Kansas Edged By Texas Tech, 34-21
LUBBOCK, Texas – Senior linebacker Ben Heeney bolstered the defensive attack with a career-high and 2014 Big 12 Conference best 21 tackles as the Kansas football team fell to Texas Tech, 34-21, at Jones AT&T Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Heeney’s defensive show began with 10 stops in the first quarter and ended with the most tackles by a Jayhawk since Nov. 22, 1979, when LeRoy Irvin, Sr., accomplished the same feat against Missouri.
The senior captain stole the spotlight with an unprecedented defensive effort that included a 37-yard interception return to set the table for Kansas to tack on its first points of the game late in the second quarter as the squad trailed 17-0 at that point.
The game’s next two closest tacklers to Heeney were TTU’s Austin Stewart and Pete Robertson, who each tallied nine stops in the contest.
The Jayhawk (2-5, 0-4) aerial attack scored the majority of the points against Texas Tech (3-4, 1-3) on the day, with junior quarterback Michael Cummings involved in all three KU touchdowns. Cummings threw for a career-best two scores and rushed for another, finishing the game 20-of-32 for 235 yards and an interception.
Senior tight end Jimmay Mundine and senior wide receiver Justin McCay were on the receiving end of those touchdown passes, with Mundine hauling in a career-best seven receptions for 82 yards, six yards shy of his career mark set a week ago against Oklahoma State.
Much like last week, it was a tale of two halves for the Jayhawk offense as the unit erupted to score the majority of its points in the second half, with 14 of them off TTU turnovers.
The Red Raiders’ offensive dominance showed up throughout much of the first half scoring 17-unanswered points, thanks to a 34-yard field goal by kicker Ryan Bustin and two Davis Webb touchdown passes of 13 and eight yards, respectively. Webb finished the game 28-of-44 with 288 yards and an interception.
However, Heeney swiped the momentum right away from TTU with an unprecedented defensive effort in the half that included 14 tackles and an interception.
With 2:31 to play in the second quarter, Heeney picked off the fourth pass of his career and returned it 37 yards to the Texas Tech 39-yard line to give Kansas prime field position to break its second-quarter scoreless drought and the 17-unanswered points scored by TTU.
Seven plays and 39 yards later, Cummings connected with McCay for a 16-yard touchdown pass, the first points scored in the second quarter all season by the KU, to cut the Jayhawk’s deficit to 10 points, 17-7, to end of the half.
Heeney led all tacklers through the first two periods with 14 stops, just one shy of his then career-best mark of 15, while the next closest tackler, teammate Cassius Sendish, tallied just five total.
Faced with a 13-point deficit early in the second half, senior BUCK Michael Reynolds picked up where he left off last week and sacked Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb to force a fumble with 9:17 left to play in the third quarter.
Two plays and 27 yards later, Cummings connected with Mundine for a 21-yard touchdown reception to pull within six of the Red Raiders, 20-14.
TTU answered back with another touchdown, before Kansas ended the third period with its final score to cut the Texas Tech lead back down to six, 27-21. Cummings scored that final touchdown on the ground, thanks to a one-yard effort put forth by the junior with three seconds remaining in the quarter.
A fourth quarter fumble by freshman running back Corey Avery and another TTU touchdown ended the hopes of a KU comeback, as Kansas fell, 34-21.
The Jayhawks return home to Lawrence to take advantage of their second bye week of the 2014 season, before traveling back to Texas to take on Baylor, Saturday, Nov. 1 in the brand new McLane Stadium. Game time and broadcast schedule for the game against the Bears will be revealed Monday morning.
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