Archive for Sunday, November 7, 1993

KU GAME

November 7, 1993

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It is a head coach's prerogative to watch his team run roughshod the length of the field and call a pass play on the goalline.

It is also a head coach's prerogative to be crushed when the pass play fails, and Kansas' Glen Mason exercised both options Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

KU -- specifically tailback June Henley -- ran over, around and through No. 6-ranked Nebraska's defense during a 7picture."

The Jayhawks concurred that the call was the right one, and although tailback June Henley had run 56 yards on their final touchdown drive, they also seconded Mason's call for a pass play on the two-point conversion.

"If it works, everybody's a hero," Schmidt said. "I don't think 28 or 29, the toss sweep, would have worked. They were split out wide. I do know they wanted to stop the toss sweep. They hadation and it comes down to one play to win the game, that's my job."

Henley, Kansas' phenomenal true freshman back, did his job and more for another week, gaining 148 yards on 37 carries.

Sixteen of 17 plays in the Jayhawks' ultimate scoring drive were on the ground. Thirteen were by Henley for a total of 56 yards, including a 3-yard explosion over right tackle for the touchdown.

After a Husker time out, KU lined up for the conversion attempt, but without Henley. Wide receiver Ashaundai Smith went in motion, quarterback Asheiki Preston dropped back, scrambled out of the pocket under pressure and floated a pass into the clogged end zone that fell untouched.

"Obviously it wasn't the right play, because it didn't work," Mason said. "We'd worked on it and decided it was going to be our two-point (conversion) play."

When did the KU coaches make that decision?

"Probably Tuesday, like we do every week," he said.

Had the pass been completed -- Smith was Preston's primary receiver; Greg Ballard was nearby as a secondary target -- it would have capped the Jayhawks' best performance of the season and their best against Nebraska in two decades.

Kansas, notorious for its slow starts, went 66 yards in nine plays on its first possession to take a 7-0 lead when Preston hit tight end Dwayne Chandler with a 30-yard TD pass on fourth-and-6.

Nebraska (9-0 overall and 5-0 in the Big Eight), answered on its first drive when All-America I-back Calvin Jones ran four yards around left end for a touchdown, and it went ahead 14-7 midway through the second quarter on an 8-yard pass from quarterback Tommie Frazier to tight end Gerald Armstrong.

Frazier was hammered throwing the scoring strike, and, after Kansas punted from its own 49, Brook Berringer lined up at quarterback. Berringer drove NU to the KU 6-yard line, where, under pressure on second-and-5, he threw an ill-advised pass that Jayhawk free safety Clint Bowen intercepted in the end zone for a touchback with 27 seconds left in the half.

"You could feel at halftime we had a lot of momentum," Bowen said. "We got out of a jam on that play. It really picked everyone up."

KU (4-6 and 2-3) held Nebraska to three downs and a punt on its first second-half possession, then drove 29 yards to the NU 30. There, Dan Eichloff, who in the second quarter missed a 57-yard field goal wide to the left, booted a 47-yarder wide-right.

But Kansas forced another punt, took over on its own 35 and tied it 14 plays later on a 5-yard bootleg run by Preston.

Nebraska's Byron Bennett missed a 47-yard field goal identical to Eichloff's, but the true Huskers showed up on their next possession. Five plays, 67 yards -- 51 on a run up the middle by Jones -- and a touchdown on Frazier's desperation pass to Corey Dixon from 10 yards out made it 21-14.

That set the stage for the Jayhawks' last drive, last touchdown and failed attempt to break Nebraska's stranglehold on the series.

"Be proud of the effort, but don't accept playing them close," Mason said. "This is the most lopsided series, probably, in the history of college football. All I know is I'd been outscored 263-63 going into this game. Now I've been outscored by 201 any way you look at it."

Kansas travels next Saturday to face Colorado in Boulder.

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