Kansas football: Jayhawks’ resiliency leads them to win over Texas Tech

Kansas football (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Kansas football (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Kansas football stepped up and made plays when they had to against Texas Tech. The team showed a lot of resiliency, especially for playing from behind for most of the game.

It was a rollercoaster of a game for Kansas football fans. From the first play of the game to final play, the Jayhawks never gave up and were rewarded with their first Big 12 game of the season.

Things didn’t start so great for Kansas. After the opening kickoff, the Jayhawks got the ball at the 25-yard line due to a touchback.  The Kansas offense lined up for the first play of the game, ready to prove that the offensive explosion last week against Texas wasn’t a fluke.

Quarterback Carter Stanley took the snap and launched a pass down the middle of the field into double coverage. The throw was intercepted by Douglas Coleman III at the Texas Tech 33 yard line. Talk about a rough start.

While Texas Tech didn’t score, the interception certainly gave the Red Raiders all the momentum. Midway through the second quarter, Texas Tech had already jumped out to a 17-0 lead, and it was looking like Kansas football might not be coming away with a win.

Finally, Kansas got a big play with Stephon Robinson Jr. picking up a 53-yard reception to put the Jayhawks on the goal line. The next play, Stanley QB sneaked it for a touchdown and Kansas was on the board 17-7.

On the Jayhawks’ very next drive, they scored again, this time Stephon Robinson Jr. found the endzone on a 48-yard touchdown reception.

After being down 17-0 with eight minutes to go in the half, Kansas finally answered. The grit the team showed begs the question: would last season’s Kansas football team have made those adjustments? Better yet, would the team have came back from a 17-0 deficit three weeks ago?

While Kansas went into the locker room with the momentum, Texas Tech would be receiving the ball to start the second half.

Once again, the Jayhawks would come out of the gates a step behind, allowing Texas Tech to score a touchdown and then kick a field goal to go up 27-14, and once again Kansas had to fight just to stay in the game.

And fight they did. Carter Stanley connected with Stephon Robinson Jr. again, this time on a 65-yard touchdown to bring the score to 20-27. The only problem was that the PAT was blocked, and Kansas football fans immediately had flashbacks to the week before at Texas.

The missed PAT was huge since Kansas would have been able to tie and take the lead on one more touchdown and PAT. Now, Kansas would have to make their next PAT to even tie the game.

The PAT unit got a chance to redeem themselves pretty quickly, as the Jayhawks’ defense forced a three and out. Once again, Stanley would throw a touchdown pass, but this time it would go to Andrew Parchment on a 70-yard touchdown play on third and 21.

As everyone held their breath, kicker Liam Jones nailed the extra point to tie the game at 27 all with 13:42 to go in the fourth quarter. The Red Raider offense would score again to take a 34-27 lead, but don’t sell the defense short, because they made one of the biggest plays of the game a little later.

Running back Velton Gardner scored on the ground for the Jayhawks to tie the game back up at 34 with 5:12 to go in the fourth. If the Kansas defense could get one more stop, the offense would have a chance to go on the field one more time and win the game.

The Red Raiders had the ball, first and 10 from their own 25-yard line. Quarterback Jett Duffey ran the ball to the 34-yard line on first down and then had an incomplete pass on second down. With a third and one on the 34-yard line, the defense needed just one more play to give their offense the ball back with plenty of time to orchestrate a drive.

Duffey took the snap and handed the ball off to running back SaRodorick Thompson. The Kansas defense plugged up the middle and stuffed the run leading to a fourth and one punt by Texas Tech with less than four minutes to go.

The Kansas offense got the ball back and drove down the field to set up a 40-yard and potentially game-winning field goal with 13 seconds left. Once again the field goal was blocked, but then fumbled back to Kansas with two seconds left in the game. Ironically, Douglas Coleman III was the one to fumble. Coleman III was the same Texas Tech defender that intercepted Carter Stanley on the opening play of the game.

This time, Jones would drill a 32-yard field goal as time expired, giving Kansas football its first Big 12 win of the season 37-34.

Looking back at it all, the Jayhawks were faced with adversity just about every second of the game. At no point did Kansas lead in the game (until the end), which shows just how much belief this team has in itself and the coaching staff.

Once again, it’s hard to see Kansas winning a game like this last year, or even earlier this season. The Coastal Carolina game for instance, when the Kansas offense could barely scrape together seven points against a Sun Belt Conference team.

Still, this team has a long way to go, but wow. The improvement is noticeable, and the Jayhawks have been competitive in just about every game this season. Three of Kansas football’s losses this season have come by five points or less, so the Jayhawks could very well have a much better record than 3-5.

Not only that, but just the resiliency that Kansas football has shown in these past two weeks is something to be proud of. With an offense that can put points on the board and determination to win, this team can do some damage the rest of the season.

Watch. Kansas highlights from last-second win over Texas Tech. light

One more thing to remember is that the Jayhawks only won three games total last season, and they’ve already matched that total this season with four games to go. Les Miles and offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon have this team headed in the right direction, and it’s exciting to see where the two coaches will take Kansas football in the future.