Archive for Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wow. Just … wow: ‘Relentless’ rally lifts KU past Buffs

The Memorial Stadium crowd rises up as Kansas running back James Sims leaves Colorado linebacker Liloa Nobriga on the ground for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 at Kivisto Field. The extra point by Jacob Branstetter tied the game.

The Memorial Stadium crowd rises up as Kansas running back James Sims leaves Colorado linebacker Liloa Nobriga on the ground for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 at Kivisto Field. The extra point by Jacob Branstetter tied the game.

November 7, 2010


KU-CU video clips

Video clips from the Jayhawks' 52-45 win over Colorado. Enlarge video

With 26 different buzz words at his disposal, Kansas University football coach Turner Gill flipped through his notebook at the beginning of the week and decided the key term for Week 9 would be “relentless.”

Great call.

Trailing by 28 with 14:47 to play, Gill’s Jayhawks defined the word as they unleashed a rally of epic proportions and claimed a 52-45 victory over Colorado at Memorial Stadium.

Onside kicks bounced KU’s way.

The turnover-challenged Jayhawks picked up two crucial second-half takeaways.

And a couple of long-standing school records fell.

“At halftime, we just talked about being relentless,” said Gill, whose team looked sluggish in the first two quarters and trailed, 35-10, at the break. “We’ve got to keep playing, keep executing and keep bringing intensity. I think that’s what happened.”

The biggest comeback in school history, which also featured the most points scored in a quarter in school history, unfolded so fast, nobody in the Kansas locker room was able to describe the incredible comeback in the same manner.

“I feel like I lost track of the score,” senior offensive lineman Brad Thorson said. “All of a sudden, we look up and we’re down seven. Those turnovers at the end were unbelievable. I’m still in shock.”

Added Johnathan Wilson: “We were down. We didn’t make some of the plays we should have. But somewhere in the second half, I don’t know where, I need to go back and watch the film, but we just clicked.”

Saturday’s victory started off like so many of the losses the Jayhawks (3-6 overall, 1-4 Big 12) had experienced this fall. KU quarterback Quinn Mecham threw two first-half interceptions. The KU defense was torched for 316 yards in the first two quarters. And the Buffs (3-6, 0-5), led by seniors Cody Hawkins and Rodney Stewart, did whatever they wanted on offense in building the commanding halftime lead.

CU struck first in the second half, too, with a third-quarter field goal that made it 38-10.

Then KU’s comeback spark began to flicker.

A one-yard run by James Sims cut the lead to 38-17, but CU answered with an eight-yard TD run from Stewart, and it looked as if this would be another embarrassing beating for KU.

One problem. The Jayhawks weren’t interested in repeating history. So they made it.

“We just let all the pressure go and went out and played football,” Wilson said. “I just told the guys, go play street ball, go play like you’re playing two-hand touch or whatever. And that’s basically what people were doing. They were just making plays, letting loose.”

Added Thorson: “Just to have the pieces start falling into place for us, to have things start going our way, was incredible.”

The first thing that sparked the comeback was an onside kick recovered by Kansas with CU leading, 45-24.

“It was discussed,” Gill said. “We kind of went back and forth on it. Being behind 21 points, I thought (that) was really the chance for us to do it. Maybe it would be a little bit of a surprise.”

Indeed it was, as Bradley McDougald recovered the kick and, four plays later, Wilson cut the lead to 45-31 with a 38-yard touchdown grab.

On the ensuing drive, red-shirt freshman Tyler Patmon made the first of two huge plays that helped decide the game. After defensive end Toben Opurum walloped CU’s Toney Clemons on a reverse, the ball came out, Patmon picked it up and rumbled 28 yards for a touchdown.

KU trailed 45-38.

On the next drive, Patmon intercepted Hawkins on the second play from scrimmage to set up an eight-yard TD from Sims that tied the game at 45.

“We have been waiting on that for so long,” Patmon said of the turnovers, KU’s sixth and seventh on the year.

From there, the KU defense, fueled by an improbable flurry of good fortune, forced Colorado into a three-and-out.

Jake Laptad’s sack — for a third consecutive game — sealed it and gave the ball back to KU’s offense. Five plays later, Sims put the capper on the day with a 28-yard TD run that proved to be the game-winner. It marked the first four-touchdown day by a KU running back since Jake Sharp did it in 2008 against K-State.

“We’ve worked on that play at the end of every practice,” said Sims, through a university release. “Coach (Reggie Mitchell) just said to hit the A-gap, and the hole will be there. I just listened to what he told me, and it was there.”

Sims finished with a career-high 123 yards on 20 carries.

The announced attendance for Saturday’s game was 40,851, though it appeared the actual attendance was smaller. By the start of the second half, Memorial Stadium was no more than half full. But those who stayed were loud and were treated to one heck of a finish.

“This is an unbelievable victory,” Thorson said. “This is an unbelievable feeling. This is why I play football.”


cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

I've heard that this game will be replay-broadcasted today or later. Any help out there?

Danimal 6 years, 11 months ago

It's usually replayed on Channel 6 unedited, or you can catch the Big 12 Replay on FSN which condenses the game down to one hour.

jonas_opines 6 years, 11 months ago

Wow, seriously?! I checked in at some point down 45-25 or something like that and just assumed that they lost again.

hawksfanatic 6 years, 11 months ago

Congratulations, Jayhawks. A true fan stands behind you no matter the score - don't get me wrong - I'd much rather see you win than lose. But, yesterday, you guys played your guts out in the last quarter, and you deserve the win. Great work! Nebraska will be tough. Hold your heads up high.

erka_dawn 6 years, 11 months ago

The last quarter of this game was so AWESOME!!! By then the crowd at the game was much smaller but by the way everyone was cheering it sounded like a full stadium!!!!

Shardwurm 6 years, 11 months ago

I think we can all agree that the best thing the University can do in response to this victory is raise tuition.

dfilmguy 6 years, 11 months ago

Why can't the LJworld put up actual good clips of the game? The highlights provided make it seem like the Hawks still lost! And whats up with the compression? I for one know personally the cameras the photogs use and the highlights look like absolute crap. What gives LJWorld Sports?

wmathews 6 years, 11 months ago

Hi dfilmguy, Thanks for the feedback. Our photographers are still experimenting with the best ways to get video highlights up in addition to having to shoot still images for games. We definitely have room to improve when it comes to shooting sports. I'll pass your comments along.

Whitney Mathews Assistant Online Community Editor

CheneyHawk 6 years, 11 months ago

This win is probably enough for TG to maintain his employment?

rgh 6 years, 11 months ago

Honestly you have to give a guy 3 years to try and turn it around whether we like them or not. Mangino did not have a very good recruiting process his last year and left us with little depth. I left at the start of the 4th quarter and congratulate those who stayed. You say what must have been a heck of an ending. I wish the best to the staff and players the rest of the year.

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