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Monday, October 13, 2014

Junior Cummings provides spark at QB

Kansas junior quarterback Michael Cummings is not afraid of contact has he plows through Oklahoma State safety Jordan Sterns during their game Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas junior quarterback Michael Cummings is not afraid of contact has he plows through Oklahoma State safety Jordan Sterns during their game Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

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Kansas University junior Michael Cummings was probably the least impressed of all the Jayhawks by his performance Saturday as KU’s starting quarterback in a 27-20 football loss to Oklahoma State.

While teammate after teammate showered love upon KU’s back-up-turned-starter after he nearly led them to an upset of the No. 16 Cowboys, Cummings sat quietly in the back corner of the interview room and painted a different picture.

“It was an all right day,” he said after finishing 20-of-37 passing for 288 yards and a rushing touchdown. “If I had to grade myself, I’d grade it an L. We lost. That’s really the only stat that matters to me.”

Tossed into the starting lineup in place of ineffective sophomore Montell Cozart, Cummings operated with a combination of a nothing-to-lose attitude and the poise of a four-year veteran. He admitted to having a few nerves before kickoff, but said the overwhelming emotion he felt Saturday was excitement. Excitement over being back on the field. Excitement about getting another chance. Excitement for finally be able to do something to impact an offense he has watched struggle most of the season.

“He brought what we wanted out of that position,” interim coach Clint Bowen said. “Some leadership, some toughness, a guy that people could rally around. (Was it) pretty? No, not always pretty. Kind of a junkyard-dog-type quarterback.”

More important than any of his stats, throws or decisions was the mentality Cummings brought to the Kansas huddle. Whether he had just placed a pass perfectly into the hands of Nick Harwell, Jimmay Mundine or Nigel King or bounced one into the turf at the feet of Tony Pierson, Cummings’ demeanor did not change.

“Mike’s a tough kid. We need to be a tough team,” Bowen said. “I think he showed a lot of physical and mental toughness out there. He played hard, made some plays. Probably missed a few. But Mike’s a competitive guy. He has that attitude that he can forget things.”

Despite taking three sacks and getting hit numerous other times both on the run and in the pocket, Cummings never appeared to get rattled. His teammates saw and appreciated that and fed off of his get-back-up-and-keep-fighting approach.

“Mike’s been in the hole so long that he just comes out and tries to let it all go,” senior Tony Pierson said.

Added Mundine, who finished with five catches and a career-best 88 yards: “(Cummings is) the one that gets it all going. He makes every read on every play to decide what we need to do, and he made a lot of good reads and threw some beautiful balls. That’s all we can ask out of him, and we gotta do more as a unit to help him because it was definitely not the quarterback at fault.”

Bowen was asked if Cummings had done enough to be named KU’s starter for the rest of the season. His answer was probably exactly what Cummings expected to hear.

“We don’t ever give jobs away,” Bowen said. “Every week, every position, they will earn them.”

Comments

Len Shaffer 7 years ago

Cummings made some throws that I hadn't thought he was able to make. He's shown tremendous progress since he started in the past, and it was exciting to see. How many times have we all thought that this team had some promise, if only they had a decent QB?

I'm confident that KU will iron out the special teams issues (except for maybe the FG kicking, which I wish I felt better about), and that they'll have a decent shot at the upset in Lubbock.

Ian Ballinger 7 years ago

Cummings was fun to watch. The whole team was fun to watch. I can't wait to see how they handle Tech.

Gerry Butler 7 years ago

to me, the improvement was very nice to see. even when particular plays didn't result in positive,the thing I liked was that I saw a firm decision being made by Cummings, NOT the indecisiveness as before. example like if it was the option read it was like YES its time to make the pitch instead of do I or do I not.whether it was the right decision or not the point being he made that decision at the time. just thought Michael leadership on the filed Saturday was a big improvement from what was goin on before. I know I know the ol phrase of if and buts were candy and nutts but i'll use the phrase anyways IF and again I say if the results of a couple of plays would have went differently who knows? what the out come would of been. if you can be proud of a team from a loss then I'm guilty. I liked what I saw from the team for a change. competiveness. I saw some fire. agree or not, my thought is we out played OSU in that game again when you consider the following: they had a I believe a 48 yd drive for a score because we wasn't kicking deep and or away from the guy. a 30 yd drive because of a shanked punt. a missed field goal on our part and then we drop a sure touchdown pass when he way all by himself. and then the big kickoff return all correctible gives me some hope anyways just my opinion on things guys GO HAWKS

Andy Tweedy 7 years ago

Kudos to Bowen for making changes that I'm not sure were toing to happen otherwise.

AJ Cleland 7 years ago

I love what Bowen has done for this team, and what he will do in the future. I am pushing hard for him to get this job outright. https://www.facebook.com/BOWEN4HC

Chris Bailey 7 years ago

I've wanted Cummings to start for a long time. I've always felt like he could be the guy. I felt that way when Gill recruited him 4 years ago. He's got a big arm and he can run. He may not be the most accurate all the time or the fastest but he gets it done. Saturday was the first time since Reesing left that I felt like the quarterback wasn't a hindrance. Cummings should most definitely be the starter in his remaining time at Kansas. Given that opportunity I think we see him become a pretty salty QB. One that will give us a chance to win. That said barring injury Cozart should be done at QB. If Cummings gets injured then go with Milweard. Cozart can't do it. Sadly, had we had Cummings starting all season we very well might have been able to get to six wins. That seems like a pretty tall order now. I'm pretty sure we would've competed with Texas maybe even gotten a win. Good luck Michael and ROCK CHALK!

Joe Ross 7 years ago

RE: "...the first time since Reesing left that I felt like the quarterback wasn't a hindrance."

Amen.

Jonathan Allison 7 years ago

"That seems like a pretty tall order now."

@ TTU @ #4 Baylor vs ISU vs #12 TCU @ #11 OU @ #14 KSU

We need 4 wins, and we have 6 games. Four of which are against top 15 ranked opponents, and only two of which are at home. I'd put our odds of getting to 6 wins at about 1/500.

Chris Bailey 7 years ago

I'm saying we don't have much of a chance. I said that had Cummings started from game one we MAY have had a shot at a bowl game. Do we beat Texas and OSU with Cummings? Very possible as he would be even more confident going into both games had a started from game one. TT and ISU look winnable and that would have gotten us a bowl bid. Remember Cozart repeatedly gave Texas good field position. How many Picks did he throw?? Four if memory serves me correctly. So yeah we would've been in better shape but for some reason Weis picks his guy and can't admit when he isn't cutting it.

Jack Joiner 7 years ago

5 catches for Mundine. That pretty well tells it all. He can make the short and slant passes. he can see the field and stays in the pocket when needed. I am pulling for both Cummingsoz and Bowen. I was a little bit pissed as I was sitting in the stands before the game and they announced Cozart as the starting QB.

Aaron Paisley 7 years ago

When was the last time KU had that many passing yards in a game?

Cummings looked very comfortable, made a lot of tough passes, including a couple of deep balls. He did miss some easy throws as well, but I think those will improve with game reps. It was also nice to see accurate bubble screen passes that gave the receivers a chance to make someone miss.

Next step Reagan needs to make with the offense is incorporating play action more. KU ran a couple of play actions and got a huge completion off of one. KU's running game is still good enough that opponents have to respect it and that will open up play action for Cummings to hit a deep ball or get a first down on a 3rd or 4th and short.

Paul Niland 7 years ago

@ Aaron - Rice 2012 - Crist threw for 300+ yards.

Bryan Mohr 7 years ago

Since Bowen has taken over the team has regained the toughness and competitiveness not seen since Mangino. A big thanks to Dr. Zenger for making a tough, but correct decision.

Steve Kelly 7 years ago

Junkyard dog...a title Bowen's high school coach Bill Freeman used at least 3 times in every practice.

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