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Unexpected Kansas football transformation highlights week 2 awards
In just seven days, the Kansas University football team escaped the darkest depths of despair and created an enlightening, new path to its season filled with resounding promise.
Feelings of hopelessness (6-3 loss to North Dakota State) transformed into raging excitement when the Jayhawks stunned No. 15 Georgia Tech, 28-25, on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. There seems to be plenty of KU fans suddenly expecting the Jayhawks to make noise in the Big 12 North just seven days after taking a glance at the calendar with a sharpie and circling Sept. 25 (home to New Mexico State) as the only possible victory in an otherwise forgetful season.
How was this the same team that lost to a lower-level, Football Championship Subdivision team one game ago?
It's one of the more remarkable one-week turnarounds I've seen in college football.
Credit goes to a slew of folks on the KU sideline, most notably first-year coach Turner Gill.
Just about every facet of the Jayhawks' offense was more efficient in their second game.
Kansas can now look to red-shirt freshman Jordan Webb as the undisputed leader of its huddle. In the ugly opener, offensive linemen and skill players took orders from two separate guys in Webb and Kale Pick, who was pulled late in a close game.
When KU gets to the Big 12 portion of its schedule, it shouldn't have to wonder which quarterback will play more. Two-quarterback systems simply throw offensive rhythm into a tailspin.
After Saturday, Kansas has its quarterback in Webb.
The Union, Mo. native completed over 60 percent of his passes (18-for-29) for 179 yards and three touchdowns.
It's possible that Gill's announcement on Wednesday of Webb as KU's starting QB was a great thing for the Jayhawks. It gave them the opportunity to prepare for one signal caller, and not wonder how the snaps would be divided. How much more multi-dimensional did KU look on offense against Georgia Tech?
The KU victory makes the Jayhawks (1-1) a rather confusing team to judge going forward, especially when they play their first road game of the season next Friday at Southern Miss (1-1).
I predict the outcome of every Big 12 football game on YouTube each week on my ConferenceChatterTV channel and I'm off to a 22-2 start. Both of my losses? The two KU games. Yes, they are a tough bunch to figure out.
For my reaction on what happened in week 2 of Big 12 action, highlighted by more analysis of KU-Georgia Tech, check out the latest edition of Conference ChatterTV below:
Time to roll out the red carpet and present my Big 12 awards for the second week.
Player of the week: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma.
Easy choice here. The sophomore signal caller torched Florida State for 380 yards and four touchdowns in No. 10 OU's 47-17 rout of No. 17 Florida State. Most importantly for Jones, however: no interceptions. He completed 75 percent of his passes (30-for-40) and bounced back from a lackluster opening week against Utah State. The more Jones displays these types of outings, the more likely it will be that the Sooners represent the South in the Big 12 Championship.
Kansas call of the week: Freshman running back James Sims should continue to see the bulk of the carries for the Jayhawks.
Kansas fans had to love the true freshman's tenacious running style on Saturday. In his first game, Sims rushed a team-high 17 times for 101 yards and a score.
Sims provides a steady complement of lightning to Angus Quigley's thunder. After what I saw from him against Georgia Tech, which won the ACC last season, I'm giving more carries to lightning than anyone else on the roster. His high ceiling begs the question of what he could accomplish in a full season, and what kind of career he could have at Kansas.
Poll shakeup award? Oklahoma.
The Sooners jumped from No. 10 to No. 7 in the latest Associated Press poll, and knocked Florida State from No. 17 to unranked. The Big 12 has three consecutive spots in the AP poll, with No. 6 Texas, No. 7 OU and No. 8 Nebraska.
Looking ahead: Big 12 game of the week: No. 6 Texas at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. Saturday.
The conference season begins early for the Longhorns (2-0) and Red Raiders (2-0), just like last year. Tommy Tuberville will face UT for the first time as Tech head coach. The Red Raiders destroyed UT's national title hopes two years ago. Can they do it again this year?
The following is the latest edition of the Sorrentino Scale. The number that follows in parentheses is what the team was ranked last week:
1 (1). Texas (2-0): Easy victories to open season against Rice and Wyoming. Saturday, the real test begins.
2 (2). Oklahoma (2-0): Ryan Broyles (12 catches, 124 yards, TD against FSU) best WR I've seen in Big 12 this season.
3 (3). Nebraska (2-0): Defense forced six turnovers, had five interceptions (two returned for TDs) and seven sacks against Idaho. Blackshirts = legit.
4 (4). Texas A&M (2-0): QB Jerrod Johnson 25-for-38 for 349 yards, 4 TDs vs. Louisiana Tech.
5 (5). Texas Tech (2-0): Huge game upcoming for QB Taylor Potts against Texas.
6 (6). Missouri (2-0): Could Tigers play into Top 25 soon?
7 (7). Oklahoma State (2-0): Cowboys escape with victory over Troy for second time in last three seasons.
8 (8). Kansas State (2-0): Normal day at the office for Daniel Thomas (137 rushing yards, 2 TDs) vs. Missouri State.
9 (9). Baylor (2-0): Massive game next at No. 4 TCU.
10 (12). Kansas (1-1): What a story it would be if KU wins first road game next week.
11 (10): Iowa State (1-1): Took beating against Iowa.
12 (11): Colorado (1-1): Took even bigger beating against Cal.
That should be all for now, friends. As always, discuss.