While BYU struggled, former Cougar Jake Heaps led his team to their first FBS win since 2011
Orlin Wagner, AP
Editor's note: This post originally appeared on the JMoney34Sports blog and has been republished with permission.
On a Saturday when his former BYU teammates lost to Utah for the fourth year in a row, Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps led the Jayhawks to a 13-10 home victory over La. Tech for their first win over an FBS opponent since Sept. 10, 2011.
The first quarter started out slowly for the Jayhawk offense.
Kansas was denied on two early fourth-down rushing attempts with th second fourth-down attempt leaving La. Tech with only 41 yards to go to paydirt. The Bulldogs failed to take advantage, however, thanks to Victor Simmons and the KU defense.
KU's third offensive drive of the quarter started out with a lot of promise. Heaps completed two passes to get out of the shadow of the end zone before the drive stalled three plays later when Heaps was sacked on a third-and-four, forcing the Jayhawks to punt.
The Jayhawk defense came up huge just a few plays later when Ben Heeney intercepted a tipped pass at the La. Tech 47.
Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, Heaps returned the favor by throwing a pick of his own just three plays later.
This time the Bulldogs capitalized.
La. Tech freshman quarterback Ryan Higgins capped a Bulldog drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Lee to give the Bulldogs the lead at 7-0.
The second quarter finally saw the Jayhawks put together a substantial drive. Heaps completed 7-of-8 passes for 44 yards, but his only incompletion was costly, though. He overthrew a wide-open Christian Matthews in the end zone.
Kansas eventually marched to the La. Tech 6. After penalty pushed them back five yards, freshman kicker Matthew Wyman missed a 28-yard FG attempt.
Following the KU miss, La. Tech drove to the Kansas 20 before missing a field goal attempt.
The following Jayhawk drive was all about the play-action pass. Kansas marched to the La. Tech 19 before settling for a 39-yard Wayman field goal to cut the Bulldog lead to 7-3.
The half ended with La. Tech missing a 40-yard FG.
Even though Kansas put up only three points, it was Heaps' best half of the year in which he completed 17-of-24 passes for 139 yards.
The third quarter started out the same way the second quarter ended for the Bulldogs — almost.
Higgins marched the Bulldogs down the field before settling for another field-goal try. This time Kyle Fischer was good from 39 yards out to put La. Tech up 10-3.
That was the only time until the last play of the quarter that either team took the ball into their opponent’s territory.
The play of the game happened less than a minute into the fourth quarter.
After Heaps' deflected pass was intercepted on the Kansas 29, it appeared as if Higgins had a 27-yard gain to the Kansas 2. Upon review, Higgins lost the ball before he stepped out of bounds and the fumble landed in the end zone for a touchback.
With new life, Heaps and the Jayhawks made the Bulldogs pay.
Kansas marched 80 yards in just under three minutes for its only touchdown of the game. In the drive, Heaps completed all four of his passes for 63 yards, including a 22-yard completion to Jimmay Mundine for the score to tie the game at 10-10.
After the teams traded punts, the Bulldogs had another chance to take the lead when the turnover bug bit them again.
Starting at their own 15, the Bulldogs drove to the Jayhawk 18 with just under two minutes remaining. While La. Tech running back Kenneth Dixon fought for extra yards after a first-down run, Kansas defender Michael Reynolds stripped the ball and the Jayhawks recovered.
With 1:33 remaining and with the ball at their own 5, the Jayhawks went to work.
Kansas gained two first downs on running plays, including a Heaps six-yard quarterback keeper. After an eight-yard pass on first down, Heaps made his biggest completion of the season hitting Tony Pierson on a 29-yard post route to the Bulldog 35-yard line.
After an incompletion and a reception for no gain, the Jayhawks lined up for a 52-yard field goal attempt with two seconds remaining. After La. Tech called a time out in an attempt to ice Wyman, he drilled the kick as time expired to lift Kansas to the three-point win.
For the game, Heaps completed 28-of-46 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown and two interceptions. He also carried the ball three times for seven yards for the Jayhawks, who doubled their win total from a season ago.
Jay Yeomans is a courier by day and a free-lance writer by night. He is the creator and lone contributor to the website jmoneysports.com and also writes for Cougarnation.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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