Texas Tech beats Kansas in double overtime
- Nov. 10, 2012
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LUBBOCK, TEXAS — Kansas coach Charlie Weis knew how the game was supposed to end — it was already drawn up in his head. Kansas would score on its possession in the second overtime, and instead of kicking a tying PAT, he would go for two.
If the Jayhawks were stopped, so be it, but the game would end on Weis’ terms.
Well, Kansas lost 41-34 in double overtime to Texas Tech, yet it was on TTU coach Tommy Tuberville’s terms — with Kansas only gaining a yard on its final drive and failing to convert on fourth-and-nine.
“If we scored right there, we were going for two,” Weis said. “I told the defensive coaches, ‘This is going to be it. Either way, we’re going to try to end this right now.’”
Instead, the winning play came from TTU senior running back Eric Stephens, who took a direct snap at the 3-yard line, shuffled a couple steps to his right and tossed a hop pass to a wide open Darrin Moore in the right corner of the end zone, as TTU had the first possession in the second overtime.
Tuberville elected to kick a PAT.
“When you’re in overtime against a good football team, it’s anybody’s game,” Weis said. “It’s no longer about who’s at home and who’s on the road. It’s who makes that one more play.”
That one more play — the hoped-for two-point try — could have gone to junior running back James Sims. After all, Sims already scored two touchdowns and broke Laverne Smith’s 1974 school record with his sixth straight game rushing more than one hundred yards — he finished with 135 yards.
Sims was the reason Kansas even made it to the second overtime. On second and goal in the first overtime, quarterback Michael Cummings found Sims alone on the goal line and caught him in stride walking into the end zone.
Fittingly, it was the same route that Cummings missed Sims on with a chance to tie the game at 21 right before halftime.
“When I saw he was open, I knew I had to get it to him and I wasn’t going to miss this time,” Cummings said. “I just had to calm down and make a catchable ball for him.”
Or Weis could have given that one more play to his other running back, sophomore Tony Pierson. It was Pierson’s 69-yard run early in the fourth that sparked a 10-point Kansas comeback to force overtime.
Pierson almost went 72 yards to the end zone before exhaustion set in and he was tripped up at the three-yard line.
“I saw their safeties trying to play hard on me, so I just gave them a head fake and went straight up the middle,” Pierson said. “I looked up on the Jumbotron and see a guy behind me, and credit to him, it was a nice play.”
Pierson finished with 202 yards on 16 carries — his first time breaking the century mark since he did it in back-to-back games to start the season.
It was one of the few times this season the Jayhawks had both their top running backs on the field and healthy at the same time.
Sims gashed up the middle of the Red Raiders’ defense, while Pierson’s speed allowed him to continually turn the corner on the outside.
“You have your choice, do you soften up the defense by pounding them inside, or do you try to get speed on the edge?” Weis said. “By putting both of those guys out there at the same time, it gives you an opportunity to do both simultaneously which gave us a chance to win the game.”
The Kansas offense was one-dimensional, but then again, so was its ranked opponents’. Of the 571-yards TTU gained, 501 came through the air.
The reality is that the Jayhawks have gone winless in their last 19 Big 12 games. Yet with one more play, a new streak could just as easily have begun.
“At the end of the day, our team played like a legitimate team and tried to gut it out through a complete four quarters,” Weis said.
It was the first time the Jayhawks played tough for 60 minutes this season, unfortunately they needed to hang in a few more to steal a win.
Blake is a senior from Chicago, Ill., studying journalism on the news and information track. Read more from Blake Schuster.