Commentary: Great second quarter not enough as Heaps and the Jayhawks fall to Kansas State
Orlin Wagner, AP
After a promising end to the first half left the Jayhawks within striking distance, turnovers killed every meaningful second half drive as Jake Heaps and Kansas lost to the Kansas State Wildcats, 31-10.
A season that started out with a lot of hope for the Jayhawk faithful ended with the eighth loss in nine games for the Charlie Weis-led Kansas football team.
Montell Cozart started the game under center for Kansas but only lasted two drives before he was relegated to the bench until late in the fourth quarter.
Cozart completed just 1-of-4 passes and threw a costly interception on the Jayhawks' second possession that led to the first Wildcat score of the game.
After the interception, Kansas State marched 54 yards in just three plays to take a 7-0 lead. The drive was capped off by an easy pitch-and-catch from Jake Waters to Zach Trujillo for a 35-yard touchdown.
After a couple of stalled Jayhawks drives ended with punts, the Wildcats took advantage to register two more quick touchdown drives.
Kansas State running back John Hubert was the catalyst on the next possession and finished a 67-yard drive with a 21-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead.
The next K-State drive ended the same way as the first scoring drive — with the Kansas defense biting on a run fake and leaving a tight end wide open for an easy touchdown. This time it was Glenn Gronkowski who was the beneficiary. He went untouched into the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown catch. The score put the Wildcats ahead 21-0 lead just 10 seconds into the second quarter.
After the KU defense came up with two big stops, the Jayhawk offense finally came to life.
Behind the arm of Heaps, Kansas marched 51 yards in seven plays and got on the scoreboard. With the ball on the Kansas State 11-yard line facing a fourth-and-2, Heaps delivered a strike to Jimmay Mundine for an 11-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Jayhawks got the ball back after Zach Nemechek fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Josh Ford at the Wildcat 42-yard line.
Kansas marched the ball 28 yards but had to settle for a chip shot field goal after a drop ended the drive. The 31-yard field goal by Ron Doherty cut the lead to 11 for the Wildcats going into halftime.
Heaps threw the ball brilliantly in the first but his stats didn't show it thanks to numerous dropped passes.
The second half was a different story for the Jayhawks as they turned the ball over on the first four possessions, including three interceptions by Heaps.
The first interception came when Heaps threw a perfect ball on a post pattern but it was bobbled and then dropped by Mundine right into the hands of Dante Barnett, who returned it 16 yards to the Kansas 38-yard line.
Kansas State took advantage of the deep field position and scored the only touchdown of the second half.
The Wildcats marched 38 yards in five plays and scored on a 15-yard Waters run to stretch the lead to 18.
Following the score, the Jayhawks produced their only sustained drive of the second half. They moved the ball 52 yards on 11 plays before Heaps was intercepted trying to loft the ball to Mundine at the goal line.
Kansas State moved the ball after the pick, but didn't pad their lead thanks to a missed field goal by Ian Patterson from 43 yards out.
Heaps gave the ball back to the Wildcats just three plays later on his third interception in as many drives.
This time Kansas State capitalized on the turnover as Patterson made a 31-yard field goal for the last score of the game.
Cozart was back on the field for the last two drives of the game, but couldn't get anything going as the Jayhawks finished the season on a sour note.
In the win, Kansas State running back John Hubert carried the ball 30 times for 220 yards and a touchdown while Waters threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
For the Jayhawks, Heaps completed 14-of-29 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown to go along with his three interceptions while Cozart was 3-for-7 passing for 13 yards and an interception.
The running game wasn't much better in the turnover department as James Sims lost two fumbles on the day while finishing with 82 yards on the ground.
The loss leaves the Jayhawks with a record of 3-9, including 1-8 in Big 12 play.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the off-season for Heaps and Kansas. He didn't start the final two games of the season but showed flashes of how skilled he can be as a passer once he stepped on the field.
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