better coach.

Paul Wilson 6 years, 3 months ago

How utterly embarrassing. We beat the 2-6 Cyclones and the "fans" that stayed for the second half, this weekend, tore down the goal posts? What a joke. We barely have a D1 football team and we act like we won the Big 12 when we beat a team that is every bit as horrible as we are. As a program...we need to be able to win more games than we lose. That will keep us from being the laughing stock that we are. Nothing else. A win. Not a great win. A good win against a team that is as pathetic as we are.

Tom Longhofer 6 years, 3 months ago

It could have been worse. I don't think the crowd chanted, "Overrated" at ISU.

DaNeille Dani Davis 6 years, 3 months ago

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it all. Didn't your momma teach you anything? Look, a win is a win and the players got to experience the jubilation and they loved it! It's maybe just what they needed! It was a great show and the fans showed their support and excitement. I don't think they will ever find a head coach that these guys would play harder for than Clint. I say hire the guy. He has turned this team around in a short matter of time. Way to go Jayhawks! Great win!

Joseph Kuebel 6 years, 3 months ago

This is the KState troll. I remember his whack avatar.

W Keith Swinehart II 6 years, 3 months ago

Enjoy the game, the victory. Now, get ready for the next game. One step at a time. Sort of like sawing wood.

John Fitzgerald 6 years, 3 months ago

This is the type of play I expected at the beginning of the season. I like Bowen and wouldn't be mad if he was our next coach. Having said that, and I'm sure McCabe will troll this next statement, but I'm just not sure it's his time yet. This program needs a lot of help. Bowen would be putting himself in a tough spot and it may be more than he can handle. I like him as our coach for the future, but I'm still for bringing a guy in to rebuild the program and let Bowen take it over when it's successful. Don't give a guy that has given so much to KU a pile of junk. I say fix it first, then hand it over.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 3 months ago

A positive in Bowen's favor for landing the job is that he appears to have a vision for what he wants KU football to look like and has taken the steps that are feasible in season to implement that vision.

The search needs to be done because KU needs to do due diligence and explore all possibilities, but I don't believe Bowen has done anything to hurt his candidacy so far.

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