Sooners defeat Jayhawks despite quarterback switch up
- Oct. 21, 2012
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First it was Michael Cummings, then Dane Crist, then Cummings, Crist and Cummings again, but none of it mattered.
The Sooners stopped every quarterback the Jayhawks threw at them. Oklahoma played like the ninth best team in the nation should, defeating Kansas 52-7.
How bad was it? The Jayhawks had about one punt for every two completed passes.
“We came out early and went nine plays on the first drive and six plays on the second drive,” coach Charlie Weis said. “It wasn’t like we weren’t moving the ball at all, but to get some chunks you have to be willing to open it up some, you can’t just bunch it up the whole time.”
Weis said that he divided his two quarterbacks into different packages. Cummings was used in tighter bunches because there was potential for a quarterback run, something he didn’t want Dayne Crist doing.
After keeping both Kansas fans and Oklahoma from knowing who would take the first snap for the Jayhawks, Weis trotted out Cummings for his career start.
If Cummings and the Jayhawks would have continued to move the ball as well as they did early in the first quarter, there might have been something to build off of.
But inexperience hurt Cummings, who completed 10 of 21 passes for 111 yards and rushed 21 yards. The mobile quarterback tried to dance around in the pocket long enough for a play to develop. This strategy led to two interceptions and two sacks.
“It’s a learning experience trying to make plays when the best play to be made is throwing the ball away,” Cummings said.
Crist didn’t fare any better. The senior completed three of six passes for 13 yards, lost 16 yards on the ground and coughed up a fumble in the red zone that the Sooners turned into 45-yard return and touchdown.
When junior wide receiver Josh Ford recovered a fumbled punt at the Oklahoma 11-yard line in the first quarter, it seemed the Jayhawks would have a chance to get on the board.
Crist took over the red zone offense, and had freshman wide receiverTre’ Parmalee wide open on a flat route on the first play. But Crist threw the ball behind Parmalee, and the receiver dove to catch it for no gain.
Weis switched back to Cummings; he hoped Cummings would find an open Kale Pick in the end zone, but that pass went incomplete. Crist came back in and gave up the fumble that turned into 45 yards for the Sooners.
It could have been 10-7. Instead, the Jayhawks were down 17-0.
“We had a guy open on the play, we don’t connect and I think that’s a walk in touchdown,” Weis said. “I wasn’t looking to play musical quarterbacks, it was just that three play sequence fit the guys who had practiced those plays from that position on the field.”
Kansas would get only two more looks at the Oklahoma red zone. The first resulted in a 30-yard missed field goal, the second turned into something better.
The Jayhawks chewed up most of the fourth quarter on a 19-play, 80-yard touchdown drive commanded by Cummings and led by running back James Sims.
Sims rushed for 37 yards, including a one-yard touchdown run to break the shutout with just three minutes left in the game.
But with the game out of reach at halftime, the last two quarters were about Weis preparing Cummings for his future snaps.
“When the score is 38-0 you might as well get Michael in there and see what we’ve got,” Weis said.
Blake is a senior from Chicago, Ill., studying journalism on the news and information track. Read more from Blake Schuster.