Kansas University football senior Patrick Dorsey has never stepped foot on famed Kyle Field, the College Station, Texas, home of Texas A&M.
When he does Saturday for the Jayhawks’ 11 a.m. game, the defensive tackle will have much more to be excited about than experiencing “The Home of the 12th Man” in person.
A product of Yates High, in Houston, Dorsey grew up a Texas Longhorns fan, more likely to say “Hook ’em Horns” than “Gig ’em Aggies” — though he made it clear those rooting interests no longer exist, stating, “Now I’m a Jayhawk. Jayhawks for life.”
He knows A&M’s huge fan base won’t be behind him or anyone else wearing crimson and blue. However, in at least one pocket of seats, a Dorsey cheering section will be rooting on the 6-foot, 273-pound lineman with the letters KU shaved on the right side of his head.
“I actually have a lot of friends and family coming down for the game. It’s a big deal, playing in Texas,” Dorsey said. “Anywhere in Texas.”
In the down time before kickoff, Dorsey will be scanning the stadium for one person in particular: his mother, Jacqueline.
“I don’t get to see my mom very often,” Dorsey said, his eyes lighting up with the thought of the reunion.
In fact, he hasn’t seen her since winter break last year. What’s more, Jacqueline has been unable to see her son play in person for the past few years.
“I don’t really mind it, though,” Dorsey said. “I know she’s with me in spirit.”
There is no doubt he is looking forward to playing near home, and getting to talk with his mother after the game, but at the same time, Dorsey wants to do all he can to help KU halt its eight-game losing skid. With the Jayhawks (2-8 overall, 0-7 Big 12) ineligible for a bowl, Dorsey said the final two games of the season feel even more important.
“This and the Missouri game are kind of like bowl games, really, because we haven’t been to a bowl game in the last three years (since the 2008 season),” he said. “We don’t want to finish the season just holding our heads down. We want to finish fighting. We want to come out with wins these last two games.”
After suffering through a brutal stretch of four straight losses by 30 or more points, Dorsey said the Jayhawks feel as if they’re getting closer to a victory after losing the last two games (at Iowa State and at home versus Baylor) by a combined four points. Those narrow losses, he said, have whet the appetite of the downtrodden Jayhawks.
In order to beat the Aggies (5-5, 3-4), a team desperate to seal up its bowl eligibility, Dorsey said KU will have to maintain the focus and fight it has shown the past two Saturdays.
The goal: “Just keep improving, like we have since Iowa State,” he said. “… I feel like we have the hunger.”