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Saturday, October 26, 2019

Liam Jones drills game-winning field goal to lift Kansas past Texas Tech for 37-34 win

Kansas quarterback Carter Stanley (9) passes during the Kansas-Texas Tech game Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Carter Stanley (9) passes during the Kansas-Texas Tech game Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

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The entire Jayhawks roster had one thing in mind once the game clock expired Saturday night: chasing down the man who just made their 37-34 victory over Texas Tech possible.

Impossibly the man of the night just seconds after the Red Raiders blocked his 40-yard field goal, junior KU kicker Liam Jones drilled the game-winner from 32 yards, sending teammates and the 31,036 fans in the bleachers into a frenzy.

Jones took off the other direction celebrating, and a sprinting mob followed him.

The delirium was fitting for a bizarre finish, after the Red Raiders had a chance to at least reach overtime after blocking a different Jones field goal.

Upon recovering the blocked kick, by Nick Mann, Douglas Coleman III recovered it and had the idea of sending a lateral back to keep the play alive.

The problem was no teammate was there to retrieve it. But KU long snapper Logan Klusman was. And his heads up recovery gave KU (3-5 overall, 1-4 Big 12) the ball back with just 0:02 showing on the clock.

After getting thwarted in dramatic fashion seven days earlier in Austin, Texas, the KU football team found some late-game redemption back at home in yet another thriller.

With Texas Tech (3-5 overall, 1-4 Big 12) bottling up star KU running back Pooka Williams (69 rushing yards on 21 carries), KU’s offense eventually started stretching the field. And the Jayhawks’ receivers were more than up for the challenge.

After the KU defense came through with a stop in the clutch, with nose tackle Jelani Brown stopping SaRodorick Thompson short of extending a drive on 3rd and 1, it was up to the Jayhawks’ offense to deliver a victory.

KU opened its crunch time possession on its own 26-yard line, and avoided a quick punt when Stephon Robinson (six catches, 186 yards) caught a 3rd down pass.

Kwamie Lassiter II snagged the next 3rd down pass from Carter Stanley (415 passing yards, three touchdowns, one interception), getting the drive to midfield with just more than a minute left in regulation, before all hell broke loose on special teams.

On a night when KU’s running game often sent its ball carriers into the arms and bodies of defenders, freshman Velton Gardner gave the home team its longest run of the night, a 32-yard touchdown, just in time for the Jayhawks to tie the game at 34 late in the fourth quarter, once Jones sent the point after through the uprights.

Dormant much of the night, KU’s homecoming crowd achieved its loudest decibel level up to that point early in the fourth quarter, after Stanley’s fourth connection of 48 yards or more.

This one felt especially inspiring and opened a window of potential for what was left of the Big 12 primetime matchup. Junior Andrew Parchment’s 70-yard TD catch allowed the Jayhawks to tie the game at 27, after initially falling in a 17-0 hole.

However, Texas Tech proved it could play that game, too. Three snaps later, Red Raiders junior quarterback Jett Duffey looked deep for Dalton Rigdon, and found him for a 48-yard, go-ahead score.

It only took the Red Raiders four plays and exactly one minute to regain a two-score advantage after halftime. Though KU’s homecoming crowd had reasons to feel optimistic late in the second quarter, the Red Raiders lulled them to a subdued state promptly in the third quarter.

That’s when Tech’s plan of attack following the coach’s halftime discussions worked to perfection, with Jett Duffey (271 yards passing, three TDs) hitting Donta Thompson for 28 yards, running back SaRodorick Thompson (80 rushing yards, TD) taking off for 23 yards and, after one rush that went nowhere, Duffey finding T.J. Vasher for a 19-yard TD.

The Red Raiders’ lead expanded to 13 with a Trey Wolff 27-yard field goal before KU and Stanley decided to go back to what had to feel like the only play call working — a deep shot for speedy Stephon Robinson Jr.

The junior receiver’s third reception of more than 40 yards provided a much needed quick-strike jolt for the offense, to the tune of a 65-yard touchdown (Robinson’s second score of the evening) that helped carve Tech’s lead down to 27-20, with 3:56 left on the third quarter clock.

A flop of a first half for KU’s offense was salvaged before intermission, beginning on the Jayhawks’ fifth drive.

Robinson ran deep past three Tech defensive backs, then stopped and waited for Stanley's pass. Upon catching it, Robinson juked to escape the Tech secondary and nearly scored a TD on a 53-yard reception.

The play was not even reviewed as KU called a timeout, but Stanley dove across the goal line on the next snap to give the Jayhawks their first score at the 4:41 mark of the second quarter.

It would take the type of series KU hadn’t put together since the previous week at Texas for the Jayhawks to add a second TD before halftime, as they took over following a defensive stop at their own 16-yard line and only 2:19 left on the second quarter clock.

Sure enough, that’s exactly what Stanley and Robinson helped deliver, as Stanley fired a 2nd-and-short pass to Robinson, who turned on the jets and flew to a 48-yard score in the final minute of the half, allowing KU to head to the locker room down 17-14.

Tech turned its touchdown lead after one quarter to a two-score cushion on the first play of the second, with freshman kicker Wolff connecting on a 24-yard field goal.

But KU’s hole continued growing deeper as the Jayhawks, who turned the ball over on their first snap of the night, punted for a third consecutive possession.

The KU offense had just 55 yards to show for its first four series when the Red Raiders rattled off their second TD drive of the first half, giving the visitors a 17-0 lead, and 225 yards on their first four possessions.

First-year Tech head coach Matt Wells proved aggressive early, on a 4th-and-goal decision at KU’s one-yard line in the first quarter. After a timeout, Thompson darted into the end zone for the game’s first TD with 5:01 to go in the opening quarter.

Coming off a career showing at Texas a week earlier, Stanley threw his first interception since KU’s Week 4 home matchup with West Virginia in the game’s opening seconds.

KU’s senior QB looked deep on the game's opening snap, while under duress. A pair of Tech defensive backs, including senior ballhawk Douglas Coleman III, covered Stanley’s target, Andrew Parchment. Already the FBS leader in interceptions, Coleman easily secured his seventh pick of the season.

KU will host the Sunflower Showdown next week, against rival Kansas State (5-2, 2-2), which upset Oklahoma in Manhattan hours before the Jayhawks took the field.

SCORING SUMMARY

FIRST QUARTER

5:01 — SaRodorick Thompson 1 run. Trey Wolff kick. Seven-play drive for 45 yards, in 2:20. (TT 7, KU 0.)

SECOND QUARTER

14:56 — Wolff 24 field goal. Fourteen-play drive for 74 yards, in 4:02. (TT 10, KU 0.)

8:19 — McLane Mannix 9 pass from Jett Duffey. Wolff kick. Eleven-play drive for 80 yards, in 4:20. (TT 17, KU 0.)

4:41 — Carter Stanley 1 run. Liam Jones kick. Seven-play drive for 78 yards, in 3:31. (TT 17, KU 7.)

0:59 — Stephon Robinson Jr. 48 pass from Stanley. Jones kick. Six-play drive for 84 yards, in 1:20. (TT 17, KU 14.)

THIRD QUARTER

14:00 — T.J. Vasher 19 pass from Duffey. Wolff kick Four-play drive for 70 yards, in 1:00. (TT 24, KU 14.)

5:39 — Wolff 27 field goal. Fifteen-play drive for 68 yards, in 6:34. (TT 27, KU 14.)

3:56 — Robinson 65 pass form Stanley. Jones kick blocked. Four-play drive for 75 yards, in 1:43. (TT 27, KU 20.)

FOURTH QUARTER

13:42 — Andrew Parchment 70 pass from Stanley. Jones kick. Eight-play drive for 86 yards, in 2:17. (TT 27, KU 27.)

12:18 — Dalton Rigdon 48 pass form Duffey. Wolff kick. Three-play drive for 75 yards, in 1:24. (TT 34, KU 27.)

5:12 — Velton Gardner 32 run. Jones kick. Ten-play drive for 70 yards, in 3:50. (TT 34, KU 34.)

0:00 — Jones 32 field goal. One-play drive for 0 yards. (KU 37, TT 34.)

Comments

Dane Pratt 7 months ago

We lose this game and someone would have had to talk me down from the ledge.

Micky Baker 7 months ago

It was a big win for the program. With that said, the guys need to get off to a faster start on offense and put up a score or two early instead of always playing from behind. I really do like how Carter Stanley and it is unfortunate for him this is his last year of eligibility. Too bad he didn't have this for 4 years, just think how good he could be.

With all that said, Pookah didn't have a big night rushing, but his presence had an impact on the game and then Gardner gets the big run late. Texas Tech was confident he wasn't going to get the ball. He took it to the house pretty easily. Next week, don't let the K-State fans take over the stadium The way the offense has played the last two weeks, if that continues, almost all the remaining games are winnable.

Andy Tweedy 7 months ago

I may be wrong, but it sure looked to me that one of our heavies grabbed his arm as he tried to lateral it, I think there is a third hero on that play!

W Keith Swinehart II 7 months ago

76, Chris Hughes according to the roster. Great grab! I doubt if it was an attempted lateral. Just carelessness trying to extend the play two more seconds. Big mistake.

Doug Roberts 7 months ago

Two weeks in a row the Special Teams were an absolute nightmare. Time for somebody to be called out!

Matt Gauntt 7 months ago

We beat Texas Tech for the first time since 2001 and this is your comment? Yeah, Special Teams needs work, but jeez.

David Robinett 7 months ago

Finally God smiles upon the football hawks.

Of all the weird ass screw-ups and bad calls that have thwarted us from victory over the years, it’s so ironic that the most bizarre of plays gives us life, and a chance at redemption.

And Liam Jones manned up for the game winner. Way to go young man.

Joe Ross 7 months ago

Ladies and gentlemen: ready yourselves for the reality that Kansas football may be turning the corner.

Your mind is hesitant to accept it, but it’s hard to deny the improvement we’ve already seen. There’s much football yet to be played this season. The progress we’re seeing means little if the improvement doesn’t continue, but there’s enough here to qualify the season as encouraging thus far.

On to better days!

Brett McCabe 7 months ago

We make a lot of mistakes, but we never give up. While it would be good to make fewer mistakes, I’m on the side of “never give up”, because that means you have a staff who has helped players see their strengths and see themselves as worthy competitors.

This game was over at 17-0. Except that it wasn’t.

This game was headed to overtime when the kick was blocked. Except that it wasn’t.

RCJHK!

Micky Baker 7 months ago

So now you're a Jayhawk, not a Hawk Eye?

Jim Keen 7 months ago

The first paragraph in a Texas Tech fan blog article... "The Texas Tech football team lost to Kansas Saturday night in Lawrence. Take a moment and let that stomach-churning reality wash over you."

Yeh baby! The reality is that our Jayhawks played an awesome game, never gave up, and put a beating on those Red Raiders. Our team can be awash in well-deserved pride!

Rock Chalk!

Mallory Briggans 7 months ago

PAYBACK for winning the Big 12 basketball championship !!!!!

Titus Canby 7 months ago

Just watched the highlights. Wow!

Robinson was a stud last night. And Jones showed great poise making that last field goal. What an ending.

Dirk Medema 7 months ago

It seems comically ironic to see “never give up” in that context.

Definitely nice to see a crazy break go our way after so many against us in the past. Great strip and from an OL.

David Robinett 7 months ago

And Nebraska lost. My cup runneth over.

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