Cummings is starting quarterback, looks for win against Baylor

Coming to Kansas from Killeen, Texas, freshman quarterback Michael Cummings has come a long way to get the opportunity he has now. At the start of the season, Cummings was listed as the top backup on the depth chart behind Dayne Crist and was projected to be behind Jake Heaps next season.

Ashleigh Lee/ KANSAN
Junior wide receiver Josh Ford, freshman wide receiver Tre’ Parmalee, sophomore tight end Jimmay Mundine, junior wide receiver Chris Omigie, sophomore linebacker Victor Simmons and sophomore linebacker Michael Reynolds sing the alma matter to the student section on Oct. 27 at Memorial Stadium, where the Jayhawks lost 17-21 to Texas.

Before arriving to Lawrence, Cummings missed five games during his senior year at Killeen High School because of a torn ACL. In 2011, he was redshirted during his first year at Kansas.

Cummings now is the starting quarterback of the Jayhawks. It’s a big opportunity for him to attest himself in front of his coaches and teammates. Kansas coach Charlie Weis said that at the end of the spring, he didn’t look good. He’s improved a lot, despite being unable to play for nearly two years.

“He just kept on working and kept on working until there finally came a point where he gave me an option,” Weis said. “It wasn’t until he gave me an option to put him in there. I’m not putting him in there because the fans say, ‘Let’s put him in there.’ He’s got to give me the reason to believe that we could function well with him in a game. He’s done that, and that’s why he’s in there.”

Cummings sat out in the first four games of the season before he received playing time in the second half against Kansas State. Against Oklahoma State, Cummings was sent into the game in the second half and helped the team score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter after not scoring in the first three quarters.

He threw his first career touchdown against the Cowboys when he found tight end Jimmay Mundine on a 21-yard catch-and-run play to get the Jayhawks rolling.

He’s started the last two games: in Norman, Okla., and at home against Texas, giving him more experience and familiarity, while the Jayhawks seek their first win since the beginning of the season against the South Dakota Jackrabbits.

Even though Cummings has never taken a snap in a college football game, Weis said he likes what he’s seen from Cummings in the four games the quarterback has played in this season.

“He’s making progress enough where I’m not afraid to put him out there,” Weis said.

Cummings, who has been tabbed as calm and collected by quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus, has a good chance to earn his first career victory and help Kansas snap its 17-game conference losing streak on the road against Baylor this Saturday.

Baylor has allowed at least 35 points in its last five contests and are ninth in the Big 12 in points given up and total defense. Baylor’s defense has been on the field longer than it would like because of the offense, which has scored a lot. Even so, teams have managed to score against the Bears, a team that has given up an average 42.7 points per game.

Weis hopes that with Cummings taking the snaps, Kansas can finish on a better note after a long season.

“A win helps validate all the hard work and effort they’ve been doing,” Weis said. “No matter what everyone sees, you can’t believe you’ve truly turned a corner until you have something more definite to show for it.”

Football notes

• Wide receiver Daymond Patterson will be back this week. He suffered a head injury against Oklahoma State.

• Left guards Damon Martin and Duane Zlatnik are co-starters. Martin started last week for the first time.

• Right guard Aslam Sterling will start this week. He’s started two games this season.

• Defensive end and captain Toben Opurum should be able this week. Linebacker Jake Love suffered an injury on the same play as Opurum. Love passed his concussion test, giving him a chance to be active this week.

 

 

 

  • Updated Oct. 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm
  • Edited by Allison Kohn