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Archive for Sunday, November 7, 2010

You did stay until end, right?

The Jayhawks race onto the field following their 52-45 comeback victory over Colorado, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 at Kivisto Field.

The Jayhawks race onto the field following their 52-45 comeback victory over Colorado, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 at Kivisto Field.

November 7, 2010

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

Purchasers of a ticket to watch Kansas University battle Colorado on a sunny Saturday afternoon for the right to avoid last place in the Big 12 North could be grouped into three categories:

  1. Those who had seen enough of this team and ate their tickets because they couldn’t give them away;
  2. Those who took the trouble to go to the game, but left at halftime;
  3. Those who didn’t quit on their team, stayed until the end and witnessed the biggest comeback in the history of Kansas football.

Members of Groups 1 and 2 will be picking eggshells out of their eyebrows for months. The ones who stayed until the end of KU’s 52-45 victory won’t soon forget watching a tidal wave of emotion sweep the sidelines and spill onto the field during a fourth-quarter comeback that rewrote the record books.

Kansas scored 35 consecutive points in the game’s final 11 minutes and five seconds. That would be the same team that in the 14 quarters (210 minutes) leading up to Saturday’s game — the second half of the Baylor game and complete games against Kansas State, Texas A&M and Iowa State — had totaled 33 points.

Those who stayed put until the end of a game that was not televised gained respect for so many participants in a comeback that was even more improbable than the team’s punter standing up in the locker room and giving an unsolicited pregame pep talk in which he vented his fury against a Colorado team that started Kansas on a seven-game losing streak to end a 2009 season that started with a 5-0 record.

“He kind of surprised me by standing up and addressing the team,” receiver Johnathan Wilson said of Alonso Rojas. “I feel like it gave a spark to the team. It might not have showed in the first half, but it showed in the second half. I was really proud of him for standing up, and he’s not a real vocal guy.”

If it helped, it was a delayed reaction. Colorado’s Rodney Stewart, so short and so quick, continued his domination of KU’s defense with an eight-yard touchdown run that put Colorado up 45-17 with 14:52 left.

As the diehards who stayed until the last second dropped off the clock could tell you, this was when Kansas freshman running back James Sims went to work behind an offensive line that had its best day of the season. Sims’ 13-yard rush for a TD cut the deficit to 21 points with 11:05 left. Sims ran for 75 of his 123 yards and three of his four touchdowns in the final quarter.

First-year KU coach Turner Gill made the call of the season with an onside kick recovered by receiver Bradley McDougald.

“I didn’t know we were doing an onside kick,” Wilson said. “I was on the sideline thinking about the next drive, and people started yelling we had the ball. It was a great spark in the fourth quarter. I thank coach for making that call.”

Down 21 points, defensive end Toben Opurum said he turned to D-tackle Patrick Dorsey on the sideline and said, “You know we’re really not out of this game. You realize that, right?”

Opurum added, “He looked at me and said, ‘Yeah.’ Maybe a couple of guys were like, ‘Man, same thing again this week.’ We came back, big play after big play after big play.”

The next would come from Wilson, who did a nice job of catching a Quinn Mecham pass and relentlessly making his way toward the end zone and diving in.

“Once I scored that touchdown, I felt like the stadium came alive,” Wilson said. “Even though we were down by 14, I knew we were going to win the game. I just knew it. That was crazy. I love the game. That’s what football’s all about, especially college football. We showed a lot of passion and we didn’t give up. We didn’t quit.”

Two plays after Wilson wouldn’t be denied the end zone, red-shirt freshman nickelback Tyler Patmon stepped in front of a short Cody Hawkins pass intended for Luke Walters, got his hands on it and dropped it.

“It hurt my heart,” Patmon said.

It also motivated him toward redemption that came soon.

Three plays later, Colorado tried a receiver reverse. Just as the handoff was being made, Opurum hit receiver Toney Clemons with so much force, so much passion, the ball spit out. Patmon scooped it up and took it to the end zone. The call stood after a review.

“Toben, he’s a freak athlete, man,” Wilson said of last year’s leading rusher who started this season at linebacker. “Running back, linebacker, defensive end, whatever. He’s just a good athlete.”

Opurum sniffed out the play perfectly.

“I saw the tackle go away from me, and I just looked down the line to see if anyone was coming to block me, and I saw the receiver coming around, and I read the reverse, and I knew I could get there real quick, just hit him hard,” Opurum said. “I didn’t even know it was a fumble until I heard the crowd cheering. I looked up, and I saw my roommate running down the field.”

His roommate, Patmon, who had made the game’s first tackle, for a three-yard loss, was just warming up.

Two plays from scrimmage after Patmon’s touchdown, Hawkins dropped back to pass to the sidelines, 15 yards upfield. Patmon intercepted it and stepped out of bounds.

On the next play, the loyal fans still in the stands saw Daymond Patterson pull a pass headed for the sidelines in with one hand, a remarkable catch for a 22-yard gain. Sims covered the final 20 yards on four carries, and with 4:30 left the game was tied.

With 52 seconds left, Sims put KU ahead with a 28-yard run. The Buffaloes almost tied it, but their quest died at the seven-yard line.

But then, you already knew that, didn’t you? You were one of the ones who stayed until the end. At least that’s what you’ll claim for the rest of your life, won’t you?

Comments

areyousure 3 years, 8 months ago

Great story. As sad as it was to see the people streaming out at halftime, it was hilarious to see them running back in at the end of the fourth quarter. Of course, that does allow for a fourth category - those who gave up but hung around in the tailgate lot.

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VTHawk 3 years, 8 months ago

Hopefully the passion will carry over--there is nothing worse than watching a team with no fire. If KU can keep up the energy for the rest of the year, not all is lost. Who knows, maybe we can pull off a win or two.

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SnakeFist 3 years, 8 months ago

I misunderestimated Gill. The guy's a genius: Lull your opponent to sleep and then hang 35 on him in the fourth quarter. Excellent strategy, can't wait to see it put to work every week.

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 8 months ago

I stayed, and it was indeed rewarding. Areyousure is right - many tailgaters returned after the fourth quarter started, to swell our ranks and ultimately savor the victory.

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hail2oldku 3 years, 8 months ago

I can proudly say that yes, I was in the stadium for the entire game. Sweet reward indeed for those that never gave up on the team. Funny as heck watching all those people running back to their seats as 28 became 14, and 14 became a deadlock.

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John Kyle 3 years, 8 months ago

"It ain't over 'till it's over" never rang more true

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 8 months ago

Stinkin' fair weather fans.....

You should be banned from all KU Athletics for life. (Yes, including basketball)

Hang your head in shame this day.

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newmedia 3 years, 8 months ago

Nice comeback! The game can probably be summed up in one word - Colorado.

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justforfun 3 years, 8 months ago

Yea right!!! Untill they get 50 hung on em next week.

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kshusker 3 years, 8 months ago

Great comeback!! For all of the comments that the team lacked passion, had given up, was in poor physical condition: How do you explain the greatest comeback in KU history? This team and coach have deserved better treatment all year. My brother talked to someone from Buffalo this week who said Coach Gill was the best coach they had ever had and he hoped the KU fans would give him a chance. Coach Gill can and will recruit the talent to change the future of KU football and make it a consistent winning program. Rock Chalk!!

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l8rlane 3 years, 8 months ago

I agree kshusker! Give Gill a chance! The only people left in the stands during the Texas A&M game from half time on were the band and parents/friends of the band/cheerleaders/dance squad and football players! Yes, it was painful to watch..but there was some KU spirit there!!

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John Gibson 3 years, 8 months ago

I have not left early from a home game this year. I have stayed and suffered through all of the misery. It was nice that some more people stayed through the end of this game. The two next to me said 'I will give KU one more offensive series, then I am gone.' Needless to say they stayed until the end this time. I for one will enjoy this one for a long long time no matter what happens the next three games. LIke others have said enjoy the moment! I keep saying 'Never Leave Early'....

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rgh 3 years, 8 months ago

Dear Coach Gill, staff and players,

I apologize for leaving at the end of the 3rd quarter, but congratulatons on a great win. Thanks to those who did stay! I could honestly hear the crowd for quite some distance considering the buildings and hills that take the sound level level quickly. I'll just say it was me leaving at the end of the 3rd that gave the Hawks all the guts and luck they needed. I deserved to miss a great comeback and with it not being on TV I don't deserve to watch a replay. At least I wasn't the guy in section 9 about half way up who left at half time and was yelling horrible things directed at Coach Gill, nor did I join in the booing when they left the field at half.

Great win guys.

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rgh 3 years, 8 months ago

Not just being biased but the officiating was horrible. Two pass interference calls and the personal foul call were absolutely bogus! I too was booing the officials but some around me were booing and yelling a LOT of negative toward the players and Gill. Good observation though.

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steve60 3 years, 8 months ago

My first visit to Memorial Staduim was in the fall of 1960. It was also my first time for basketball in Allen Field House. I was hooked from the beginning. Over the last 50 years I have had season tickets to both football and basketball. That is until Lou Perkins became AD and made it imposible for me to afford them any longer. I gave them all up. Even though we had sat in the same seats, for basketball, for over 25 years. At that time I gave up on KU sports. I gave away all my memorabilia from and about KU. I thought it would be hard since I was a devout fan, but my anger over the new AD made it quite easy. Any way, Saturday, we came back into the fold at Memorial Stadium to watch KU play CO. Perkins was gone and we thought we would give KU another chance. We were not disappointed. We brought friends who had never seen a KU football game before and they were truely amazed. Thank you KU, the coaches and players for making our return one for the records.

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Haiku_Cuckoo 3 years, 8 months ago

If one person caused you to turn your back on KU sports alrogether then you weren't much of a fan to begin with. And if you think the new AD will get rid of the points system, you're wrong. Many other major college athletic programs use the same type of points system. It's smart business. In any case, I hope you enjoy the new and improved sports facilities now that you're a "fan" again.

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