Notebook: Multi-sack games a rarity for KU football

photo by: AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Oklahoma quarterback Tanner Mordecai (15) is sacked by Kansas linebacker Kyron Johnson (15) during an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

It’s not often that one Kansas football player gets to the quarterback for a sack multiple times in a game.

In fact, when senior outside linebacker Kyron Johnson contributed two sacks in a blowout loss at Oklahoma this past Saturday, he was the first Jayhawk to record more than one on the same day in a little more than two years.

Johnson raced into the backfield to strip OU QB Spencer Rattler early in the first quarter and later sacked backup Tanner Mordecai for a nine-yard loss in the second quarter. That ended a 24-game streak for KU during which no defensive players made more than one sack.

Before Johnson’s two-sack day, the last Jayhawk to pull it off was defensive tackle Daniel Wise, in 2018, who also had two in a midseason loss at West Virginia.

“I just had to dig deep, because I knew we were down a couple of players,” Johnson said of his production.

The Jayhawks have been in need of a consistent pass-rusher for years now. Dating back to the start of the 2000 season, a KU player has recorded more than one sack in a game just 22 times — in a span of 247 games.

Only two players during that period surpassed two sacks: Brandon Perkins was credited with five in a victory over Louisiana Tech in 2005, and James Holt provided three for the Jayhawks in an Insight Bowl win over Minnesota to cap the 2008 season.

KU has totaled two or fewer sacks as a team in 189 games over that same stretch of 20-plus seasons. In 88 of those games, the Jayhawks went sack-less.

“I knew I had to step up and do more,” Johnson said of his first multi-sack day. “I knew in the past I didn’t really do as much as I wanted to, and it was just me, basically. I wasn’t doing what I as an individual wanted to do.”

Johnson now has six career sacks for KU. The program’s all-time leader in career sacks is Algie Atkinson, who totaled 24 from 1998-2001. In the past 20-plus seasons, Jake Laptad is KU’s top career sack artist, with 21 from 2007-10. Perkins had 20 from 2002-05. Wise finished with 18.5 from 2015-18.

Laptad’s 20 career sacks ties him for 185th among all FBS players since 2000.

Miles turns 67

KU head coach Les Miles turned 67 on Tuesday during the Jayhawks’ third bye week of the year.

Some of Miles’ current players, including sophomore safety Kenny Logan Jr., posted happy birthday wishes to their coach on Twitter. So did offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon and one of KU’s best players from Miles’ first season in Lawrence, quarterback Carter Stanley.

Stanley called Miles “one of the best coaches in (college football history) and an even better man.”

Miles’ career record as a head coach currently stands at 145-71, and he led LSU to the national championship following the 2007 season. Miles is 3-16 thus far at KU.

KU-UT set

Following a Saturday off this week, KU football (0-7 overall, 0-6 Big 12) returns to action on Nov. 21, when the Jayhawks play host to Texas.

The Big 12 announced the game will kick off at 2:30 p.m. and air on ESPN2.

The Longhorns (5-2, 4-2) are currently ranked No. 21 and also will enter the game coming off a bye week. UT has won three straight — versus Baylor, at Oklahoma State and against West Virginia — since dropping consecutive games to TCU and Oklahoma.


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