K-State's Showdown Start Sinks Kansas, 31-10

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps didn’t take his first snap until the Jayhawks’ fourth drive and led the offense to 10-straight points to finish the second quarter, but Kansas State scored touchdowns on three-straight possessions prior to his arrival and picked off three of his second-half passes to spoil Kansas’ Senior Day and claim its fifth-straight Governor’s Cup with a 31-10 victory Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

In the loss, which dropped Kansas’ record to 3-9 for the season and 1-8 in Big 12 Conference play, Heaps sparked the offense by coming on in relief and throwing for 138 yards on 14-for-29 passing. Facing a fourth-and-two situation from the K-State 11-yardline with 3:56 left in the first half and trailing 21-0, Heaps completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jimmay Mundine, marking KU’s first scoring pass in five games. On the 7-play, 51-yard scoring drive, Heaps was 4-for-5 passing for 47 yards. Mundine finished the game with three catches for 27 yards. 

On the ensuing kickoff, Victor Simmons forced a fumble on the return that was recovered by Josh Ford giving KU possession at the K-State 42-yardline. Heaps led the Jayhawk offense 28 yards on nine plays before Ron Doherty bounced a 31-yard field goal attempt off the right upright and through, cutting the K-State lead, 21-10, at the half.

Kansas looked to be headed toward another score behind the arm of Heaps early in the third quarter, but a potential big-gain pass bounced in and out of the arms of Mundine and into the hands of K-State’s Dante Barnett. After Barnett’s 16-yard interception return, Waters led the Wildcats down the field for the final 38 yards capped off with a 15-yard touchdown run. K-State led, 28-10, with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter.

Barnett collected his second interception of the game and third of the season on the following Kansas drive. This time, Heaps tried to deliver a touch pass to Mundine between a pair of defenders as he crossed the plane of the endzone, but the throw came up short and fell into the hands of Barnett. The Jayhawks were unscathed on the scoreboard by this turnover, but Heap’s third interception of the game, this one to Dorrian Roberts, resulted in a 31-yard field goal by Ian Patterson for a 31-10 K-State lead. The pick was the fourth interception thrown by Kansas in the game and its sixth turnover with a pair of lost fumbles by senior running back James Sims. 

Despite the six KU turnovers, K-State only scored 17 points off the miscues. That scoring started when K-State’s Dylan Schellenberg put an end to Kansas’ second offensive drive of the game when he was the recipient of Montel Cozart’s second interception of the season. The Wildcats needed only three plays and 79 seconds to take a 7-0 lead when KU’s Michael Reynolds bit on Jake Water’s draw fake up the middle and completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Trujillo with 7:50 left in the first quarter. 

K-State (7-5, 5-4) needed 96 seconds on its next drive to push its lead to 14-0. KSU’s John Hubert was held to -1 yards on three carries on the team’s first two drives. However, on the third drive, Hubert rushed for 56 yards on three carries, including a 21-yard touchdown run with 42 seconds left in the first quarter. Hubert finished the game with a career-best 220 yards on 30 attempts. 

On their third-straight possession with a touchdown, the Wildcats took a 21-0 lead in 14 seconds when Water found fullback Glen Gronkowski on a delayed release up the middle for a 29-yard strike.

Kansas’ Justin McCay entered the game with four catches for 39 yards, but doubled his season output as Heaps’ favorite target with five grabs for 45 yards in the game. Sims finished his storied KU career with 22 carries for 82 yards rushing and finished with 3,592 yards on the ground. Junior linebacker Ben Heeney collected his sixth double-digit tackle effort of the season and posted a team-best 10 stops, including seven solo efforts. 

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Game Notes
K-State inched closer with the win, but Kansas leads the all-time series, 65-41-5.

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

FIRST-TIME STARTERS: Jordan Shelley-Smith (TE)

*K-State won the toss and deferred to the second half. Kansas received and defends the North end zone.
*Kansas’s three sacks against the Wildcats marks the fifth time this season the Jayhawks sacked the opposing quarterback three times in a game, the last against TCU (Oct. 12).
*The Jayhawks set a new season-high in TFLs with 12 against the Wildcats for a loss of 44 yards.
*The Jayhawks finished the 2013 season with a record of 3-9 overall and 1-7 in Big 12 play.
*With the loss, the Jayhawks are winless against the Wildcats in their last five attempts. The last time KU beat Kansas State was in 2008 with a score of 52-21. Head Coach Charlie Weis is now 0-2 against K-State.
*On its third drive of the game, the Kansas offense had its sixth fourth-down conversion in 26 attempts, thanks to a two-yard rush by senior RB James Sims.
*They Jayhawks broke their five-quarter scoreless streak with 3:53 left in the 2nd quarter when junior QB Jake Heaps connected 11 yards with junior TE Jimmay Mundine for KU’s first passing touchdown since Baylor (Oct. 26), breaking a four-game streak.

*Junior WR Justin McCay doubled his season total and set new career highs in receptions and receiving yards with his five catches for 45 yards against the Wildcats. That also marked the most catches by a WR this season.
*Senior HB James Sims rushed for 82 yards on 22 carries to close his career with 3,592 yards, the third-highest total in KU history. In four years at Kansas, Sims rushed for 34 touchdowns, second on the KU list, and rushed for 100 yards in 15 games, also second on the career charts. Sims was KU’s first ever running back to surpass 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons and finished his senior campaign with 1,110 yards, 11th-most in a single season in Kansas history.
*Junior TE Jimmay Mundine caught his first touchdown pass since Oklahoma (Oct. 19) when junior QB Jake Heaps connected with him in the first quarter. Mundine led the Jayhawks with five touchdown catches this season.
*Heaps finished the game 14-of-29 for 138 yards after coming off the bench. He finished the 2013 campaign with 1,414 yards, the most for a Kansas QB since Jordan Webb threw for 1,884 in 2011.
*Senior TE Charles Brooks had the first two catches of his career in the fourth quarter for seven yards on KU’s last drive of the game.

*Sophomore BUCK Ben Goodman recorded the first sack of the game for the Jayhawks, the fourth of his career, solidifying the three-and-out for K-State on its opening possession.
*Kansas stopped its opponents on the opening drive in all but one game this season (11-of-12), with three of them being three-and-outs.
*Junior NB Victor Simmons’ sack on K-State’s opening drive of the second half moved his season total to 2.5 for a loss of 22 yards on the season.
*Sophomore safety Isaiah Johnson’s interception in the third quarter was the fifth of his career and of the season, and tied for the most in a season since 2008 (Darrell Stuckey).
*Junior LB Ben Heeney’s 10 tackles marked his second double-digit tackling performance of the season and moved his season total to 88. That brings his career total to 208. Heeney has led the Jayhawks in tackles each of the last two seasons, with 112 in 2012.

*Junior NB Victor Simmons recorded his third forced fumble of the season on the ensuing kickoff after the Jayhawks first TD of the game. The fumble was recovered by senior WR Josh Ford, the first of his career.
*In two seasons at KU, Ford has been instrumental on special teams with three blocked kicks and a fumble recovery, including today’s recovery in the second quarter.
*Senior K Ron Doherty’s 31-yard field goal in the second quarter marked his fourth-straight field goal. Doherty made six-of-seven made since taking over kicking duties against Texas (Nov. 2).
*Junior DL Keon Stowers blocked his first career field goal in the fourth quarter.

Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis
General thoughts on the game:
“Turnovers – you get down 21-0 and everyone is waiting for us to throw in the towel and we got it back to 21-10. Then we turn it over a couple times in the third quarter. That kind of put the game away for them.”

On KU’s defense:
“After the first quarter and early into the second quarter when things were going their way, we made some adjustments and really held it down pretty good the rest of the game. Obviously their running back had a big day but at the end of the day they gave us a chance to fight back into the game. When you turn it over a bunch of times the chance you have to come back goes out the window. Turnovers are the thing that change the game more than any other element in football.”

Dexter Linton, Sr., Safety
On Kansas State’s offense early in the game:
“We just came out out-of-sync I think. I feel like we were focused, but K-State’s offense is so complex, you really just have to dig deep and I guess we didn’t do that. As the game went on though we settled in and figured it out.”

On his emotions following the last day of his collegiate career:
“It’s a sad day in Lawrence, Kan. We’ve been here for so long; five years and three coaches. We were the last of (Mark) Mangino’s class. I’m going to miss it.”

On how he wants the senior class to be remembered:
“We gave it our all, we worked hard and we did everything we could for the program throughout all the losses. We were resilient and never gave up.”

On if he thinks the football program is headed in the right direction:
“I definitely feel that way. I felt that way this year. Things didn’t work out our way but I definitely felt a positive vibe, especially with the team. It starts with the team and everything else will fall in to place.”

On the message he will give to the returning defensive players:
“Just be all-in, because when it’s over, it’s over. You’re just going to reminisce on these moments. Just play with no regrets because it’s tough. We all want to go out on top but only a few teams can. So just play all out, that’s my message.”

Gavin Howard, Sr., Offensive Line
On the most important thing he’s learned as a football player at Kansas:
“Persevere through anything; we’ve had ups and downs throughout my career, specifically, this year and if you keep perservering and keep working things will work out for you. We didn’t end the season like we wanted to, but we did have the win against West Virginia in a game we could have easily quit since we weren’t going to make a bowl game but we continued to fight and won that game.”

On if he thinks James Sims will continue playing football:
“There is no doubt in my mind. I don’t know where or if he’s projected to get drafted but there is no doubt in my mind that he’s going to get on a team and do what Chris Harris did and end up making a team. Everyone will end up asking ‘Why didn’t he get drafted?’ or ‘Why didn’t he go higher?’ because he’s a workhorse and comes to work every day. You can count on him every day and he’s really been a bright spot in a not so bright five years.”

On his thoughts on Offensive Line Coach Tim Grunhard:
“Coach Grunhard has been a really good coach and role model for all of us. He has four kids in high school that he always talks to us about and he obviously has all the money he’ll ever need. He didn’t need to coach anymore; he did it because he liked it. Coach Weis works everyone real hard and they’re expected to put in those hours and Coach Grunhard decided he needed to see his family and I respect him for that.”

On what he learned from Gunhard:
“There is a huge trust factor there because anytime he told you something to do, you knew it was coming from experience and that he had done that at the highest level possible for a number of years. The respect level and expertise he brought were a really good thing.”

K-State Head Coach Bill Snyder
Opening Statement:
“I’m pleased for the right people, the player and our fans. It means an awful lot to each of them. I’m disappointed in how we played through the course of the ball game, but it is what it is.”

On running back John Hubert:
“I just got through talking to John, I told him how proud I was of him. He ran extremely hard and that’s what has been important for him. He reads holes pretty well so sometimes he gets caught dancing. Today he didn’t, he got his pads down and spun off of blocks and ran hard. I’m really proud of his effort.”

On forcing Kansas into turning the ball over:
“We didn’t convert enough of them [into points]. We had five or six turnovers, our defense played well throughout the course of the ball game, field position was not in their favor because the offense didn’t move the ball because of the offense’s struggles. We had a couple issues in the kicking game and we responded most of the time with turnovers and I was pleased about that, that was important.”

On the progress of his team after starting the season slow:
“I’m proud of the fact that they have come back, that they didn’t give into it and they tried to move in a different direction. But you remember the losses, the biggest margin was 10 points and I don’t think there was a ball-game that we played where we didn’t have our chances. That’s a frustrating experience. Our players said last night when asked about defining the season in one word, they just said, ‘frustrated,’ but it doesn’t take away how much I appreciate the young people in our program and the kind of pride we have in each and every one of them.”

On the Sunflower Showdown/Governor’s Cup rivalry:
“I think it’s good. KU can play well on defense, they’re trying to put the pieces together, I think they’re going to be fine. I think you’ll see them grow, I hope they do.”

Tramaine Thompson, Sr., Wide Receiver
On the difference in play from the beginning of the game to the second and third quarters:
“We got a little complacent and had a mistake on my part, catching the punt inside the five. That just kind of backed us up and from then on, it just seemed like we didn’t have the same intensity we came out with at the beginning of the game.”

On John Hubert:
“John was John. He’s a beast. He’s a good back. He had 220 yards and it just shows what he can do and could’ve done the whole year. He did a great job today.”