Kansas fails to exploit TCU mistakes
- Sep. 16, 2012
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The opening moments of Big 12 play for Texas Christian were dreadful.
Barely two minutes into the game, TCU junior quarterback Casey Pachall fumbled a low snap in Kansas territory. The 43,867 fans at Memorial Stadium roared to life as senior tackle Josh Williams recovered the ball near midfield.The Pachall fumble was a kick-start for two trends throughout Kansas’ 20-6 defeat: TCU turnovers and the Jayhawks’ inability to do anything with them.
The Jayhawks were on the receiving end of four fumble recoveries, three of which were forced. However, the turnovers resulted in only three Kansas points.
“We didn’t feel like they were stopping us,” Pachall said. “We were stopping ourselves.”
The Horned Frogs’ offense gained 487 yards, but Kansas protected the red zone, aside from allowing two touchdowns.
Junior punter Ron Doherty notched a 37-yard field goal to give Kansas an early lead off of Pachall’s first fumble.The Horned Frogs responded by marching down to the red zone, and turning the ball over again. On a TCU pass from the Jayhawks’ 23-yard line, senior safety Bradley McDougald broke through the line, tackled Pachall and ripped the ball from his hands, allowing senior defensive captain
Toben Opurum to pick it up.Throughout the game, the Kansas defense made a play for the ball, not just the carrier.
“Coach Campo told us they are bound to turn the ball over,” Kansas sophomore linebacker Ben Heeney said. “The running backs carry the ball loose, and the coaches told us to put our head on the ball and strip it.”
It would take Kansas only 18 seconds to hand the possession right back, as quarterback Dayne Crist fired a pass that TCU’s sophomore safety Sam Carter intercepted. It would be Crist’s only costly pass of the game, yet the fifth-year senior did not have a productive day.Crist gained 303 yards in the air, but he finished with a poor passing percentage for the second time in three games. He completed only 19 of 39 attempts.
“You want to kind of put the pedal to the metal at that point and capitalize on those,” Crist said. “We didn’t finish drives, we didn’t score a touchdown and as an offense that’s frustrating.”
The frustration began to swell late in the fourth quarter as Kansas trailed by 14; the Jayhawks could not operate on offense after another TCU turnover.
TCU running back Matthew Tucker got his second forced fumble of the day when McDougald stripped the ball from him. With 3:11 left in the game, coach Charlie Weis decided to start airing it out.
“When we got the ball back the last time I told the defensive staff I don’t care if I use both our timeouts,” Weis said. “We’ve got to go down there and try and get this to a one-score game.”
The Jayhawks picked up three first downs, highlighted by sophomore wide receiver Andrew Turzilli’s 41-yard reception. This set up an opportunity for Kansas on the Horned Frogs goal line, but Crist was stripped by defensive end Stansly Maponga, ending a shot a Kansas comeback. After the game, Weis praised Crist for the toughness he showed in the pocket.
“He stood right in there and he took the hits,” Weis said. “There were a lot of big plays. We missed a few, but we definitely made progress.”
Instead, Weis blamed the wide receivers for the passing game’s problems this week.
The only encouraging receiving games came from Turzilli and sophomore halfback Tony Pierson. Turzilli had an impressive 100-yard game in his first career start, and Pierson gained 99 yards as a wide receiver.
Even though the defense gave Weis’ offense opportunities to get points on the board, the Jayhawks couldn’t muster more than two field goals.
“It’s frustrating if I’m being honest about it,” Opurum said. “The biggest thing we need to is finish. Whether it’s plays, drives, quarters or halves, we just need to finish.”
— Edited by Nikki Wentling