Monday Rewind: Texas Tech


The Texas Tech defense collapses on Kansas running back James Sims during the second overtime on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.

The Texas Tech defense collapses on Kansas running back James Sims during the second overtime on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. by Nick Krug

All season, as the Kansas University football team has piled tough loss on top of tough loss, people, both inside and outside of the program, have preached progress.

It’s one thing to see it in a 20-14 comeback loss against Oklahoma State in which the Jayhawks woke up after carving out a 20-0 hole through three quarters. It’s another to see it in a near victory against Texas, a game KU should have won. And it’s still another to see it in several first halves in which the Jayhawks remained within arm’s reach — down just six or seven points at the break — of quality opponents such as Kansas State, Baylor and TCU.

Even with all of those signs pointing in the right direction for a program desperate to shake its losing culture, never was this team’s evolution from flops to fighters as evident as last Saturday in Lubbock, Texas, where the Jayhawks (1-9 overall, 0-7 Big 12) went toe to toe with the 25th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders before losing, 41-34, in double overtime.

We’re not talking about giving a nice effort and hanging in there against a better team. We’re talking about seeing a you-punch-we-punch, you-score-we-score, you-dig-we-dig-deeper mentality that has been building in the KU locker room slowly and steadily throughout the season.

It wasn’t just the final score or the fact that KU actually had a lead in the first overtime that showed yet more evidence of this team’s growth under first-year coach Charlie Weis. It was the way these guys played. Tough, physical, relentless football from the first quarter to the final extra period.

Were there mistakes? Sure. Plenty of them. But the Jayhawks overcame each one and refused to let the game get away from them despite trailing 21-7 early in the second quarter with Texas Tech driving for the knockout punch.

In the world of college football, winning is the name of the game. And no matter how much the Jayhawks have improved, they continue to fall short in the area it matters most. But one of the best things about progress is that it can inspire players to continue to work hard no matter what their record is because they can see and feel the improvements they’re making. This Kansas roster is full of players like that. Young and old. And it is coached by a group of men who know how to emphasize and celebrate those steps and learn from mistakes.

During the past two seasons we heard a lot about progress but saw very little evidence that any was being made. Anyone remember the net punting brag? The Jayhawks don’t have to grasp for straws like that any longer. They still have a ways to go before they can be considered a quality team with a shot at consistently winning in the Big 12. But they are competitive. And they are getting there. They are capable of preparing a gameplan that can deliver a victory against any team just about every week. And it seems safe to say that the rest of the conference now knows that.

Although this type of season and the promise of progress is not exactly what most of these guys were hoping for, it was and is a necessary step toward turning things around.

I think the players and coaches all realize that. But none of them are content with it.

“It puts a bad taste in our mouths,” said red-shirt freshman quarterback Michael Cummings of the double-overtime loss to Tech. “We’re definitely more hungry going into next week.”

Added Weis, who spoke with pride about the toughness shown by his club last Saturday: “We were extremely motivated in this game. And I think we’ll be even more motivated for next Saturday.”

That’s when the Jayhawks will play host to Iowa State at 6 p.m. in the final home game for 23 seniors at Memorial Stadium.

Weis, on Sunday, made a plea for people to pack the house — not for him, but for those seniors who have given all they have for four or more seasons and got very little in return in terms of feel-good moments.

Filling Memorial Stadium and standing as they take the field would be a cool way to cap of their careers. Will you be there?

Before moving on to this week's examination of Iowa State, here’s one last look at everything the KU running game accomplished last weekend:

  • As a team, Kansas rushed for 390 yards, the most its ever gained in a Big 12 game and the most since rushing for 418 against UAB in 1994.
    • Sophomore HB Tony Pierson rushed for 202 yards in the game, the most rushing yards by a Jayhawk since Reggie Duncan rushed for 227 yards against Texas Tech in 2001.
    • Pierson’s 69-yard run was the longest of the season by a Jayhawk and the longest since a 69-yard run by Cornish against Northwestern State in 2006.
    • Pierson’s 206 yards marked his third game of rushing for at least 100 yards.
    • Pierson rushed for 106 yards in the first half marking the third-straight week that a Jayhawk has broken 100 yards in the first half of play.
    • Junior HB James Sims rushed for 127 yards in the game, marking his sixth-straight 100-yard game. Sims becomes the first Jayhawk to rush for 100-plus yards in sixth-straight contests.
    • The two 100-yard rushers gives KU 10 games with a player rushing for at least 100 yards, which matches the school record. Kansas had two 100-yard rushers in the game for the first time since the South Dakota State game when Pierson and Taylor Cox both gained 100-plus yards.
    • Sims rushed for 48 yards on KU’s 63-yard touchdown drive on its first possession. He scored his seventh rushing touchdown of the year.
    • Sims scored two touchdowns in the game, giving him 26 in his career. It moves him within two scores of second place on KU’s all-time list (Tony Sands, 28).


jgkojak 8 years, 11 months ago

I have been saying all year that we are going to sneak up and win one against someone (pretty much anyone in the B12) we're not supposed to beat.

Look at how close we are to a remarkable record:

We have lost by 1 score to: Rice N. Illinois TCU Texas Texas Tech

If we had a real kicker in any of these games, who knows.

And I'm pretty sure Charlie will have THAT one fixed next year.

PSM 8 years, 11 months ago

didn't we also only lose by one score to OSU?

texashawk10 8 years, 11 months ago

KU lost by 14 to TCU, not a single score.

Marcus Balzer 8 years, 11 months ago

James Sims is one of the best RB's in the nation that nobody is talking about. Makes his accomplishments even more remarkable considering we have nothing of a passing game to speak of.

Ron Prichard 8 years, 11 months ago

Even without the wins, this team has made me proud to be a Jayhawk football fan again. Yes, I get that the national pundits are looking at our record and saying, "See, we told you Weis was the worst hire of last year." But those people only see our record and not the actual games. I would be surprised if any national TV personality--other than those announcing the games--has watched a KU game this year. If they had, they would know this team is making some serious progress.

I think Weis & Co. has done a fantastic job. The kids play hard and they have shown so much heart these last few weeks. I can't wait for Saturday to get here so I can watch an upset of ISU. A win is coming, and hopefully it's this week. It would be a great way to send off the seniors on this team.


whitechocolate 8 years, 11 months ago

Agh. Love the rewind even though every week this season it makes me relive another coulda/shoulda game.

Crazy that for one of the most inept passing offenses in the country, two of our scores were through the air. I don't want to skip ahead, but I'm looking forward to you guys doing a good piece on our upcoming receivers as well. Heaps is going to need good targets and Justin is only one man.

Ron Prichard 8 years, 11 months ago

"...but I wouldn't want to be Iowa State this Saturday."

I love that line. Great post. I couldn't have said it better (and I didn't, as shown above).

hawkdds 8 years, 11 months ago

Jantz had a career day a few weeks ago, can't give him unlimited time to throw. They will come hungry also looking too clinch a bowl bid. W e cannot let down one ounce of intensity.

Steve Reigle 8 years, 11 months ago

Maybe the Tech game is what's called "turning the corner." Let's hope.

Jim Jackson 8 years, 11 months ago

I agree with a lot of the aforementioned statements. The team is still fighting even with a 1 win record and even with bottom end of the Big 12 talent, we are competing and that is a sign of significant progress considering just last year, we were blown out just about every game.

I've been redundant with this, but we really need to hit the JUCOs hard for some immediate help. WR, DL and maybe OL.

Rock Chalk!!

Boouk 8 years, 11 months ago

This year's backfield has to be the best in KU history. How many teams have Brandon Bourbon as their fourth-string RB?

Ron Prichard 8 years, 11 months ago

I'm going to go out on a limb and say just KU. ;-)

Boouk 8 years, 11 months ago

Someone as good as Bourbon, that is.

John Myers 8 years, 11 months ago

I literally laughed out loud at this for a good solid minute... hahaha

itdontmtrtome 8 years, 11 months ago

You must be a young one. Many years ago KU had a backfield consisting of Hadl, Curtis McClinton, Bert Coan, and i believe Daryl Schick. KU's best all time back field by far.

Jayhawker111 8 years, 11 months ago

Didn't KU have a running back named John Riggins. Hard to believe there has ever been anyone better than Riggins.

Ron Prichard 8 years, 11 months ago

Gayle Sayers, aka, the Kansas Comet. Possibly the best ever.

Phil Leister 8 years, 11 months ago

Matt, do you know how our rushing numbers for this game stack up to the leaders in the nation this year? I can't imagine too many players have rushed for 200+ in a game this year. And is there anyone else who has a longer 100+ streak than Sims does?

Mike Nicco 8 years, 11 months ago

Am I reading the line correct? ISU is a 6 point favorite!

jsaz 8 years, 11 months ago

It was Doyle Schick, the year they won the Bluebonnet Bowl, but had to forfiet cause Bullet Bert was ineligible. Jon Cornish rushed for 112 yards for Calgary who won their CFL p;layoff game Sunday, an entertaining game!

Kenneth Hillman 8 years, 11 months ago

Real proud of our Hawks and I wish I could be there this weekend.

I'm re-posting a question I made on an article that isn't getting any traffic or nobody is interested in talking about this. - why did Weis not challenge the muffed punt against Tech?

It may have just been a mistake on his part but I was curious if there was something I didn't know about what happened?


Commenting has been disabled for this item.