On a day where the Kansas offense was able to move the ball using a couple big plays, it was plays by the Texas defensive and the Kansas special teams that changed the outcome of the game as the Longhorns beat the Jayhawks 35-13 in Austin, Texas.
Jake Heaps was back under center on Saturday afternoon as the Jayhawks ventured into Royal-Texas Memorial stadium to face the Big 12 leading Texas Longhorns. He and the Jayhawk offense had their best showing in three weeks but it still wasn’t enough.
Heaps started out very well on the first possession of the game with the help of running back James Sims. Sims accounted for 51 yards on the first drive alone and Heaps completed 3-of-4 passes for 49 yards and moved the Jayhawk offense all the way to the Texas 13-yard line before the drive stalled. Kansas settled for a 31 yard field goal attempt on 4th and three which kicker Matthew Wyman subsequently missed to keep the Jayhawks scoreless.
After the defense forced a Texas punt, Heaps was back on the field for the Jayhawks second possession but this time with less success. Kansas moved the ball to their own 46-yard line before punting the ball away on 4th and 1.
A solid punt by Trevor Pardula left the Longhorns with 92 yards to go and the Kansas defense was able to force a three and out. On the ensuing punt the Longhorns were given new life and took full advantage. On 4th and 5 from the Texas 13-yard line the Kansas special teams ran into the kicker giving the Longhorns a first down. From there, Texas used a mixture of passing and running to march the additional 82 yards for the first score of the game. The touchdown came on a two yard run by running back Malcolm Brown.
This time, Heaps was on the bench as the Jayhawk offense wasn’t able to move the ball behind the talents of freshman quarterback Montell Cozart. Cozart took the next two drives but only managed nine yards of offense on ten plays and two Kansas punts.
Malcolm Brown would score again on the next possession thanks to a short field to give the Longhorns a two touchdown lead.
After two short drives under Cozart, the Jayhawks decided to go with Heaps for the next eight Kansas possessions.
Heaps showed flashes of his freshman year at BYU by making some big plays to lead the Jayhawks on two consecutive scoring drives. Unfortunately for Kansas fans, each drive ended with a field goal by backup kicker Ron Doherty to cut the Texas lead to 14-6 part way through the third quarter.
Following a couple of punts, the offense got the ball back with great field position. That is when the game changed. Heaps dropped back to pass on 1st and 10 and was sacked by Cedric Reed. On his way to the ground, Heaps fumbled the ball and it bounced right into the waiting arms of Chris Whaley. He returned the fumble 40 yards to give the Longhorns a commanding 21-6 lead.
After the fumble, Heaps couldn’t get anything going on the next three possessions and the Texas offense poured it on the Kansas defense. Malcolm Brown scored two more touchdowns on the ground, to give him four on the day.
Cozart was inserted back into the game mid-way through the 4th quarter and was able to move the Jayhawks down the field and into the end zone for the first time on the day. The nine play, 75 yard drive was capped off by a Cozart 20 yard touchdown run to make the final score 35-13.
On the day, Heaps complete 11-of-21 passes for 160 yards as well as a fumble. On the season, Heaps has 1148 yards passing as well as seven touchdowns and six interceptions.
The loss leaves Kansas with a 2-6 overall record, including a 0-5 record in the Big 12. The Jayhawks are back in action next Saturday as they take on the 7-1 Oklahoma State Cowboys on the road.