Jayhawk Insider: Breaking Through
By: Adam Sullivan
For the first time since 1997 the Kansas football team celebrated a win over TCU as KU edged a 27-26 victory over TCU inside David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 27. For Kansas, not only did the win give KU its first conference victory since 2016, but it marked a break through against a conference foe that the Jayhawks have battled close in recent years.
Heading into Saturday, of the last five meetings between KU and the Horned Frogs, four were decided by two touchdowns or less – two of which by single digits.
“We’ve had some great games with them over the years, to get over the hump took us everything,” stated Kansas head coach David Beaty. “It took every second of the clock to get it done. Took everyone on this staff and I think that’s a tribute to coach Gary Patterson. They’ve got a good football team and were dealt some blows this week with losing guys. They played well today and could have won the game, but our guys persevered and I am so proud of them. Our guys deserve to have success.”
Turnovers were again a major factor in the Jayhawk win as KU was able to force both an interception and a fumble while not turning the ball over themselves.
With time fading away late in the fourth quarter, Kansas was clinging on to a 27-24 lead but TCU was driving deep into Jayhawk territory. Kansas senior lineman KeyShaun Simmons jumped on a TCU fumble at the seven-yard line, giving KU the ball and securing its victory.
“Games break one way or another and to be on the side it breaks for is pretty exciting,” explained KU senior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. “I’m really happy for our guys today was a total team effort.”
Following a TCU safety, the Jayhawks led 27-26 with one second remaining on the clock as KU lined up for the ensuing free kick. Kansas squibbed the kick to the front line of TCU, quickly tackling the Horned Frog player to seal the victory.
“Obviously, we knew there was going to be–we thought there was going to be five seconds left on the clock,” Beaty said. “We felt we could get that off pretty safely with the call that we’ve already had built into what we do. We might have been able to kill that last second had we thrown the ball a little bit higher than what we did. You know what, those kids executed exactly like we taught it, which gave us a chance there. And I thought Coach (Kenny) Perry had his guys ready to go to cover that onside there to where there was no real chance for them to pitch the ball back. They had to secure it and get down, and that’s the way we were able to seal it.”
The win snapped a 14-game Big 12 losing streak by KU. For the players it marked another sign of improvement and success this season.
“Today was awesome,” Dineen said. “All of the work you put in and you’re not seeing the results but you just keep grinding things out. To finally see the reward is pretty awesome and I’m at a loss for words to be honest.”
Fans stormed the field as players celebrated alongside them at midfield. The celebration continued into the locker room at the Anderson Football Complex where a Rock Chalk chant broke out between players and staff.
“Everything was just awesome,” said KU linebacker Keith Loneker Jr. “This is why you play the game. That locker room, everybody around, seeing those familiar faces that have been there through everything with us, it was fun to celebrate with them.
For Loneker, Saturday marked the third contest he’s faced TCU. In 2016, Loneker made his first career start against the Horned Frogs, and on Saturday he recorded his first career interception. With close losses in recent years, Loneker knew Saturday had a chance to be a different result.
“I’ve felt like we have had their number for several years,” Loneker stated. “To finally pull out a victory against them is huge. Doing it here was even better, having our fans to relish this and celebrate with us was amazing.”
As postgame press conferences were winding down, Coach Beaty began to walk towards his office which overlooks David Booth Memorial Stadium to begin preparation for Iowa State. For Beaty, the win marks a major accomplishment for his coaching staff, but that’s not who he is happiest for.
“I’m so happy for our players and really just our fans. It means more to our guys and our fans,” Beaty explained. “For me, I don’t have to live in that world. I live in the job at hand as a coach, but there are emotions that are attached to the people you care about. Particularly the players who have taken some hits along the way that I’m not sure many kids could take. I’m happy for our fans, those who have invested in this program. Anybody that is a Jayhawk in any way, I’m happy for them. That’s ultimately why we are all here, to make this brand better and to help the people that love this program be happy about it. Today we were able to do that.”
Kansas will host Iowa State for its annual Salute to Service game on Saturday, Nov. 3, in which the Jayhawks will wear alternate uniforms that honor the U.S. Veterans of World War II. Game time is slated for 11 a.m., with a live broadcast on FOX Sports Net.