Red Raiders Hand Jayhawks Homecoming Defeat, 54-16

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas used a quick start on Homecoming to give No. 20 Texas Tech its first deficit of the season, but the Red Raiders scored 54 unanswered points over the final three quarters while rolling to a 54-16 win over the Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium Saturday.

Kansas (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) jumped out to a 10-0 lead after the first quarter and was tied with Texas Tech (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) past the midpoint of the second quarter, but a failed fake punt attempt deep inside KU territory set up a short scoring drive and sparked the Red Raiders. Texas Tech’s offense ran 100 plays and tallied 518 yards by the game’s end, while limiting Kansas to 273 yards after the Jayhawks rolled up 133 yards in the first quarter.

TTU freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 368 yards before leaving the game in the second half with an injury. Red Raider wide receiver Eric Ward logged a game-high 122 yards, outpacing KU’s Tony Pierson, who caught six passes for a career-best 118 yards. KU’s Ben Heeney and Isaiah Johnson tied for the game-high with 12 tackles. After rushing for 290 yards against the Red Raiders a season ago, Kansas was limited to just 53 yards in this year’s contest.

KU’s defense was tough early, halting Texas Tech’s opening drive when Heeney intercepted his second career pass on the 50. Five plays and 25 yards later, Matthew Wyman drilled a 36-yard field goal to give the Jayhawks their first points in the first quarter this season. As a result, the undefeated Red Raiders found themselves in a deficit for the first time in the first quarter.

Kansas defense came up huge on the ensuing Texas Tech possession, forcing a three-and-out thanks to a Heeney tackle and pass breakups by Ty McKinney and Dexter McDonald.

After the Red Raiders’ punt, KU took the ball at the at its own 21-yard line to setup another scoring drive. Heaps connected with Tony Pierson for 25 yards on third down to extend the drive. On the following play, Heaps hit Jimmay Mundine for 25 yards for his second touchdown of the season and fifth of his career, extending the Jayhawks lead to 10-0.

Late in the first quarter, Texas Tech strung together a 73-yard drive after a couple of crucial third-down pickups. However, the Kansas defense showed another strong performance in the red zone, forcing TTU to attempt a 32-yard field goal. Ryan Bustin’s attempt from the left hash sailed wide ride to preserve the first-quarter shutout for the Jayhawks, a first since Nov. 26, 2011, when KU and Missouri went scoreless in the first quarter.

Pardula opened the second quarter with a 47-yard punt to the Texas Tech 23 yard line. The Red Raiders controlled the pace of the first five minutes with its no-huddle offense, driving the ball 71 yards into KU territory. With a first-and-goal from the Kansas eight, the Jayhawk defense once again mustered a stop on third down, forcing Bustin to attempt another field goal, this one a make from 23 yards.

Texas Tech scored 20 unanswered points, taking a 10-point lead into the break. Offensively, Heaps threw for 139 yards and a touchdown in the first half, while Pierson had five receptions for 79 yards. Ben Heeney led all defensive statistical categories with 11 tackles and an interception.

TTU’s opening kickoff of the second half sailed out of bounds to give KU the ball on its own 35-yard line. However, on the first play of the half for KU, Heaps’ pass bounced way from Pierson and was intercepted by J.J. Gaines, who returned it 36 yards to the KU eight-yard line. DeAndre Washington ran the ball into the endzone on the following play to extend the Red Raiders’ lead to 27-10.

Texas Tech held KU to a three-and-out, getting the ball back on their own 38-yard line after a Pardula 42-yard punt. The Red Raiders drove 51 yards thanks to a 12-yard pickup by Ward to set up the Bustin 28-yard field goal and putting TTU on top 30-10.

After a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive by TTU, made it 37-10, Kansas turned to the air when Heaps connected with Pierson for 39-yards for Pierson’s first 100-yard receiving game of his career. However, after first-and-goal from the nine-yard line, KU failed to punch it in on four-straight attempts, turning the ball over on downs.

TTU scored 17 more points, before Kansas’ Michael Cummings connected with Andrew Turzilli for a 28-yard touchdown pass, his first of the season, and broke the KU scoreless drought from the first quarter.

Saturday’s game marked the start of Big 12 Conference play for the Jayhawks and Kansas continues its conference slate next weekend when the team travels to Fort Worth, Texas, to take on TCU. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m., and the game will be televised on FSN. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.

Game Notes
Texas Tech improved to 14-1 in the all-time series and remained a perfect 8-0 in Lawrence. 

KANSAS CAPTAINS: Jake Heaps(QB), Ben Heeney (LB), James Sims (RB), Keon Stowers (DE)



TEAM NOTES*Texas Tech won the toss and elected to receive in the first half and defend the south endzone.*Kansas has stopped every 2013 opponent on the opening drive, limiting opposing teams to three first downs on opening drives through four games.*Kansas held Texas Tech scoreless through the first 15 minutess of the game, a first since Nov. 26, 2011 when the Jayhawks shutout Missouri in the opening period. A failed Red Raider field goal attempt with 1:01 remaining in the first quarter preserved the shutout. Entering Saturday’s match up, the Red Raiders averaged 11.0 points per first quarter and had been limited to three points twice in the first four games. *For the third-straight game the KU defense recorded seven or more pass breakups. Kansas batted down nine pass break-ups against Texas Tech, tying for the most this season. KU also recorded nine pass break-ups against Rice on Sept. 14. *Kansas’ 53 rushing yards was the fewest in a game since the Jayhawks rushed for (-2) yards at Texas on Oct. 29, 2011. 

OFFENSIVE NOTES*Freshman Matthew Wyman’s 36-yard field marked the first KU points scored in the first quarter and also the first time the Red Raiders trailed in 2013. It was also the first time that Kansas had scored on an opening drive this season.*Junior Jake Heaps connected with junior Jimmay Mundine for a 25-yard touchdown pass giving the Jayhawks a 10-0 lead. The catch was the second touchdown pass caught by Mundine in 2013 and fifth of his career. Heaps capped the scoring drive with back-to-back, 25-yard completions. *Junior Connor Embree recorded his first career reception, a seven-yard throw from Heaps in the second quarter.*Junior Tony Pierson recorded his first 100-yard receiving game Saturday. He had a career-best 118 yards, averaging 19.7 per catch. Pierson’s longest catch of the day was for 39 yards, after which, he left the game due to injury.*Junior Andrew Turzilli scored his first touchdown of 2013 after he connected with Michael Cummings on 28-yard pass. The touchdown reception was the second of Turzilli’s career. It was also the first touchdown pass of the year for Cummings and fourth of his career.

DEFENSIVE NOTES *Junior Ben Heeney recorded ended the Red Raiders’ opening drive with an interception – the second of the season and of Heeney’s career.*Entering today’s game, Heeney led the Big 12 with 10.7 tackles per game. At halftime, Heeney had recorded 11 tackles and finished the game tied for the game-high with 12 tackles.*Four Jayhawks tied or set a new career-high in tackles against the Red Raiders. Sophomore safety Isaiah Johnson tallied a new career best with his team-high 12 tackles, while junior safety Cassius Sendish also recorded a career-high 11 tackles. Freshman linebacker Courtney Arnick collected a career-high nine tackles Saturday afternoon and sophomore linebacker Ben Goodman tied his career-high of five tackles for the third time this season.  *Junior JaCorey Shepherd defended three passes tying his career-high, which was set earlier this season at Rice.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES*JaCorey Sheperd averaged a career-high 29.0 yards per return on three kick returns. He totaled 87 yards and his longest of the day was a 35-yard return. 

On how the game turned around so quickly:
“Well it was a combination of things. First of all, us going three and out back-to-back-to-back series in the second quarter had a lot to do to attribute to that. At halftime, I don’t know the exact number, but their offense ran over 50 plays and our offense ran 30 plays so we were off to a fast start, but our defense was getting worn out because they were on the field the whole time. Eventually something bad is going to end up happening.”

On the unsuccessful fake punt:
“It was based off of if something happened and you had to take it, and he got caught in limbo. He got caught in that gray area where really, in hindsight, he wouldn’t do it. But, if he had a certain look, he was capable, he was able to do that.”

On Tony Pierson’s injury after his big run:
“I think he landed on the track, I don’t know that, that’s what my kids said to me. When I ran over there, his eyes weren’t really opened yet. He was breathing, but his eyes weren’t open yet. The trainers and doctors were all over it. Then he started talking, then he started moving and he was actually moving around okay. He went to the locker room and his head hurts. I’m sure that he took a good knock on the head and has a concussion probably. Probably (he) will miss some substantial time would be my guess.”

On bouncing back after the loss:
“One thing we’re going to do, we’re going to have to critically evaluate everything that happened. From coaching and play calling on one end, to performance on the other end. Then we’re going to have to go down to a nucleus of players that we believe will all give us the best chance at competing.”

On the way the offense opened the game:
“We came out swinging and we were executing and making plays. It was fun to come out like that. We had a great start and needed to keep it going from that point on.”

On the inconsistency on the offense:
“After the mistakes we just couldn’t get any drives mounted. It was the little mistakes that were just killing our drives and you can’t win football games doing those things.”

On the offense struggling to give the defense breaks:
“We weren’t helping out the defense with our three and outs. We were putting pressure on our defense and if you compared the amount of plays we were on the field to our defense they would have a lot more. You have to play complimentary football. The offense can’t just score a lot of points you have to give your defense a breather and the defenses job is to get the ball in offenses hands. Our defense did a great job of getting us the ball, but after the first quarter on offense we just didn’t execute.”

On signs of games being winnable and taking the next step:
“We’re trying to take that next step every single week. When we don’t take that step it’s very frustrating. It’s tough to lose in this fashion and as a competitor it’ll eat at you. It’s only week four of our season though and we’re going to continue to get better and practice and eventually get this thing rolling.”

On the great start to the game:
“There was so much energy on the sideline. We need to find a way to keep this energy going throughout the game, we were executing and it made things a lot smoother, but as the day went on we played sloppier and we know we’re better than that.”

On the offensive substitutions and lack of consistency:
“There was some switching of the quarterback and other positions, but it was just to give us the best chance of winning out there.”

On it being tough to watch the defense stay on the field:
“Oh yea, it’s very tough just because we expect to be able to hold onto the ball and put points up and for the most part run the ball if we can’t throw the ball. Those are things we haven’t been able to do and it’s tough when it’s third and one or third and three it’s tough when you can’t get those yards and you have to put the defense back out there.”

On the lack of a run game today
“It’s puzzling so far but it’s been a guy who has missed a blocking assignment or something small that makes it look way worse.”

On the momentum shift:
“We’ve got to quit shooting ourselves in the foot, penalties and we go out and we have all the momentum in the world and a couple plays just turned that to nothing.”

On Texas Tech running 100 plays in the game:
“We can’t go pointing fingers at the offense, we’ve got to be able to take responsibility on defense to keep them out of the end zone. If they don’t get in the end zone they can’t win. We’ve got to do our part.”

On the adjustments Texas Tech made:
“They started running the ball a little more than we expected. At one point we had seven DB’s (defensive backs) on the field and they switched it up and started running it a lot, so we had to adjust to that but we didn’t adjust to it fast enough to slow down that third quarter. That was one of the worst third quarters we could possibly have.”

On Texas Tech changing up its offense:
“They started doing zone-read a little bit more. We were solid against the pass in the first quarter, then they switched it up on us.”

On the importance of getting off the field on third down:
“It’s hard; you obviously don’t want to put yourself in those kind of positions.”

On the fake punt:
“Things happen. The ball’s not going to roll your way every time that you get a chance, so you have to go out there and deal with it. I think we did well, we just have to regroup and come back next week. “

On the momentum going Texas Tech’s way:
“You can’t let anything break you, no matter what the scoreboard says, no matter what the fans do – whether (they) want to stay or the fans want to leave, you’ve got to keep fighting. The way I look at it is like a boxer: you box 12 rounds, you’re not going to win every round, but you have to keep fighting every round; it’s just like a football season, you’ve got 12 games and you have to come back every round and every game.”

On moving forward with the season:
“I’ve got a short memory and that’s something that you want to try and put on the team. You can’t let little things, turnovers or anything, you can’t let it dwell (for) the rest of the game or on the team’s demeanor as a whole.”

TEXAS TECH HEAD COACH KLIFF KINGSBURYOn if KU surprised him with its passing game:
“No, I thought they had a good plan with that empty package they had, getting it out of his (QB Jake Heaps) hand quick with all the pressure we’re bringing and they moved the ball well early. They had some tough breaks and bad snaps and an interception. But I thought it was a good plan.”

On the Texas Tech defense:
“Last year they got embarrassed. They threw 90 yards, so that was a point for us all week. That’s what they were seeing on film. And they stepped up to the challenge.”

On what adjustments he made after Kansas’ lead in the first quarter:
“Really no adjustments; I thought they settled in to find the guys, (the) O-line played good the whole day, early we obviously forced one interception and missed a couple easy ones.  They had a good plan too, they came out with some things locked down but I thought our offense did a good job not panicking, continued to make routine plays and things just snowballed for us.”

TTU’S ERIC WARD, SR., WROn why the Red Raiders get off to a slow start playing an early game in Lawrence:“Sometimes it just takes a while to get started, because you’re just waking up, you’ve got an early wake-up call. Just getting started is the hardest part, but when we get in our groove and get things going then we’re on a roll.”

On whether they thought about the game from last year (against KU) at all: “No, not really. That is in the past. I just keep moving forward and just make a play every down and opportunity I get. I leave the past in the past.”

On how much the team talked about this week:“Every time we walk into the locker room we just let it be known. Things were posted about what they were saying and so we just focused on it the past two weeks, including the bye week and came out here and just put on a show.”

TTU’s WILL SMITH, SR., LBOn if he was surprised with how much Kansas passed early:“Not at all. After we stopped the run pretty quickly, that was the next best thing for them to try and do. They got after us a little bit, but we made some changes and corrected ourselves.”

On how it feels shutting Kansas down on the ground this year after what happened last year:“You know, it feels great. That was one of the things we were harping on. This is not the same defense as last year, so let’s let that be known pretty early and I feel like we did a good job with that.”

On if it was nice that Kansas didn’t run the option as much as last year:“Yeah, that was pretty nice. I saw they went to it a couple times, but we stopped it pretty quickly. We didn’t let it get on us like we did last year, so I felt we did a pretty good job with that.”