#TeamJayhawks clinch 2017 Spring Game on final drive

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Tied, 7-7, with just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of a running clock in the 2017 Kansas football Spring Game, quarterback Peyton Bender and the #TeamJayhawks offense drove 49 yards for a game-winning touchdown, 14-7, on Saturday afternoon inside Memorial Stadium.
#TeamJayhawks claimed the one-possession affair after Bender completed three-straight passes – the final a five-yard score to Daylon Charlot with just over a minute left. Bender was successful on 11-of-15 throws for 143 yards and both of his squad’s scores.
#TeamKU’s primary quarterback, Carter Stanley, was successful on 13-of-24 attempts for 114 yards, while Tyriek Starks completed both of his passes for 55 yards and #TeamKU’s only score to Kwamie Lassiter II. 
 Head coach David Beaty
In a game where the quarterbacks wore red, no-contact jerseys, #TeamJayhawks’ Josh Ehambe was a disruptive force in the backfield, notching what would have been a career-high 3.0 sacks. On the opposite side for #TeamKU, Dorance Armstrong Jr., gathered four tackles and a sack, while Mike Lee led all defenders with six jarring hits in the secondary.
The play calling was an aggressive, air raid style throughout the hour and a half game. #TeamKU only ran the ball 22 times, while #TeamJayhawks carried 17 times. The game’s leading rusher, Taylor Martin, totaled 43 yards on seven attempts – good for a 6.1 average. By dialing up an abundance of passing plays, both teams had a chance to show off their athleticism.
Several leaping and one-handed catches highlighted the afternoon, most notably by Charlot and Chase Harrell. Ben Johnson led all pass catchers with 52 yards on three catches, while Harrell gained 51 yards through the air. Charlot hauled in three passes for #TeamJayhawks and turned in 45 yards receiving, including the game-winning touchdown. 

Post Game Quotes
Head Coach // David Beaty
Thanks for being here today, guys. That was a lot of fun, culminating a good week that we did some fun, interesting things, and I think our guys came out with a little bit more energy than maybe even they would had we not done it that way, so very pleased with that. I know that you’re going to hear from at least Tony Hull here in a minute, so that’ll be entertaining. I think you guys will enjoy that. He and Kenny Perry have had a really fun week. It’s been fun having those guys do what they’ve done and really handling our teams.

Just a couple of side notes, I was so impressed with our Jayhawk Nation and all the people that showed up out there. That was a really nice crowd, and I just want to say thank you to all the people that came because that makes a difference. When you’ve got a bunch of guys out there that are looking at this school and when you’re looking at a place and you see that kind of support at a spring game, it makes a difference, so I just take my hat off to the Jayhawk Nation for being there.

I think they had a lot of fun. I guess coaches did a great job. They were fun over there on the sidelines. And then having all those NFL guys back was just unbelievable this weekend. They were terrific. We spend a lot of time together yesterday, last night. I probably spent too much time with them last night, but they were fun. We had a great time, and we’re going to be together again tonight, and just all of these great Jayhawks that came before us were here, and it was one of those deals for me that, man, it’s just humbling to be around all those great people that came before us. I mean, they are studs. We had a captain’s breakfast this morning that was unbelievable with all the former captains that was really, really beneficial to us.

Just really want to take my hat off to those guys that came back, and hopefully we can get more as the future goes. I know you guys got some questions, so let’s take a look.

Q. Is it impossible to tell Mike Lee that he’s not supposed to hit his own teammates hard?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, I don’t know that you can tell him that. But one of the things that I did tell him is that I want you to lead the conference in tackles, but I don’t want you to lead the conference in missed tackles, as well. I mean, he throws everything he’s got, that 175-pound body at people, but we do have to learn to use more technique because I think it’s going to culminate into a lot more tackles for him. It may not be the highlight-reel tackles that I know he loves to make, but he can be even better than he is, and he gets it. He understands it. He missed a tackle down there on Steven Sims, and I know he wishes he would have had it back because that game them a touchdown there, and it was because he just went in out of control instead of using technique, but boy, he’s sure fun to watch out there, unless you’re the guy getting hit.

Q. What did you like most about the offense today?
DAVID BEATY: Well, you know, we obviously kept it very basic on both sides of the ball. But I did like the way that we were able to move the ball pretty good down the field, particularly early in the day. We just — we’ve got to do a better job of finishing and getting the ball in the end zone. I would have liked to have seen more points scored today, but it’s mental mistakes.

I know we broke the teams up and there’s going to be a lot of guys that can make a lot of excuses about I’m not used to playing with this guy or that guy, and they won’t do that because they know I’m not going to let them. But there were a lot of things that I thought we may have left on the field today, but I thought Meeks did a really good job of using a lot of different guys in a lot of different spaces. I loved the way that he got Daylon Charlot involved today. Daylon showed a couple of really nice plays today that are not normal. Special guys make those type of plays. That touchdown down there that he caught late in the game, that was a hard catch. He had to fight that guy to get the ball. That was impressive, the one down the sideline. I thought Chase Harrell did a nice job. Just the young guys, man, to be honest with you. It’s like the Kerr Johnson that’s showing up out there, it’s the Ryan Schadlers, it’s Ben Johnson making plays. It’s just watching Kwamie Lassiter catch a touchdown down there in front of his dad. I know that was a great moment for him and his pops.

I just think we’ve got a lot of talent out there, and him being able to kind of get the ball in everybody’s hands is a challenge a lot of times. He did a good job of it.

Q. How about Charlot’s sideline catch?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, pretty nice. I didn’t see all of it. There was a couple of big linemen standing in front of me, so I couldn’t see all of it, but it looked pretty impressive. I can’t wait to see it on tape. That was a nice play, really nice. The one down there on the left sideline, I can’t remember who made it, but they called it out of bounds initially, and then they called it inbounds. I think it might have been Chase. I can’t remember who it was down that sideline on the far side. That was an unbelievable catch, as well.

And we need to do that. We need to be able to make some catches you’re not supposed to make, and when you do that you give yourself a chance to be productive offensively. We’ve just got to get the ball in the end zone more.

Q. What were your thoughts on quarterback play?
DAVID BEATY: You know, it’s going to be hard for me to tell until I look at the tape, to be obviously honest with you, but just on the hoof, I thought there were some things that they did really, really well. There was a couple times where I thought their eyes were in the wrong place early, but they kind of seemed to iron that out. I thought the defense did a good job of disguising today for the most part, which they needed to, because if you don’t, it’s going to be hard to stop folks. They did a good job of that, and I thought they got the QB’s early, but I thought they settled down a little bit later and were able to make some good decisions, particularly on some off slant plays. I know Carter (Stanley) made a couple of nice throws to Tyler Patrick on 3rd downs that were big, and they don’t seem like big plays until you don’t make it, and that was a great job by him and Tyler to catch that ball on that little off slant play that they threw.

Those guys continue to get better. They continue to push each other. And Tyriek (Starks), he’s a guy that still doesn’t know a whole, whole lot. He’s gotten a lot better. If he’d have had a high school coach that would have taught him a little bit more — I’m just kidding. Tony did a great job with him. Tony is sitting over here with me. But we knew he had the talent. He’s just barely flicking that ball and it’s going about 60 yards in the air. That guy has got some talent now. If he ever figures out what he’s doing, he might be a guy. He might be a guy. He’s still learning and coming along.

Q. Could you tell that Stanley and (Peyton) Bender were looking forward to competing against each other on this stage in front of fans and that type of thing?
DAVID BEATY: Oh, yeah, no doubt. Both their families were here yesterday at practice. I got to talk to both of them, and they are both wonderful families, and they first met each other yesterday, so that was fun to get them together. But those guys have been looking forward to competing. I mean, they both want to win that job. You could tell their leadership I thought was a lot better this week than it had been previously, and I think it was because the teams were kind of — they were kind of dialed in, so you knew what direction to go.

I think the intangibles are getting better with both those guys.

Q. What did you think of Josh’s (Ehambe) performance?
DAVID BEATY: Very excited because we needed him to do some things like that, and you know, the thing that I’m really proud of Josh for is that he is starting to become productive, and he’s done it pretty much all spring.

If there’s a guy that I’m most proud of to this point, it’s Josh, because we’ve told him that you might set the world’s record for being the guy that’s in the right place the most making the least amount of plays, and you’ve got to finish it and make plays, and he’s really worked on his body, he’s worked on his agility, he’s worked on his functional movement, which has helped him become a better player, and the thing that I think he’s done the best of is controlling his emotion because a lot of times guys hurt themselves playing on pure emotion and not using their brain, and he’s done a much better job of being a much smarter player, and I think it led to production today. That was good to see. He did it early, and he did it often. He just kept playing, and the thing I loved is I saw him keep his mouth shut and just keep playing, and that was good. It was good to see him do that. Thanks for coming, y’all.

Associated Head Coach // Tony Hull
Q. Did you get the reaction you were hoping for out of Kenny Perry?
TONY HULL: Yeah, when I walked across the field, he bit his lip and he had that frown like little scrunched up thing he does, like the little mean look he tries to give you. He’s really upset, but he’s really going to feel sorry in about two more hours when we’re going to celebrate.

Q. What was this whole experience like for you?
TONY HULL: It was fun. It was fun for me, the coaches, the kids, and I’m pretty sure the fans enjoyed it. Like the response we’ve gotten, the reception we’ve gotten on social media was huge. It was just a fun experience, and I was happy to be a part of it and be able to bring this to the KU family.

Q. What are the advantages of — you guys aren’t done with spring ball. You still have a couple of practices left. What are the advantages of having this and then going back to work?
TONY HULL: Well, we kind of put them under the lights and see how they would do in game type situations. We got it on film. We’ll be able to go in and take a look at it, correct it, make some corrections, and come out next week and try to implement those corrections on the field, so it was huge for us because it put them in a game-like atmosphere.

Q. Did you see anything today that you maybe weren’t expecting out of a couple guys?
TONY HULL: No. I mean, what we saw today was kind of an example of what’s been going on all spring. The guys that made plays have been making plays all spring. The kids have been competing the whole time, and it’s just been a great competitive, fun, atmosphere, and that’s what we showed out there today on the field.

Q. Is that what Charlot has looked like, those couple nice catches?
TONY HULL: Yeah, I mean, he’s coming from a different style of offense, and he’s still learning intricacies of playing the receiver position. However, I mean, as you can tell, he’s a playmaker. He’s just continuing to get better and better day in and day out, and once he thoroughly understands what’s going on, you’d better watch out.

Q. If you had an MVP, who would you have given it to?
TONY HULL: My MVP actually goes to Coach Bowen. We give him the MVP just because he did a great job with the defense, and he did a great job in our war room putting some things together. We put a couple strategies together, and it worked out, so I’m going to go with Coach Bowen and that staff I had today.

Q. What was it like for you getting to watch Tyriek start out there and make a couple plays?
TONY HULL: I mean, it was — honestly, it was good and it was bad. It was good because I was happy for him, he was making plays. It was bad because he was doing it for the other team. He wasn’t doing it for me. But no, I was just excited for him. He is really been chopping wood and just trying to perfect his craft, and he’s starting to understand a little bit and things are starting to slow down for him a little bit, and it kind of showed on the field today.

Q. Who do you expect to have the biggest impact in your day-to-day?
TONY HULL: Well, I expect a number of kids to impact us, not just offense and defense but special teams-wise because they have a special talent that they bring to the table, and that’s something we lacked last year special teams-wise was depth. I mean, I’m looking for quite a few of those guys to contribute and help us out some Saturdays.

Q. Was there anybody that stood out from that class?
TONY HULL: I mean, yeah, some good things. I mean, Hasan (Defense) did some really good things. He looked pretty good all spring. So I would go with Hasan because that’s my guy. He was my third-round pick, my No. 3 pick, so I’ve got to go with him.

Q. Schadler took a good hit from Lee.
TONY HULL: Yeah, well, Mike has given me a hard time since the draft has been going on. He texted me while the draft was going on and was like, Coach, you didn’t pick me, you’re going to pay for it, and every day he’s been giving me a hard time, telling me I was going to pay for it. They called him, something, the water moccasin or whatever. I call him the earthworm, and he gets mad about that. It’s been I want to say maybe four or five times a day he’s been hitting me on my cell phone telling me how much I was going to pay for it. Well, he did some good things today.

Watch the post game press conferences here: 

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