Kansas' big start doesn't translate to victory
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Kansas looked poised to run Texas Tech out of town after 15 minutes of play.
James Sims ran 11 yards for a touchdown and Brandon Bourbon raced 51 yards for another touchdown as the Jayhawks built a 20-0 lead in the first 11:21 of the game.
"The first quarter was probably as good a quarter as we've had, particularly for the receivers,'' head coach Turner Gill said. "It was good to see that.''
Kansas paid homage to the 1961 team by wearing powder-blue throwback jerseys, but after the big start the mystique quickly faded. The Red Raiders rattled off 24 straight points until a Jayhawk touchdown with 47 seconds left in the half.
Texas Tech went ahead for good on an 8-yard scamper by Eric Stephens with 11:23 left in the third quarter and the Red Raiders defeated the Jayhawks 45-34.
The magic from the 1961 season clearly didn't rub off Saturday. The 1961 Jayhawks only allowed 88 points in 11 games. This year's squad has allowed 76 points in four third quarters.
"We'll continue to talk about it as a staff as far as what we're doing at halftime adjusting, what are we doing, how are we getting that communicated to our players so that when we come out at halftime in the third quarter so we can play better,'' Gill said. "The starts have been good for the most part, but then we come out in the second half. We'll work on it. In most cases, it's either scheme or personnel.''
Quarterback Jordan Webb came into the game with zero interceptions this season, but on his sixth and seventh pass attempts he was picked off by Tech safety D.J. Johnson. Webb was intercepted a third time by linebacker Cquilin Hubert in the third quarter.
Webb finished the game with 239 yards and three touchdowns on 16 of 22 passing.
"A little miscommunication between me and my receiver on one,'' Webb said. "But it's things we can fix. It's something we're definitely going to fix. We're going to come out next week and try to play our best ballgame.''
Kansas' next opponent won't come as an easy task as it heads to Stillwater, Okla., to face Justin Blackmon, Brandon Weeden and No. 5 Oklahoma State, which was idle Saturday.
Seth Doege passed for 366 yards and three touchdowns and Eric Stephens rushed for 124 yards and scored twice, helping Texas Tech come roaring back from a 20-point deficit.
Doege, who threw three touchdowns the week before against Nevada and set an NCAA record with a 90.9 completion percentage against New Mexico, was 29 for 46.
The 6-foot-1 redshirt junior, playing his first full season since high school in 2005, was also intercepted for the first time this season but still turned in another virtuoso performance for the Red Raiders (4-0) to remain among the country's top passers.
Doege connected with Eric Ward on a 40-yard scoring pass, found Jacoby Franks for a 13-yard TD toss and made it 45-27 late in the third quarter with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Ward, who had 71 yards on four catches.
The Jayhawks parlayed a bevy of big plays into 191 yards and three touchdowns on their first 15 plays of the defensively-challenged day. But then Doege and the Red Raiders got hot, scoring 24 unanswered points before Kansas got a 19-yard touchdown pass from Webb to Rell Lewis to take a 27-24 lead after a first half that lasted just 9 minutes short of 2 hours.
The Red Raiders, off to their first 4-0 start since beginning 10-0 in 2008, unleashed a 21-0 third-quarter blitz to salt away their 12th victory in 13 meetings with the Jayhawks.
Stephens tallied on runs of 8 and 1 yards before Ward's final touchdown catch following Cquilin Hubert's interception.
D.J. Beshears got Kansas rolling with a 56-yard return of the opening kickoff. Four plays later, James Sims broke loose up the middle on an 11-yard TD run. Terrance Bullitt blocked the extra point, leaving it 6-0.
On the Jayhawks' second possession, Brandon Bourbon broke into the Tech secondary on a counter play, slipped a tackle, and sped 51 yards into the end zone for Kansas' longest run of the year. Bourbon had 101 yards on 10 carries and Webb was 16 for 22 for 239 yards and three touchdowns.
Doege, who had thrown 122 passes this season without an interception, was picked off by safety Keeston Terry on Texas Tech's next possession and Kansas set up on its own 25. Beshears got 54 yards on a catch-and-run, then, from the 21, Webb connected with tight end Tim Biere.
He appeared to score, but fumbled at the goal line. Kale Pick recovered for Kansas in the end zone to make it three touchdowns on three possessions by the seven-point home underdogs.
DeAndre Washington got the Red Raiders' comeback started with a 1-yard touchdown run, capping a 7-play, 52-yard drive.
Then Webb, who had not thrown an interception in 61 passes this year, was picked off by safety D.J. Johnson. A chop block penalty shoved Tech back 15 yards to the Kansas 40, but Ward took Doege's pass at the 30 and weaved his way through a gauntlet of would-be tacklers for a second TD on the very next play. Webb, who came into the game No. 2 on the Big 12's pass efficiency chart, threw a second straight interception to Johnson on his next pass.
The Red Raiders needed six plays to cover 45 yards, with Franks scoring on a 13-yard reception for a 21-20 Tech lead.
Donnie Carona's 46-yard field goal put the Red Raiders ahead 24-20 with 7:54 left in a first half that saw the teams combine for 560 yards.