Quick recap: KU’s comeback bid falls short in 16-13 loss to Texas Tech

Kansas quarterback Cole Ballard (15) is brought down while trudging toward the end zone during the fourth quarter on Saturday Nov. 11, 2023 at Memorial Stadium. Photo by Nick Krug

Despite a valiant comeback effort, the Kansas football team came up just short in a 16-13 loss to Texas Tech on Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

At first, nothing seemed to go right for the No. 19 Jayhawks, who fell to 7-3 overall and 4-3 in Big 12 play. They suffered a sleepy start in a prime look-ahead spot with a rivalry matchup on deck. Kansas struggled to contain Texas Tech’s run game and suffered notable injuries, including one to quarterback Jason Bean that thrust freshman walk-on Cole Ballard into action.

Texas Tech (5-5, 4-3 Big 12), which was a trendy conference dark horse in the preseason, took full advantage to keep its bowl eligibility aspirations alive.

After forcing a quick three-and-out on the opening possession, the Red Raiders jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a five-yard touchdown run by Tahj Brooks. It set the tone for a strong showing on the ground for Brooks.

Following another three-and-out by Kansas, Texas Tech stretched its lead to double digits with a 15-play drive that ended in a field goal. The Jayhawks finally started to put together a solid drive on their third possession, only for Bean to get injured on a six-yard scramble right before the end of the first quarter.

Bean, who has started six straight games with Jalon Daniels sidelined, made a brief return early in the second quarter. A fourth-down option run by Bean — which was stuffed out by Texas Tech for a turnover on downs — ultimately forced the signal-caller out for the remainder of the game.

Ballard, the son of Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, was under center for the Jayhawks the rest of the way. He engineered a promising 18-play drive in the second period, but the possession ended with consecutive Daniel Hishaw Jr. runs from the TTU 1-yard line. The Red Raiders halted both attempts for a crucial goal-line stand.

But then things turned in the second half, thanks to Texas Tech letting Kansas hang around all afternoon.

Running back Devin Neal delivered a 60-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to put the Jayhawks on the board. He passed both Gale Sayers and John Riggins on the school’s all-time rushing list in the process.

KU’s defense, which performed much better in the second half, then gave the offense the ball back with a quick stop. The Jayhawks proceeded to march down the field once more, but the drive again came to a screeching halt in the red zone before settling for a field goal.

The Jayhawks then evened the score up at 16-all on a 22-yard field goal from Seth Keller in the final minute. But Texas Tech promptly marched down the field on three plays in 26 seconds to set up the game-winning field goal at the end of regulation.

Kansas will play host to Kansas State for the Sunflower Showdown next Saturday. A kickoff time has yet to be announced by the Big 12.

How they scored

First quarter

10:18 — Tahj Brooks 5-yard run. Gino Garcia PAT is good. Seven plays, 50 yards, 2:54 TOP. Texas Tech 7, Kansas 0.

3:29 — Gino Garcia 32-yard field goal is good. 15 plays, 42 yards, 5:22 TOP. Texas Tech 10, Kansas 0.

Third quarter

2:56 — Garcia 31-yard field goal. Eight plays, 22 yards, 3:42 TOP. Texas Tech 13, Kansas 0.

Fourth quarter

12:12 — Devin Neal 60-yard run. Seth Keller PAT is good. Four plays, 70 yards, 1:42 TOP. Texas Tech 13, Kansas 7.

4:46 — Keller 24-yard field goal is good. 11 plays, 71 yards, 4:57 TOP. Texas Tech 13, Kansas 10.

0:30 — Keller 22-yard field goal is good. 14 plays, 77 yards, 1:55 TOP. Kansas 13, Texas Tech 13.

0:03 — Garcia 30-yard field goal is good. Four plays, 63 yards, 00:26 TOP. Texas Tech 16, Kansas 13.


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