Sunday, November 13, 2011

Matt Tait’s football notebook: Darrian Miller has career day

Kansas running back Darrian Miller races up the field for a first down against Baylor during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 at Kivisto Field. The run helped put the Jayhawks in field goal range.

Kansas running back Darrian Miller races up the field for a first down against Baylor during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 at Kivisto Field. The run helped put the Jayhawks in field goal range.


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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Turner Gill

Kansas coach Turner Gill talks after his team's 31-30 overtime loss to Baylor on Nov. 12, 2011.

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Although the effort was overshadowed by Saturday's 31-30 overtime loss to Baylor, Kansas University freshman running back Darrian Miller paced the KU rushing attack with a career day.

Miller's 147 yards on 24 carries were the most by a KU freshman since 1993 and also represented a new career-high for the 5-foot-10, 191-pound back from Blue Springs, Mo.

Miller became the third different Jayhawk to rush for 100 yards in a game this season, joining sophomore James Sims and red-shirt freshman Brandon Bourbon.

Miller was the only Jayhawk ball-carrier who did not score a touchdown on Saturday. Sims, who finished with 64 yards on 24 carries, and freshman Tony Pierson (70 yards on 8 carries) each crossed the goal line once. In addition, wide receiver Christian Matthews ran four times for 15 yards and a scored a two-yard TD plunge out of the "Jayhawk" formation.

In all, the Jayhawks ran 64 times on Saturday, their most since rushing 71 times against Kansas State in 1992.

"Our running backs played well," offensive coordinator Chuck Long said. "They ran hard. Our offensive line did a terrific job. Our receivers on the outside blocked well."

Refs get review happy

The first half of Saturday's game featured an astonishing eight plays that were reviewed by replay officials.

Three — a near interception by Steven Johnson, an incompletion by Robert Griffin III and a fumbled pitched that ultimately gave the Jayhawks possession — came on one Baylor drive.

Hatch the receiver

With Saturday marking the final home game of his career, senior center Jeremiah Hatch did something he had not previously done during his time as a Jayhawk: He had a reception. Sort of.

With KU leading 10-0 and looking for more, sophomore quarterback Jordan Webb threw an interception deep in Kansas territory that Baylor's Elliot Coffey returned inside the 10-yard line. As Coffey made a break for the end zone, Webb hit him out of bounds and forced the ball loose. As the ball flew into the end zone, Hatch, who was racing to make a tackle, snagged the ball out of mid-air and secured it for a KU touchback.

Asked after the game if that was the best catch of his career, Hatch said: "Yep, and the only catch of my career. You gotta enjoy it while you get one."

Long said the big fella deserved credit for the hustle play.

"That was a terrific play by a senior, going out," Long said. "(Offensive line) coach (J.B.) Grimes does a great job coaching those guys and that's a great example. We had an interception but you have to cover because you never know what's gonna happen."

Kicking game update

After choosing to go to sophomore Ron Doherty in place of starting place kicker and true freshman Alex Mueller during last week's loss at Iowa State, KU coach Turner Gill unveiled a new look against Baylor.

Doherty, who also is KU's punter and kickoff specialist, handled field goals, and Mueller took care of the extra points. Both kickers were perfect on Saturday, with Mueller going 3-for-3 on PATs and Doherty drilling his only field goal attempt, a 37-yarder with 9:42 to play in the first quarter.

This and that ...

The Jayhawks won Saturday's opening coin toss and deferred their choice to the second half. Baylor, meanwhile, chose to kick off, giving the Jayhawks the ball to start both halves. ... The Jayhawks were 3-for-3 on fourth down conversions, bringing their season total to 13-for-19. ... Senior Anthony Davis recorded the first interception of his career. ... KU played its first overtime game since a loss in 2006 at Nebraska and its first overtime home game since topping Iowa State in 2005. ... Temperature at kickoff was 58 degrees, under partly cloudy skies with wind gusts of 23-32 mph from the south.


blackhawkjayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Perhaps we should have given the ball a little more to Darian in the 4th quarter?

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 6 months ago

Somebody fill me in on our overtime touchdown.

Did we instantly line up for a two point conversion or did we take a timeout to set the play up?

Was there at least some type of play action on the two point conversion play?

Did turner know you only have to go for two after the second overtime?

Mark Lindrud 10 years, 6 months ago

The first td, Webb threw a bullet on first down to Biere for a 25 yard TD. Nice play.

We took a time out before the two point conversion and no we don't have to go for two until the third OT so it was a gamble. There was no play action on the play and I think it was a bad call. In addition, Webb threw into double coverage. Horrible throw.

jaydee909 10 years, 6 months ago

Your so stupid Ahper. You know damn well that Griffin was on a roll and that our best chance of winning was making a couple of yards on the two point attempt. The problem was the play selection on the attempt.

kranny 10 years, 6 months ago

Have to disagree. Statistically, the 2 point conversion success rate is only 40% or so. Kick the extra point to tie the game and let your defense try to get a turnover. Get to the 3rd OT and then at least BOTH teams have to go for 2. Then you know what's coming and you can set your defense for it. Bad, Bad decision.

FTC_Jayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

I don't think anyone believed we would have a better than 40% chance to win at any point after kicking the extra point. Most of the people agreeing with Gill's decision to go for it would happily cite the same statistic to support their position.

boknowssports 10 years, 6 months ago

why go for the two point conversion when you are at home? not sure that was the right call. and why not slow the tempo down more in the fourth quarter to burn a little time.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 6 months ago

It's like shooting 3 pointers as soon as you cross half court with a 15 point lead and 5 minutes left to play in the second half of a home basketball game. Going for two at home in the first overtime is just absurd.

boknowssports 10 years, 6 months ago

take away the miracle 4th and 6 last play of the game TD against Northern Illinois and we would be looking at 1-11 this year, yet I know the Gill lovers will be out in force over all the improvement with these last two "moral victory" losses...

kranny 10 years, 6 months ago

I've officially stepped off the bandwagon. I wanted and tried to be a "Believer" but it's been an absolute train wreck. We need a damage plan and quickly.

John Percival 10 years, 6 months ago

alpher - ever go to a game or hear of a radio? New thing called the internet, too. get off here & take Keegan with you.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 6 months ago

They even gave us the ball first in both halves and the coaching staff still figures out a way to botch it up.

actorman 10 years, 6 months ago

"KU played its first overtime game since a loss in 2006 at Nebraska ..."

I'm too lazy too double-check, but wasn't the Toledo game more recent than 2006? I assume you mean KU's first CONFERENCE overtime game since 2006, right?

rockchalkblock 10 years, 6 months ago

If you remember in 2006 Kerry got hurt in that Toledo game... That is why barman was qb in the 2006 Nebraska game that also went into overtime.

Jo Ann Ortgies Stork 10 years, 6 months ago

A special thank you to Darrian Miller for his performance during this game.

Still would be nice for those who are watching without the benefit of a program to know everyone's names (i.e.) names on the jersey's. Next watch party we go to, I may actually take some copies of the roster. (Note it will not be the KU/MU party as we will be in Arrowhead to say "GOODBYE MIZZOU". )

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