Guest analysis: After a great start, Jake Heaps and the Kansas Jayhawks run over by Texas Tech
The Jayhawks played their best quarter of the entire season to start the game. It was also Heaps’ best quarter of football since he arrived in Lawrence, Kan.
That early spark wasn't enough, though, as the Red Raiders prevailed, 54-16. A coaching decision had Heaps sharing snaps with his backup throughout the contest.
The KU defense came up big first as Ben Heeney intercepted a Baker Mayfield pass only a minute into the game. That gave Kansas the ball in Texas Tech territory.
Heaps completed two of his first three passes before Kansas coach Charlie Weis replaced Heaps with Michael Cummings on third and 11. He took a sack and the Jayhawks settled for a chip shot field goal.
Weis would continue to rotate quarterbacks throughout the game for the first time this year.
After another great defensive stop by the Kansas defense, Heaps again went under center for the second offensive possession of the game. After three straight completions to get the Jayhawks near midfield, Cummings again replaced Heaps.
Cummings took the next handful of snaps and moved the Kansas offense to the Texas Tech 40 before Heaps re-entered the game. Two false start penalties pushed the Jayhawk offense back to midfield and made it third and 12. Heaps then threw a strike to wide receiver Tony Pierson for a 25-yard gain. His next throw was just as good, as Heaps completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jimmay Mundine on a seam route.
That put the Jayhawks up 10-0 with just over seven minutes gone in the first quarter.
The Kansas defense forced another three and out to leave the Jayhawks with great field position once again. After two throws by Heaps gained Kansas nine yards, he was back to the bench. The offense failed to gain a yard on the next play and Kansas punted for the first time.
That’s when the Red Raider offense woke up. Mayfield marched Texas Tech to the Kansas 12-yard line before the drive stalled and Ryan Bustin missed a 32-yard field goal.
The first quarter ended with a score of 10-0. After that, the wheels fell off for Kansas. After a KU punt on the first play of the quarter, Tech marched 71 yards before getting on the scoreboard with a 23-yard field goal by Bustin.
Kansas went three and out on the next drive and the Red Raiders took advantage. After a long punt return gave Texas Tech the ball in Kansas territory, the Red Raiders marched 42 yards for their first touchdown of the day. The drive was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Kenny Williams to tie the game.
Cummings started the next drive and gained no yards on two plays. Heaps came back in and completed a short pass to force a punt. What happened next changed the complexion of the game.
On a fourth and 13 deep in its own territory, Kansas ran a fake punt. With punter Trevor Pardula standing on his own 1-yard line he took the snap clean and took off right away. Pardula wasn’t close to getting the first down as he got pushed out at the 15.
The Red Raiders pounced on the great field position, scoring two plays later on a 19-yard quarterback keeper by Mayfield to give Tech their first lead of the game.
Heaps completed both of his passes on the next drive but Kansas was forced to punt. Bustin hit a 25-yard field goal as time expired to give Texas Tech a 10-point lead going into halftime.
For the half, Heaps completed 13-of-20 passes for 139 yards and one touchdown.
The second half was far less successful for both Heaps and the Jayhawks. On the first play out of halftime, Heaps had a pass go right through Pierson’s hands and land in the lap of Texas Tech defender JJ Gaines, who returned the ball to the Kansas 4-yard line. Tech scored one play later on a 4-yard scamper by DeAndre Washington.
From there, the Red Raiders scored five more times to take a 54-10 lead.
Kansas scored the final touchdown of the game on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Cummings to Andrew Turzilli. The extra point failed to make the final score 54-16 for the Red Raiders.
For Heaps, the second half was very different from the first. He only completed 3-of-12 passes for 50 yards and an interception. Heaps also wasn’t able to fall on a bad snap early in the fourth and Texas Tech recovered it.
For the game, Heaps was 16-of-32 passing for 189 yards, a touchdown and an interception in just over three quarters of play.
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