Rough Response: Momentum tough to come by for KU football following recent solid outings
Call it false hope, fool's gold or the this is why we can't have nice things syndrome.
Whatever you dub it, it has become a heck of a pattern for Kansas University football during the past five-plus seasons.
Despite KU's dismal 12-53 record in the post-Mark Mangino era (2010-present), there have been a few memorable victories and even more close calls against some of the Big 12's best.
But while it's easy to remember last year's near upset of TCU or the Texas game at home that KU lost in the final 17 seconds a couple of years earlier, it's much harder to remember what happened in the week's that followed those close calls. The reason? Most of those results are ones the Jayhawks would rather forget.
Here's a quick look at the 10 most notable face plants since the start of the 2010 season, which, you could argue, actually began with KU following up a 5-0 start to the 2009 season with an 0-7 finish.
• Sept. 17, 2010 — Southern Miss 31, Kansas 16: After upsetting 15th-ranked Georgia Tech, following a disappointing loss to North Dakota State in the season opener, the Jayhawks traveled to Southern Miss and were outclassed from start to finish. Turner Gill's first road game featured a handful of clock management issues and penalties that all but guaranteed a Kansas loss. Just before halftime, the Eagles returned a blocked punt for a touchdown and took a 21-3 into halftime. KU never recovered and never threatened in the second half.
• Nov. 13, 2010 — Nebraska 20, Kansas 3: One week after a ridiculous fourth-quarter comeback at home beat Colorado, 52-45, the Jayhawks' suddenly-high-powered offense went to Gill's alma mater to face an offensively-challenged NU team playing with an injured quarterback. It didn't matter. The Kansas offense, led by QB Quinn Mecham, managed just 87 yards on 47 plays, and the defense, though tough all night, just did not get enough rest to hold the Huskers down.
• Sept. 17, 2011 — Georgia Tech 66, Kansas 24: One Saturday, the Jayhawks picked up a huge victory over bowl-bound Northern Illinois on their final offensive play of the game. The next, the Kansas defense was trounced by a Georgia Tech team that shattered several school records and wound up printing T-Shirts to commemorate the occasion. Kansas' offense did a decent job in the first quarter in Atlanta, but, with the defense looking like swiss cheese, KU simply could not keep up on the scoreboard.
• Nov. 19, 2011 — Texas A&M 61, Kansas 7: For three quarters at home against Baylor, the Kansas defense had future Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III completely bottled up. But then someone tapped RGIII on the shoulder and he led a fourth-quarter comeback that led to a 31-30 overtime victory for the Bears. Perhaps deflated by coming so close to such a huge upset, the Jayhawks barely even showed up the following week in College Station, where Ryan Tannehill torched the KU defense and the KU offense did not crack the scoreboard until the game's final minute.
• Oct. 20, 2012 — Oklahoma 52, Kansas 7: After a hard-fought 20-14 loss to Oklahoma State in miserably wet conditions, which featured James Sims unofficially laying claim to the title of the Big 12's best running back, the Jayhawks traveled to the Sooner State to take on OU the following week and never had a chance. Led by Landry Jones and an unstoppable aerial attack, OU ran the Jayhawks out of the building early. KU had a chance to keep things interesting early, but a simple pass to the flat by QB Dayne Crist that might have been an easy touchdown was woefully behind Tre' Parmalee and Crist did not throw another pass all game.
• Nov. 3, 2012 — Baylor 41, Kansas 14: One week after coming within a couple of plays of knocking off Texas — the UT comeback included a must-have fourth-down conversion and the winning TD in the final 20 seconds — Kansas no-showed against Baylor, yet again, in Waco, Texas. The Bears didn't even play all that well in this one, they just steamrolled their way to a 21-0 second half that left Kansas looking for answers as both Michael Cummings and Dayne Crist played under center for the struggling Jayhawks in this one.
• Nov. 17, 2012 — Iowa State 51, Kansas 23: One week after nearly ending their Big 12 AND road losing streak in the form of a double-overtime loss at Texas Tech, the Jayhawks returned home for what was supposed to be a huge opportunity at a win on Senior Night in front of a fired up home crowd. Just before the game started, the Jayhawks changed out of their traditional blue uniforms and came back out wearing all black. It might as well have been all white, as in “we surrender.” Third-string ISU QB Sam Richardson, whom KU did not even have film on heading into the game, torched the Jayhawks to the tune of 23-of-27 passing for 250 yards, four touchdowns, another on the ground and an easy ISU victory. The game went down as Richardson's coming-out party and yet another huge disappointment for Kansas.
• Oct. 5, 2013 — Texas Tech 54, Kansas 16: It probably should've been looked at as a sign of trouble at the time, but there was no disputing the excitement that came after Matthew Wyman drilled a 52-yard field goal to beat Louisiana Tech (13-10) after an improbable stop by the KU defense in the game's final minutes. Rather than capitalizing on the momentum of that big kick and a 2-1 start, the Jayhawks returned to the very same field the next week and let Texas Tech have its way with them. This one was made worse by the fact that the Jayhawks raced out to a 10-0 first quarter lead and then, in a little over a half, were outscored 47-0 to set the final margin.
• Nov. 23, 2013 — Iowa State 34, Kansas 0: Behind the hard running of James Sims and the spark ignited by the play of true-freshman quarterback Montell Cozart, the Jayhawks ended their Big 12 losing streak with a 31-19 home victory over West Virginia on Nov. 16. The win, in which KU thoroughly dominated, was supposed to be the springboard for a strong finish and some momentum heading into 2014. But instead, the very next week, on a bitterly cold night in Ames, Iowa, the Jayhawks were blanked by one-win Iowa State, which embarrassed the Jayhawks by running wild on an icy field.
• Nov. 22, 2014 — Oklahoma 44, Kansas 7: After nearly shocking the college football world by putting a heck of a scare into national-title-contending TCU, the Jayhawks traveled south to take on an average Oklahoma team and walked away a part of history. OU running back Samaje Perine ran over, through and around the Kansas defense all afternoon on his way to an NCAA record 427 rushing yards that came against little resistance. The Jayhawks never put up a fight in this one and appeared to miss more tackles than they made.
To be fair, during that same time frame, there have been a handful of positive responses to close calls or KU victories. And those, which have been few and far between, include: KU responding to a season-opening loss to North Dakota State in 2010 with win over Georgia Tech; KU responding to its Iowa State win in 2014 with a near-upset of TCU; KU responding to a season-opening 42-24 victory over McNeese State in 2011 with a 45-42 win over Northern Illinois the following week. Those back-to-back wins still are the only consecutive victories at Kansas in the post-Mangino era.
On the heels of last week's close call against Texas Tech and with KU headed to Oklahoma State on Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Boone Pickens Stadium, the Jayhawks now have their next opportunity to add a game to one of the two categories above.