Top 13: Sims, Jayhawks Snap Big 12 Skid with Win Over WVU
Kansas Athletics and Jayhawk student-athletes had numerous successful athletic and academc accomplishments during the 2013 calendar year and will relive the top 13 moments in a nearly two week series leading up to New Years Eve. One crowning moment will be posted to KUAthletics.com and across the department’s social media platforms. Like, favorite or vote for your favorite 2013 moment and a top three, based on fan votes, will be revealed on New Year’s Eve. Check back daily for video highlights, a recap and your chance to weigh in on your favorite moments of 2013.
Records, streaks and goalposts fell as Kansas snapped a 27-game, Big 12 Conference winless streak with a 31-19 win over West Virginia at Memorial Stadium Nov. 16.
James Sims tallied 211 total rushing yards, the 15th-best single-game effort in Kansas history and most in one contest since 2001, to help guide the Jayhawks to their first win in league play since beating Colorado during the 2010 season. Sims moved into sole possession of second place for the most career 100-plus rushing games (14) in Kansas history, but it was his three rushing touchdowns that provided the biggest impact in the win over the Mountaineers.
“Let’s start with the kids that have been here for five years and gone through multiple coaches – those are the guys I feel the best for,” Kansas head coach Charlie Weis said. “I also feel good for all of our students and fans who have endured those years. Finally, I’m obviously happy for the team because they were struggling. The big question was, were they going to throw in the towel? They were resilient and didn’t give up. This week it paid off.”
Kansas’ offense topped its season-high rushing yardage with 376 total yards as freshman quarterback Montell Cozart upped his career-high rushing yards to 60. West Virginia tallied 386 yards of offense, 242 of which came through the air.
On the defensive side, the Jayhawks recorded 64 total tackles led by safety Cassius Sendish, who tied his career- high in total tackles (11). Linebacker Ben Heeney picked up his third interception of the season and third of his career. In addition, the Kansas defense tallied two sacks and five TFLs. Defensive lineman Keba Agostinho also blocked a field goal in the second quarter, to close the half with a two-score lead. That block was the first since 2008 when Phillip Strozier blocked one against Missouri.
On the opposite side of the scrimmage, WVU quarterback Paul Millard led the game with 242 passing yards. The WVU offense went 3-3 in the red zone, with running back Charles Sims leading the Mountaineers in rushing with 99 total yards. Defensive lineman Will Clarke tallied 10 tackles, two TFLs and a quarterback hurry.
West Virginia struck first in the game, spurred by a 27-yard rush from WVU’s Sims on the opening play. It only took the Mountaineers six plays and 2:52 minutes for WVU quarterback Paul Millard to hand-off the ball to Sims for a 12-yard touchdown in the Jayhawk end zone. Josh Lambert connected for the additional point, marking the first time this season the Kansas defense has allowed a touchdown on the first drive.
On the next drive, KU’s Sims rushed for 31 total yards, over six attempts, setting up kicker Ron Doherty within field goal range. Doherty connected the 25-yard field goal ending the 64-yard play over 4:47 minutes – the most number of plays on a scoring drive this season.
With nearly seven minutes remaining in the second quarter, KU’s Sims broke free for a 62-yard rush. The rush placed Kansas on WVU’s 10 and two plays later, Sims punched in a three-yard rush into the end zone. Doherty’s extra point sealed Kansas’ drive that lasted 5 plays, 1:35 minutes.
With under a minute remaining in the second quarter, KU’s Sims galloped for 68-yard touchdown that marked his career-long rush since he rushed 64-yards at Texas in 2012. The rush brought Sims to 167 yards at the half, marking his second 100-plus rushing game of the season and 14th of his career.
Before the end of the second quarter, WVU’s last 23 second drive brought them to Kansas’ 42 yard line. Lambert attempted the field goal but was blocked by Agostinho, the first blocked field goal since Kansas vs. Missouri in 2008.
At the half, the Jayhawks led the Mountaineers, 17-7, the first time Kansas has led an opponent in the first half since the season-opener against South Dakota. Kansas tallied 222 rushing yards total against West Virginia’s 69 yards.
After being forced three-and-out by West Virginia’s defense to start the second half, Goodman intercepted the ball from Millard on the Mountaineer’s drive at KU’s 32, scurrying 54-yards to West Virginia’s 14.
“It was amazing,” Goodman said of the interception. “I was reading the quarterback and I put my hands up and I looked down and all of a sudden I had the ball. I was running, trying to run as fast as I could, which I guess wasn’t very fast, because the quarterback caught me. I was so tired and I just stepped out of bounds. I was just trying to secure the ball.”
The ensuing five-play drive ended with a rush-touchdown from Sims two yards out. Sims’ seven yards on the drive pushed him past his career-high rushing total of 176 vs. Texas in 2012.
“Our objective was to spread them out – that’s what the other teams did and they had success so our game plan was to spread them out,” James Sims said. “If they had five in the box, just hand the ball off, so we took advantage of the five man box today and we gashed them with it. Give credit to the offensive line up front, they won the line of scrimmage. Our whole preparation the whole week was to be physical up front and win the line of scrimmage and that’s what they did. Give props to those guys up front.”
With 6:27 left in the fourth quarter, Heeney picked up his third interception of the season, rushing 28 yards before being pulled down at the West Virginia one. Bourbon took the hand-off on the ensuing play, rushing a yard for his first touchdown of the game.
In response, the Mountaineers capitalized on the next drive, covering 75 total yards in five plays. Millard’s pass connected to Kevin White for a 3-yard touchdown. Millard and the Mountaineers then attempted a 2-point conversion, but Millards pass to Vernon Davis was incomplete.
On the following drive, a Kansas fumble was picked up by linebacker Nick Kwiatowski, giving the Mountaineers another touchdown opportunity. After a drive that lasted 1:31 minutes, Charles Sims punched in the last WVU touchdown from six yards out, making the final score 31-19.
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