Bourbon's Big Run Highlights Career Day

Oct. 2, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Perhaps when Brandon Bourbon looks back on the 2011 Homecoming game against Texas Tech, his 100-yard performance will be more memorable, but in the immediate aftermath of the 45-34 defeat to the Red Raiders, Bourbon was unaware of his accomplishment.

“The line was opening up some holes, and I was taking advantage of them. I didn’t even know I had that (100-yard game),” said Bourbon in a postgame interview with Nate Bukaty on the Jayhawk Radio Network.

While cracking the century mark didn’t stand out in Bourbon’s mind, he vividly remembered his first carry of the game that resulted in a career-long 51-yard rush and his first collegiate touchdown.

“It was a counter play. The guard pulled around and kicked the end out. James Sims got up inside on the linebacker, and I saw a big seam. I got excited and took off. I saw a safety coming (around the 30-yard line). I gave him a stiff-arm, and there was nothing but green grass. It’s an amazing feeling (scoring my first career touchdown).”

Sophomore quarterback Jordan Webb had one of the best views of the play, watching it unfold from behind after handing the ball off. Webb said he was glad to see Bourbon display some of his ability to the crowd at Memorial Stadium, especially the stiff-arm of the last defender.

“Whenever you see Brandon run the ball, he’s relentless with it. He’ll run people over,” said Webb. “He made a great play and an awesome stiff-arm, and it’s exciting to see that out of him. We haven’t got to see a whole bunch of him this year, but we really feel like he’s going to be a great player for us.”

Bourbon’s 51-yard touchdown run gave Kansas a 13-0 lead in the first quarter and highlighted a game in which the redshirt freshman from Potosi, Mo., finished with 101 yards on 10 carries. Bourbon, who only had 11 carries in the first three games combined, received his largest workload of the season when he had to take the place of freshman Darrian Miller, who left the game after the first Jayhawk possession with a tweaked hamstring.

“I was ready to go. I had been preparing like I was going to play every game this season, so it wasn’t a shock to me that I got to go in there and play,” said Bourbon, who redshirted last season after coming in as the Missouri 3A Player of the Year his senior season of high school.

“I wasn’t really expecting to play as much as I did, but I still had confidence that I would be able to play if the circumstances arose that I needed to go out there.”

Kansas head football coach Turner Gill echoed the sentiments of Bourbon being prepared to make an impact when his number was called.

“Bourbon was called upon today. He rose to the occasion and did well,” said Gill. “He’s a guy we feel very good about. He showed his skills being a physical runner. He also showed his speed and made some big plays for us. It was great to see that.”

Fellow running back James Sims, whose block of Texas Tech linebacker Sam Equavoen helped spring Bourbon loose on his 51-yard touchdown, said Bourbon’s performance was a direct result of his preparation leading up to each game.

“We practice that play 40 times during the week. It’s all about execution,” said Sims about the touchdown run. “Brandon’s performance was amazing. He’s a hard worker, and I’m glad he got the opportunity to play and show what he can do. He works hard in practice. That’s all you can ask for, and it showed on the field today.”

For the season, Bourbon has 21 carries for 156 yards and one touchdown. He will have a chance to increase those numbers when the Jayhawks travel to No. 5 Oklahoma State next Saturday at 2:30 p.m.