During his four-plus years as a member of the ever-struggling Kansas football program, redshirt senior Joe Dineen has experienced his share of low moments and played in more sparsely attended home games than he would care to remember.
But Saturday’s 27-3 loss to Iowa State at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium represented a different kind of disillusionment for the linebacker.
On a day KU announced its attendance as 15,543, it appeared more than half of the fans in the stands were there in support of the Cyclones.
“It was definitely an Iowa State home game,” Dineen said afterward. “You know, it’s kind of disappointing. Before I get into that, though, I want to say thank you to everyone that does show up. There’s a handful of fans that are through and through, no matter what happens. Really good. But that’s pretty disappointing when we come out here at Memorial Stadium and there’s more Iowa State fans than KU fans.”
Photos from KU's 27-3 loss to Iowa State Saturday afternoon.
Clearly frustrated and emotional during his postgame interview about the turnout, Dineen said he expected more KU fans to be at the game after the Jayhawks defeated TCU a week earlier, in front of an announced crowd of 15,069.
“I understand our record and stuff like that is not what it should be, but no matter what the reason is, I know for me personally and for everyone else on the team we bust our ass every offseason and every practice and stuff, just like everyone else does,” Dineen said. “And then when we come out here and, I mean, there’s more Iowa State fans, it’s disheartening for sure. But, I mean, that’s not going to affect how we play. We’re going to go out and play hard every game, but, you know, it sucks.”
The ISU support seemed clear from the game’s opening minutes, when perhaps the loudest roar of the day accompanied an 83-yard touchdown pass from Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy to Hakeem Butler.
“Every big moment, just times throughout the game when we need our fans to be there it’s just not as loud,” Dineen said. “Just a little bit disappointing.”
A team captain and Lawrence native, Dineen led KU with 13 tackles, finishing in double digits for the seventh time this season.
New number for Hempstead
Playing for the first time since his brother, Michael A. Edwards, was shot and killed in Libson, Ark., almost a week ago, KU junior cornerback Elmore Hempstead decided to change his jersey number.
In order to honor Edwards, Hempstead wore No. 3 against Iowa State, instead of his typical No. 23. Hempstead will continue to play in No. 3 for the remainder of the season.
“I don't know how many guys,” KU head coach David Beaty said, “I’ve ever coached could really do what he had to do today, or what he did today. He'll be leaving pretty quickly here to attend the funeral. But was really proud of him. We had that number available. It was a way for us to be able to honor his brother and his family.”
Hempstead made two solo tackles versus Iowa State.
Family and friends of KU long snapper John Wirtel and his brother, Iowa State long snapper Steve Wirtel, showed up to Saturday’s Big 12 matchup to support both of the opposing siblings.
Sporting T-shirts that read “Snappy Bowl 3.0” and “The final chapter” on the front, the Wirtel brothers’ fan club got to watch KU redshirt senior John and ISU junior Steve square off for a final time.
Both Wirtels wear No. 39, so the backs of the T-shirts included their last name and shared jersey number split down the middle in terms of team colors. The left side — the 3 and “Wir” — were in crimson and blue, while the right side — the 9 and “tel” — were in cardinal and gold.
Battle of Travis High teammates
One-time teammates at Houston’s Travis High, KU’s Steven Sims Jr. and ISU’s Hakeem Butler entered Saturday as the leading receivers on their respective teams.
A 6-foot-6, 225-pound junior, Butler dominated at times, finishing with five receptions for 164 yards and a pair of first-quarter TDs.
A 5-10, 176-pound senior, Sims led Kansas with seven receptions for 71 yards.
Lee returns to starting lineup
After coming off the bench in KU’s win against TCU, junior Mike Lee returned to his former spot as a starting safety against Iowa State.
Lee finished with seven total tackles but also was on the coverage when Butler scored an 83-yard TD.
He and the rest of KU’s defensive backs, Lee said, were “very” responsible for KU’s quick 14-0 deficit.
“Gave up two big plays for touchdowns,” Lee said. “As a secondary we can’t do that, because that’ll really hurt our team. I feel like we shut that down a little bit in the second half. And they weren’t catching no more deep balls.”
Allen back in Lawrence
ISU’s roster includes a significant KU tie. Backup tight end Chase Allen is the son of former Jayhawks football coach, Terry Allen.
From 1997-2001, Allen’s Kansas teams went 20-33.
Playing in the stadium where his father once coached, Chase, a 6-8 redshirt sophomore, did not record any statistics off the bench.