Kansas Looks to Carry Winning Momentum into Ames
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A week after tasting victory in Big 12 Conference play for the first time since 2010, Kansas looks kick dust off another vintage streak when the Jayhawks travel to Iowa State looking for their first road win in league play since 2008. Saturday’s contest at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa, will kickoff at 7 p.m. and be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1.
Kansas (3-7, 1-6 Big 12) used 211 yards and three touchdowns from senior HB James Sims to topple West Virgina and a 27-game winless streak in conference games, and will look to take another step forward in the program’s rebuild under Charlie Weis in the team’s final road game of the 2013 season. Ames was the site of Kansas’ last Big 12 road win, a 35-33 shootout on Oct. 4, 2008 – KU’s last winning season.
Iowa State (1-9, 0-7), losers of seven straight, all in Big 12 Conference play, will look to take its turn as the cantankerous host and bounce itself from the bottom of the league’s leaderboard on ISU’s Senior Day. The Cyclones have lost five games by 10 points or less, including three Big 12 contests, and played TCU to a, 21-17, defeat two weeks ago at home.
Kansas leads the all-time series against Iowa State 49-37-6, which includes a slight 22-21-3 edge in games played in Ames.
This Day In Kansas Football History
Kansas has an even record in games played on Nov. 23, with a combined 7-7-1 mark throughout history. In those 15 contests, Kansas has matched up with Missouri on 12 occasions. Iowa State is one of the three opponents other than Missouri to have played Kansas on this date, with the Cyclones winning 21-12 in 1935. Nov. 23 marks the best single-game rushing effort in Kansas history and one of the top performances ever by a collegiate tailback as Tony Sands rumbled for 396 yards against Missouri on this date in 1991. Sands’ 58 carries still stands as an NCAA record for rushing attempts in one game. The effort gave Kansas its first winning season in 10 years. Maurice Douglas ran wild on Nov. 23 just one year later, rushing for 180 yards in his senior campaign against Missouri in 1992.
Kansas-Iowa State Connections
The Jayhawks have one player from the state of Iowa on their roster, junior OL Mike Smithburg. Smithburg hails from Fairfield, Iowa in the state’s southeast quadrant, nearly 150 miles from Ames. Smithburg and Kansas S Isaiah Johnson both played at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on the state’s western border with Nebraska. Six Cyclones also played at Iowa Western Community College, with fellow Reivers including DB Jansen Watson, RB Aaron Wimberly, DL Rodney Coe, LB Rob Meyers, DB Tysen Streeter and DL Tyler Harmeyer. ISU DB Jacques Washington teamed up with KU OL Gavin Howard at Owasso HS (Owasso, Okla.). ISU starting TE E.J. Bibbs was a teammate of Kansas starting S Cassius Sendish at Arizona Western Community College last year.
James Honored for ‘Sims’Sational Effort
Kansas senior HB James Sims earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors from the league, Athlon Sports and ESPN as he set a new career-best with 211 rushing yards in Kansas’ win over West Virginia. His previous career-high was 176 yards against Texas in 2012. He became the first Jayhawk to run for 200 or more yards in a game since Tony Pierson at Texas Tech last season, and logged the most rushing yards by a Kansas player since Reggie Duncan ran for 227 yards against Texas Tech during the 2001 season. The 211 yards was the 15th-best rushing effort in Kansas history and the second most by a Big 12 player in 2013. Amongst his 211 rushing yards, Sims ran for the longest rush of the season by Jayhawk twice in the second quarter. His first was a 62-yard run and the second was a 68-yard rush for a touchdown, both of which topped Tony Pierson’s 50-yard rush against Oklahoma State last week. Sim’s 68-yard rush was the longest of his career, surpassing his previous career long of 64 yards against Texas in 2012. Sims rushed for three touchdowns in guiding the Jayhawks to their first Big 12 win in more than three seasons. The last time a Jayhawk ran in three touchdowns in a single game was Sims in 2010 against Colorado, KU’s last conference victory prior to Saturday’s win over West Virginia. Sims now has 34 career rushing touchdowns and is seven away from tying the Kansas all-time record of 41 rushing touchdowns set by June Henley from 1993-96.
Mr. Consistency still wracking up yards
With 914 yards this season, Sims has collected more than 700 yards in each of his four seasons at KU and is again among the Big 12’s leading rushers. Since the start of his freshman season in 2010, no Big 12 running back has rushed for more yards. Sims needs 86 yards to become the first Kansas player ever to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons and just the second Jayhawk to surpass 1,000 yards in two different seasons.
Big 12 Leading Rushers Since the Start of 2010
- James Sims (Kansas) – 3,396
- Joseph Randle (Oklahoma St.) – 3,085
- John Hubert (K-State) – 2,673
- Collin Klein (K-State) – 2,493
- Cyrus Gray (Texas A&M) – 2,178
What a Man, What a Man, What a Mighty Goodman
Sophomore BUCK Ben Goodman had a game to remember against West Virginia as he picked up his first-career interception in the Kansas win. Goodman returned the interception for 54 yards giving Kansas the ball on WVU’s 14 yard line, setting up KU’s first score of the second half and halting what was a promising Mountaineer drive. Goodman also stuffed a potential scoring opportunity for WVU late in the first half, picking up his first-career blocked field goal. Goodman recorded a career-best six tackles against West Virginia, besting his previous career-high of five tackles. Included in his career-high six stops were 2.0 TFLs for a loss of five yards and one sack for a loss of four yards.
West Virginia made its best effort to avoid Kansas’ leading tackler, junior LB Ben Heeney, in Saturday’s contest but junior S Cassius Sendish was more than up to the challenge with an increased work load. Sendish tied a career-high with 11 tackles, including 10 solo stops. The junior college transfer from Waldorf, Md., joined Heeney as the only players to record double-figure solo tackles this season. Sendish is fourth among Jayhawks with 56 total tackles.
Heeney Making up for Lost Time
It didn’t take long for Heeney to return to form after missing two games with an injury. Despite chasing plays to the opposite side of the field most of the day against West Virginia, Heeney found a way to impact the game with four tackles, including a tackle-for-loss and an interception. His third-career pick, all this season, in the third quarter, was nearly returned for a touchdown and set up a 1-yard TD run by Brandon Bourbon on the ensuing play. Heeney is tied for the team lead with 66 tackles this season, including 10.0 for loss, and ranks 22nd in the country with 5.6 solo tackles per game. Heeney’s 1.3 tackels for loss per game rank 27th in the country. The Hutchinson, Kan., native burst onto the scene in 2012 with 112 tackles in his first season as a starter for the Jayhawks. His tally included 66 solo stops and he led KU with 12.0 tackles-for-loss with one sack. Heeney earned second team All-Big 12 honors following the 2012 season from the conference coaches, the Associated Press and Phil Steele Magazine. He was listed as a preseason first team All-Big 12 member entering the 2013 season by Athlon, Lindy’s and The Sporting News. Additionally, Heeney was named to the College Football Performance Awards watch list for the top linebacker in the NCAA.
Still Our Guy
Junior P Trevor Pardula may not be a semi-finalist for the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the nation’s top punter, but the snubbing hasn’t kept the KU specialist from churning out long, meaningful kicks for the Jayhawks. A week after earning College Football Performance Awards honorable mention against Oklahoma State, Pardula placed two more punts inside the 20, and blasted a 54-yard punt that was muffed and returned for a loss of 15 yards. Pardula’s 44.3 yards per punt this season are 12th in the nation and second in the Big 12 (using NCAA stats minimums).
Shepherd Making an Impact in Kick Return Game
Kansas junior CB/KR JaCorey Shepherd only got one chance to return a kickoff against West Virginia but still ranks among the Big 12 and NCAA leaders with 26.3 yards per return. Shepherd is third in the league and 25th in the nation in kick return average, with his best game coming two weeks ago at Oklahoma State. Against the Cowboys, Shepherd recorded a career-long 69 yard kickoff return and posted KU’s fifth-best, single-game return total with 169 kick return yards. This season, Shepherd has returned 17 kicks for a total of 447 yards and his return average is the highest for a Jayhawk (meeting qualifying minimums) since Marcus Herford averaged a school-record 28.6 yards per kick return (minimum 25 returns) in 2007.
He’s Adjusting Just Fine
Isaiah Johnson started his collegiate career as a wide receiver at Western Carolina and caught one pass against Georgia Tech before suffering a season-ending injury. The sophomore is still catching passes from quarterbacks, except now the KU safety is wearing the opposite uniform. Johnson leads the Jayhawks with four interceptions, including a two-interception performance at Texas. That total is the most for a Jayhawk in a single season since Darrell Stuckey – now a member of the San Diego Chargers – picked off five passes in 2008. Johnson, a Cary, N.C., native, is tied for the team lead with 66 tackles, having started every game at safety for KU. His 0.4 interceptions per game are second the Big 12 Conference and 22nd nationally. Johnson, who played both ways in high school, switched to defense for spring ball at WCU in 2012 before logging eight interceptions as a redshirt freshman at Iowa Western Community College last year.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
Kansas junior DB JaCorey Shepherd has made breaking up look easy – passes anyway. Through 10 games the former wide receiver has 12 break-ups and the first two interceptions of his career. Shepherd is second in the Big 12 and 11th nationally with 1.4 passes defended per game.
Getting after the Quarterback
Kansas logged two more sacks against West Virginia to bring the team’s season total to 18. That number is six more than last season’s total (12) and the most since the 2009 team had 30 sacks. Junior BUCK Michael Reynolds leads the defense with 5.5 sacks, the most for a Jayhawk since the 2009 season, when Jake Laptad (6.5), current defensive graduate assistant Max Onyegbule (6.0) and Jeff Wheeler (5.5) led the Jayhawks in sacks. Reynolds is fifth in the Big 12 Conference with 0.6 sacks per game.
First Time Charmers
The Jayhawks rank 33rd nationally and third in the Big 12 Conference with 12 interceptions, reaching double-digits for the second-consecutive season after a high of eight in the previous three seasons. Not bad for a bunch of kids who had never intercepted a pass before. All five players responsible for the aerial takeaways intercepted their first pass in a KU uniform.
A Heaps of Yards
Kansas junior QB Jake Heaps needs 28 yards to reach 5,000 for his career, which includes two seasons at BYU and nine games as the signal caller for the Jayhawks. For perspective purposes, only four quarterbacks in KU history have thrown for more than 5,000 yards: Todd Reesing (11,194), Frank Seurer (6,410), Kelly Donohoe (5,382) and David Jaynes (5,132). In his career, Heaps has completed 470-of-848 passes for 4,972 yards, including 1,204 at Kansas, and has thrown for 31 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.
- QB Jake Heaps threw a touchdown in each of the first seven games this season, the longest streak by a KU quarterback since Todd Reesing ended a three-year, 24-game TD streak in week seven of the 2009 season.
- Kansas recorded an interception in each of the first six games of the season, including two against Rice and TCU, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since the Jayhawks logged an interception in six consecutive games near the end of the 2002 season. Including an interception in last season’s finale, the Jayhawks had interceptions in seven consecutive games, the team’s longest streak since picking off a pass in eight straight games during the 1995 season.
- WR Josh Ford blocked his second punt of the season against Oklahoma (10/19) after also blocking a kick in the season opener against South Dakota. Ford’s two blocks are the most by a Jayhawk since Ronnie Amadi blocked two punts during the 2005 campaign. Ford has made a significant impact on special teams with three career blocked kicks in 20 games.
- TE Jimmay Mundine caught a touchdown pass in four straight games – LA Tech, Texas Tech, TCU, Oklahoma – the longest streak for a Jayhawk since Kerry Meier’s four-game streak in 2009.
- CB JaCorey Shepherd earned honorable mention by the College Football Performance Awards (10/14) after he herded in his first career interception when he picked off TCU’s Trevone Boykin and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown. Shepherd followed that up with a forced fumble on the very next TCU offensive play.
- Texas Tech scored 38 of its 54 total points on drives that started at the 50 or inside KU territory, including four drives of 16 yards or less.
- Kansas had three sacks in each of the first three games this season. That number tied the team’s single-game high from the last two seasons. The last time Kansas logged three or more sacks in three consecutive games was 2009, during a season-opening stretch against Northern Colorado (3 sacks), UTEP (6 sacks) and Duke (5 sacks).
- QB Jake Heaps completed a career-high 28 passes against Louisiana Tech (9/21), five more than he had completed in the first two games combined. He also threw for 279 yards – the third-highest total in his career, which includes two seasons at BYU.
- K Matthew Wyman booted a walk-off, 52-yarder to lift Kansas over Louisiana Tech (9/21). The field goal was the longest by a Jayhawk since 2009 and marked the first time Kansas has won on the final play of the game since 2005. For his efforts, Wyman was named one of three Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award “Stars of the Week”.
- P/K Trevor Pardula set a new Kansas record for punting average in a game after averaging 57.6 yards on five punts agaisnt Louisiana Tech. Additionally, three of his five punts were downed inside the 20. Pardula broke his previous career-long punt twice against LA Tech, including a 78-yard kick.
- K Matthew Wyman nailed a 45-yard field goal in the season opener – the longest by a Jayhawk kicker since Jacob Branstetter’s 46-yard make at Kansas State on Nov. 7, 2009.
- Kansas went without a TD catch from a wide receiver throughout the 2012 season, but QB Jake Heaps and WR Justin McCay ended that streak in the 2013 season-opener against South Dakota with a five-yard connection in the second quarter.
- QB Jake Heaps won his Kansas debut, becoming the seventh Jayhawk QB to lead his team to victory in 16 total debuts since 2000. Previous Jayhawk quarterbacks to win their debut in the last 12 years include Dayne Crist (2012), Jordan Webb (2011), Todd Reesing (2007), Kerry Meier (2006), Brian Luke (2004) and Zach Dyer (2001).
- QB Jake Heaps had good reason to be raring to go as his first start at Kansas on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, came 658 days after his last collegiate start on November 19, 2011 as BYU’s starting quarterback. A lot can happen in 94 weeks, including birthing an elephant, which at roughly 645 days counts as the longest gestational period for any mammal.
- Kansas entered the 2013 campaign looking to replace three veteran offensive linemen who combined to start 109 games along the offensive front. In comparison, Kansas’ sum total of starts for every offensive lineman on the 2013 roster was 25, or 27 if counting Pat Lewandowski’s two starts at defensive tackle.
- RB James Sims became the 11th player in program history to surpass the 1,000 yard mark in a season during the 2012 campaign, needing just eight games to get there. The 1,000-yard plateau has been reached a total of 13 times, including two 1,000+ efforts by Tony Sands (1989, ’91) and June Henley (1993, ’96). This year, Sims will look to join that exclusive two-man club and become the first Jayhawk to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. Sims’ total rushing yardage last season (1,013) was the 13th-best, single-season effort and his 112.6 yards per game ranked as the fifth-best per game mark in KU history.
The Kansas Jayhawks will again feature one of the most talented scout team offenses in the country with quarterback transfer T.J. Millweard (UCLA) and wide receiver transfer Nick Harwell (Miami (Ohio)) sitting out due to NCAA transfer residency requirements. KU starters Jake Heaps and Justin McCay built repoire and tortured the first team defense while running the scout team last season. Millweard was slated to be the back-up in Westwood after redshirting as a freshman in 2012. The former top-100 Texas recruit from Colleyville, Texas, will be a redshirt sophomore in 2014 and have three seasons of eligibility remaining. Harwell, a 2011 Biletnikoff Award Watch List member and All-MAC First Team selection, brings an impressive resume to Kansas with 229 career receptions, 3,166 yards and 23 receiving touchdowns over three seasons with the Redhawks. The Missouri City, Texas native will have one year of eligibility remaining for next season.
Junior QB Jake Heaps, junior LB Ben Heeney, senior HB James Sims and junior DL Keon Stowers were selected by their peers as the 2013 team captains, while nine other players were appointed as members of the team leadership council. Kansas conducted a players vote on August 18 during fall camp. Members of the newly created leadership council include Jimmay Mundine,Christian Matthews, Tony Pierson, Pat Lewandowski, Keba Agostinho, Cassius Sendish, Dexter Linton, Darius Willis and Blake Jablonski.