During the Kansas University football program’s 33-game losing streak away from Lawrence, which has spanned seven seasons and 12 states since that Sept. 12 victory at UTEP in 2009, there have been a handful of close calls along the way that could have stopped the number of consecutive road losses from climbing out of control.
Although most of the players on this year’s roster had little to do with most of those losses, some of the older Jayhawks remember a couple of the close calls well.
“Texas Tech,” said senior defensive end Ben Goodman of KU’s 41-34 double-overtime loss to Tech in 2012. “Michael Cummings in overtime. Mike got caught that time, running to the end zone, and we could’ve won the game. That’s probably one of the closest ones. That’s the one that sticks out to me.”
“My sophomore year at TCU, when JaCorey (Shepherd) had the pick,” added senior wideout Tre’ Parmalee of KU’s 27-17 loss in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2013. “We were with them all game and halfway into the fourth quarter, but they broke away with, like, six minutes left. That’s definitely one I look back on and kind of think, ‘Man, we could’ve had that road win right there.’ I’m sure that there’s more. I just can’t think of ’em right now. That’s always the one that sticks out to me.”
Eight of those 33 road losses since 2009 were games decided by 10 points or fewer. The closest call during that time was a 41-39 loss to Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium during the final week of 2009. And the largest blowout came at the hands of West Virginia, 59-10, during the final game of the 2011 season.
Despite those losses, and so many others like them, the Jayhawks spoke little about the streak this week except when asked about it by reporters. Very few of the coaches were around for any of those losses — offensive coordinator Rob Likens didn’t even know a long losing streak existed — and several of the current players had no part in most, if not all, of those losses.
“Most of these kids, they’re not responsible for that,” defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said. “They weren’t here when it went down. They’re 0-2 on the season and trying to win a football game. The streak really has nothing to do with most of the kids on this team.”
East Coast homecoming
Junior safety Tevin Shaw is the only New Jersey native on the KU roster, but the return to the area will be special for a handful of Jayhawks who grew up in the northeast.
New York native Chevy Graham, Washington D.C. native Larry Mazyck, and Baltimore natives Fish Smithson and Keyon Haughton will have several family members in the KU section at today’s game.
For the second game in a row, Kansas will be facing an opponent for the first time in school history.
In the 125-year history of KU football, the Jayhawks have played 159 games against current Big Ten teams, dating to an 1891 match-up with Iowa. The Jayhawks are 40-116-3 in those games.
Rutgers joined the Big Ten in 2014 after 23 years in the Big East for football and 19 years in the Big East in all other sports.
Scarlet Knights favored
Oddsmakers in Las Vegas pegged Rutgers a 13-point favorite when the betting lines came out at the beginning of the week.
After initially dipping to 12 or 12.5 in a lot of places, the line began to climb back in Rutgers’ favor, and the Scarlet Knights enter today’s game as 14-point favorites at most betting establishments.