It happened. Finally. Kansas football picked up a win. It wasn’t always pretty, but Kansas won’t complain about whether or not a win or pretty or not.
Kansas beat TCU 27-26 in Lawrence on Saturday and in the process snapped a 14-game Big 12 losing streak, which was the longest active conference streak nationally. The last conference win? Yep, that infamous win over Texas, which ended Charlie Strong’s tenure as the Texas head coach. Kansas had also lost 38 straight October games, which was 30 more than any other team in college football.
How did they do it? Well, they got TCU at the right time. It was a brutal week for the Horned Frogs. They shut down quarterback Shawn Robinson for the season with a shoulder injury and gave Michael Collins, the Penn transfer, his first start of his TCU career. Then, Gary Patterson had to kick KaVontae Turpin, the team’s most dynamic player, off the team due to an assault charge from over the weekend, his second this year.
Freshman running back Pooka Williams was the star of the show for the Jayhawks, but not on the ground. Williams only had 11 carries for 33 yards, but he excelled as a receiver, finishing with a team-high seven catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Peyton Bender also had his best game of the season. He finished 19 of 29 for a season-high 249 yards, with two touchdowns to zero interceptions.
Bender has come under a lot of criticism this season, rightfully so, but his head coach had plenty of praise, saying, “Man, I’ll tell you what, just watching him, knowing what he was staring down the barrel of [on the third down run]… I couldn’t be more proud of the kid.”
One of Bender’s best plays of the game came on the ground, when he ran for 12 yards on a 3rd and 11 on the go-ahead drive, with Beaty saying afterwards, “He’s taken a lot of criticism. There’s a reason we stick with him. That was as good a play as I’ve seen of him.”
It was, but the Kansas defense, which has been solid all season, also stepped to the plate again today. KU continues to dominate in turnover margin. They were the best in the Big 12 coming into the weekend, and won the turnover battle 2-0 against KU, picking off Michael Collins once and forcing a fumble against running back Darius Anderson. Additionally, the Jayhawks were able to get into the TCU backfield with relative ease, finishing with 5 tackles for loss and holding TCU to under four yards per carry.
Beaty added after the win, “First of all, what a great football game. … I’m humbled to say that we were able to get a victory over those guys.”
Every win is admittedly a humbling experience for KU. But, the Jayhawks’ third win of this season equals their total from the past three years (3-33). Does this mean David Beaty may ultimately keep his job in Lawrence?
Let’s not go there just yet, but after Saturday’s win, the conversation just got a whole lot more interesting.
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