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Sunday, October 20, 2013

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Nick Krug/Journal-World Photos

KANSAS UNIVERSITY RUNNING BACK JAMES SIMS (CENTER) SCORES A TOUCHDOWN in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma. Kicker Matthew Wyman’s extra-point attempt was blocked and run back for two points in the Jayhawks’ 34-19 loss Saturday at Memorial Stadium.


KU ran on Sooners, especially early By Matt Tait

Aslam Sterling was a busy man during his second start of the season at right tackle Saturday. And that’s because most of the power running plays that worked beautifully during the early portion of Kansas University’s 34-19 loss to No. 18 Oklahoma went right behind the 6-foot-5, 315-pound senior, who started the season at left tackle. Last season, the Jayhawks (2-4 overall, 0-3 Big 12) became known for their ability to run against just about anyone and often stayed in games because of it. That has not been the case thus far this season, but Saturday’s effort — particularly early — sure looked as if some-

one turned back the clock to 2012. In the first quarter alone, KU ran for 118 yards on 15 carries. Senior James Sims, who finished the day with his 13th career 100yard outing (23 carries, 129 yards, two touchdowns), accounted for 85 of those by himself. That included a stretch in which he carried the ball on eight of KU’s first nine plays and gained 63 yards on the Jayhawks’ opening drive. “It felt good,” Sims said. “Give credit to the offensive line. They were physical up front. They won the battle at the line of scrimmage. That was our plan the whole week, and they went out and did that.” A modest Sterling said there was nothing special about his play or the

right side of the line Saturday. Instead, he said KU’s strong rushing performance was a product of quality film work and more heart. “It’s not just the right side in particular,” Sterling said. “We watched film throughout the week. We saw other teams be able to run against them, and we knew we could do that, too.” Sophomore Darrian Miller rushed for 67 yards on nine carries.

Trickery, dickory, doc The Sooners’ second touchdown of the game — a 49-yard pass from wide receiver Lacoltan Bester to Sterling Shepard late in the second quarter — gave OU the lead for good and was the result of a play

that caught Kansas off guard. “That was just a trick play,” said KU cornerback JaCorey Shepherd, who lined up to cover Bester but quickly realized something was up when he saw his man run back toward OU quarterback Blake Bell. “We really weren’t ready for it. They just got us on that one. I just saw my receiver going back to the backfield, and once I transitioned my eyes back to the backfield, I just saw him throwing the ball.”

Victorious validation Oklahoma defensive end Geneo Grissom, a Hutchinson native and former four-star recruit who chose Oklahoma over Kansas, was asked if the victory against the

Jayhawks validated his decision. “Absolutely,” said Grissom, who has played sparingly during his first four seasons in Norman, Okla., and even spent time at tight end. “Kansas is a great school, but I felt Oklahoma was the best decision for me.” Grissom finished Saturday’s game with four tackles and was credited with a half-tackle for loss.

er Andrew Turzilli, were close to playing but could not get over the hump. “Heeney was trying to go this week,” Weis said. “Tony’s waiting to be asymptomatic. He went for a test on Thursday and passed with flying colors, but you don’t mess around with head (injuries). You just don’t do it. Drew moved around better. Tedarian moved around better, but they just weren’t ready to go.” Injury update Heeney, in street The Jayhawks played clothes, still participated Saturday’s game without in the pregame coin toss. four key regulars, including leading tackler Ben This and that ... Linebacker Courtney Heeney and leading receiver Tony Pierson. KU Arnick made his first cacoach Charlie Weis said reer start and finished with those two, along with de- six tackles. ... Senior safety fensive tackle Tedarian Dexter Linton led the JayJohnson and wide receiv- hawks with nine tackles.

KANSAS CORNERBACK DEXTER MCDONALD IS LEFT BEHIND as Oklahoma receiver Jaz Reynolds dives into the end zone for a second-quarter touchdown.


The defense is doing its part, but like any good leader, Stowers talked more about what the defense needed to do to get CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1B better before addressing the obvious culprit, KU’s Charlie Weis, whose KU anemic passing game. record dropped to 3-15. Stowers talked about how “He does a good job of the defense needs to cut getting us riled up. I know back on its penalties and you can’t see it from him, how everybody needs but he gets us pretty riled to bring the first-quarter before the game. Just to energy for four quarters. see him, to see his energy, “I feel like we get comhis passion for the game. placent as a team,” StowWe feed off it.” ers said. “Up 13-0 on OU, With each loss, bodies whoever thought that? fly off the Weis bandwag- Coming in at halftime, it’s on, but to hear Stowers 18-13. We’re actually in tell it, none of the bodies the game, so we’re like, pull KU football jerseys ‘We’re in it. We’re in it. over shoulder pads every We’ve got to keep going.’ Saturday. You go out, guys are mov“Everybody’s against ing around, and they’re coach Weis,” Stowers feeling good. Then once said. “We’re trying to something goes wrong, change that. Everybody’s you see those long faces. saying he’s a bad coach or And it’s up to us captains he’s a bad person. It’s up to try to get that off guys’ to us to change that.” faces and keep going.” KU’s players haven’t Stowers expressed given up on Weis, for the opinion that football whom they still play hard. games are won in the

third quarter. In the case of KU (2-4 overall, 0-3 in the Big 12), the second quarter has been just as bad. In conference play, KU has won the first quarter, 20-7, lost the second, 41-13, and lost the third, 38-13. “You could just feel the atmosphere of the whole team going down when the offense gets stopped and the defense gets scored on,” Stowers said. “That’s the biggest step in the maturation of a team is how you respond after adversity. We have to keep building that. We’ve built on that, but we just have to keep going up with that.” He’s right. KU has improved in that area in that once the dam broke against Texas Tech, there was no repairing it. This one was different. After falling behind 10-0 to KU, Texas Tech scored 54 consecutive points. Trailing 13-0 to the Jayhawks, OU scored 25 points in a row. Baby steps.

KU bounced off the canvas, cutting the deficit to six points, and then it grew to eight without any time coming off the clock because the extra-point attempt was returned for two points early in the fourth quarter. The defense played well, and so did the running game. The whole world knows why the Kansas losing streak continues to grow, so there was no point in Stowers biting his tongue. “We ran the ball, but you can’t be one-dimensional,” Stowers said. “It’s easy to load the box and stop a running team. You’ve got to be able to pass and run, because if you’re not accounting for the pass, you just load the box and stop the run. I can draw that defense up.” Up next: Baylor, a squad adept at passing, running, stopping the pass and stopping the run, the best team in the Big 12.


KANSAS COACH CHARLIE WEIS WATCHES as a challenged fumble is ruled in favor of Oklahoma during the fourth quarter.

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