Speedier James Sims earns top honor


Kansas running back James Sims heads in for a touchdown against South Dakota during the third quarter on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas running back James Sims heads in for a touchdown against South Dakota during the third quarter on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

1. James Sims: Despite fumble for which Sims apologized to coach Charlie Weis after the game and dropping a pass, Sims again looked like KU’s best player, rushing for 94 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. As advertised, he looked faster.

2. Darrian Miller: Wearing twice the number he wore two years ago when he last was in the program — he switched from No. 3 to No. 6 because Tony Pierson now has No. 3 — Miller reminded everyone of just what a terrific runner he is. He gained 72 yards on 14 carries.

3. Keon Stowers: Made a phenomenal return to the end zone on an interception — the first pick of his life at any level, Stowers said afterward — only to have the return called back because of a penalty. The interception counted, though, and so did the four tackles, two of the solo variety.

4. Tony Pierson: Showed he is up to the task in new hybrid receiver/running back role. Gained 47 yards on the ground and 32 yards in receptions. Occupies a great deal of the defense’s attention because he’s such a big-play threat.

5. Josh Ford: Blocked a punt and set up KU’s first touchdown with a 22-yard reception that at first was ruled a TD. His speed and enthusiasm are a terrific blend.

6. Matthew Wyman: Had attempted just one field goal in his life before Saturday, a blocked 50-yard attempt in high school. Then again, he had only played four football games, heading into Saturday and spent most of his athletic career kicking a soccer ball. He calmed his nerves well enough to drill a 45-yard field goal, giving him instant folk-hero status with the KU student section.

7. Ben Heeney: Leg cramps forced him out of the lineup repeatedly, but he still made his presence felt.

8. Brandon Bourbon: Rushed the ball twice, once gaining 24 yards and other time scoring a TD on an eight-yard run. Also caught a pass for five yards. He looks more confident than in years past and could have a big year.

9. Connor Embree: Walk-on-turned-scholarship player had 92 yards on four punt returns, including one that went for 42 yards.

10. Dexter McDonald: Consistently covered his man tightly and had two pass break-ups in a strong return to the KU program after a year at Butler County Community College.

Keegan Ratings Season Standings
1. James Sims (10 points)
2. Darrian Miller (9 points)
3. Keon Stowers (8 points)
4. Tony Pierson (7 points)
5. Josh Ford (6 points)
6. Matthew Wyman (5 points)
7. Ben Heeney (4 points)
8. Brandon Bourbon (3 points)
9. Connor Embree (2 points)
10. Dexter McDonald (1 point)


Brett McCabe 6 years, 3 months ago

Fumble at the two, unsportsmanlike penalty and dropped pass make you ineligible for player of the game. Ford 1, Wyman 2 and Stowers 3. Charlie equals minus-3.

Brad Farha 6 years, 3 months ago

Did you see how hard that SDU player was hitting Sims? Those were not punches to the ball -- they were punches to the kidneys. Repeatedly. I have a hard time blaming Sims for saying something to the player or the ref (don't know which). Wish he didn't, but I can understand that.

Brad Farha 6 years, 3 months ago

Correction there -- meant SDU player hitting Matthews (I think), and it was understandable how Sims reacted.

Max Ledom 6 years, 3 months ago

I am absolutely furious with the amount of carries James got. James should be carrying the ball 20+ times a game, as he shouldn't have a game where he rushes for under 100 with how good he is. I mean he is our All American candidate, and our first real star we have had since Todd Reesing. And our first real chance at having a productive offensive NFL player. I am about the teams success, not individual stats. But James should be getting more carries. I do not want to see James slip into the fray with other running backs this year and I don't want to see his stock drop. He is far too talented. It would be a shame. No doubt, James should have gone for 100 this game.

Boouk 6 years, 3 months ago

We're too deep at RB to give one of them 20+ carries against South Dakota. We need to keep all of our RB's fresh and healthy for Big 12 play.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 3 months ago

Conner needs to be up to #6.Josh Ford also had great coverage on the punt team with Courtney Arnick.

Darin Bradley 6 years, 3 months ago

Sims should have had ~140 yds. Questionable holding penalties on two of his longer runs kept him under the century mark. Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Sims is our best back.

Daniel Cuellar 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm not sure it warrants a place in the top 10, but Dexter Linton had a strong showing from what I saw. I thought that Cassius Sendish was moved to safety to replace him, so I was impressed by his effort.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 3 months ago

Cassius was moved to provide greater depth. CW has talked from day 1 (2012) about building a 2-deep. Simmons & Arnick both played well at NB, and better than Dexter's back-up without Cassius.

The 2 deep on D across the board was impressive - even if there was room for improvement for all.

Clickker 6 years, 3 months ago

Really dumb unsportsmanlike penalty after a gift from the other team would have given us a first down. Bobbled pass that would have given us a key first down. Fumble at the two.

Poor game from a senior. I agree, Sims should be down on the list on this game

Andy Godwin 6 years, 3 months ago

Number 1 was Connor Embree. He set up two scores (returning estremely difficult punts) most importantly shortly after the fumble be Sims near the goal line. That return changed the momentum of the game going into half. Sims fumble and unsportsmanlike penalty especially after SD gave KU a first drown via their penalty drops him out of the top spots.

Jay Hawkinson 6 years, 3 months ago

Ben Goodman probably belongs on this list. A sack, several hurries, and some nice plays in the running game.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 3 months ago

Generally agree, tho wondering how much lack of containment on their QB was his responsibility. Besides, he is a D player, and D players don't deserve awards (sarcasm).

Pbbut 6 years, 3 months ago

This column is just to create discussion, but the field position provided by the punt return team was the single biggest impact on the game. As individuals, Embree and Ford should be moved much closer to the top.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 3 months ago

I couldn't see his play as I was listening to the game but have to agree that his impact alone warrants him to be ranked much higher. Special teams were huge in the game.

bagdoucheous 6 years, 3 months ago

Embree had a huge impact on the game. Keegs...were you watching the same game?

KGphoto 6 years, 3 months ago

Ouch! Keegan shuts out the QB again. I have him above McDonald, Bourbon and Heeney.

Heeney had 4 tackles but was in inhibited by cramps. Heaps had only 10 completions but was inhibited by drops. He also threw a TD (should’ve been 2) and didn’t make mistakes.

Bourbon touched the ball twice. Heaps handled it 65 times.

McDonald’s pass breakups are nice but he didn’t even record an assisted tackle. They only threw the ball 18 times the entire game, it’s not like he was locking down Texas Tech’s air raid. A little run support against a team that racked up 240 on the ground against us would’ve been nice.

Victor Simmons (8 tackles) and Dexter Linton (7 tackles, 6 solo) could be in the mix too.

Mark Lindrud 6 years, 3 months ago

I have to wonder how the QB isn't on the lost somewhere. He had a solid performance that if it weren't for dropped balls(a recurring theme lol) his stats would be much better. If anything we got a TD to a WR and no praise? Come on, man. Guess I'm back disagreeing with Keegs, so that was short lived.

Can we do a weekly point total for Tait, Newell and Keegs? Tait a10, Newell a 9, nothing personal, just liked the football updates by Tait, Keegs a 2.

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