Jayhawks Improve to 2-0 with 45-42 Thriller Against Northern Illinois
Sept. 10, 2011
Beshears Enjoys Career Day in Jayhawks’ Win
LAWRENCE, Kan. –Facing a 4th-and-goal with 14 seconds remaining in the game, sophomore quarterback Jordan Webb completed a six-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver D.J. Beshears right at the goal line to give Kansas a thrilling 45-42 victory over Northern Illinois in front of 48,084 fans at Memorial Stadium Saturday night.
With the win, Kansas improved to 2-0 on the season, posting victories in back-to-back games for the first time in the head coach Turner Gill era. Northern Illinois fell to 1-1 on the season.
Webb threw for a career-high 281 yards and three touchdowns in the victory, while Beshears recorded career highs in receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns and kickoff return yards. Beshears finished the game with seven catches for 70 yards with two touchdowns while adding 197 yards on seven kickoff returns and an 18-yard rush for 285 all-purpose yards. Beshears not only completed the game-winning drive, but he initially set it up with a 51-yard kickoff return down the left sideline to begin the possession at NIU’s 47-yard line.
Kansas erased an early 21-7 deficit by scoring on its final two possessions of the first half to tie the game at 21 at the break. From that point, the contest became a back-and-forth affair. Each team scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, tying the game at 28 and 35 points each. For the contest, there were four different ties and four lead changes.
Northern Illinois opened the second half with a touchdown drive that went 66 yards in less than two minutes and was capped off by a 26-yard run by senior quarterback Chandler Harnish, but KU responded with a quick score of their own on a seven-play, 75-yard drive that only took 2:21. Sims finished the drive with an eight-yard run to tie the score at 28.
Kansas then took a 35-28 lead on its next possession with a long, sustained drive that took 5:45 to complete, covering 72 yards on 14 plays. Sims punched it over the goal line from the one-yard line for his second touchdown of the game and the 10th rushing touchdown of his career. Sims finished the game with 110 yards on the ground, marking his second-straight game with more than 100 rushing yards and at least one score. KU moved to 5-0 all-time when Sims eclipses 100 yards.
Kansas displayed a very balanced offensive attack throughout the game with 253 rushing yards and 281 yards passing. KU’s 534 yards of offense were the most in the Turner Gill era.
Webb had a career day, completing 21 of his 30 passes. It marked the third time in his career that Webb had three touchdown passes. In addition to the game-winning score, Webb completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Beshears for the first score of the game and a 36-yard strike to junior wide receiver Kale Pick with 17 seconds remaining in the first half to tie the score at 21.
Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish had a great game in the Huskies defeat. He went 27-for-33 passing for 315 yards and two touchdowns. Harnish also posted a team-high 89 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns to account 404 of the team’s 462 total yards and five of their six touchdowns.
Kansas will play its first road game of the season next Saturday, Sept. 17, when it travels to Georgia Tech to play the Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. The game, which will be televised on FSN, is scheduled to kickoff at 11:30 a.m. (Central).