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Moments That Popped: Texas Tech 16, No. 19 KU 13

Jayhawks rally but fall short late to fall to 7-3 on the season

5 min read
KU defensive lineman Tommy Dunn Jr. mixes it up with a Texas Tech offensive lineman during the Jayhawks' 16-13 loss on Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. [Chance Parker photo]

The 19th-ranked Kansas football team dropped a grinder of a game to unranked Texas Tech, 16-13, at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Kansas, which played with third-string QB Cole Ballard under center for most of the game, erased a 13-0 fourth-quarter deficit with a field goal in the final minute, but the defense could not get one final stop and Tech knocked a 30-yard field goal through with 7 seconds to play to take the win.

Ballard was in the game in place of injured starter Jason Bean, who went out early in the game after a couple of hard tackles that appeared to impact his knee and possibly his head.

More from Saturday's KU-Texas Tech football game...

• Photo Gallery

• "It's Disappointing because we knew what they were gonna do"

• Notes & Numbers

Despite having next to know experience as a true freshman, Ballard played well enough to win but did not get a ton of help from the rest of the KU offense. Still, the Jayhawks delivered when they had to to tie the game, but the defense, which had been great all day, could not get one final stop.

The loss drops KU to 7-3 overall and 4-3 in Big 12 play. Texas Tech improved to 5-5 and is now one win shy of becoming bowl eligible itself.

Up next, KU will play host to Kansas State next Saturday in Lawrence. The big question throughout the week will be who is under center for the Jayhawks in that one.

Opening-day starter, junior Jalon Daniels, was on the sideline on Saturday but he was not suited up, wearing only his No. 6 jersey over a hoodie.

Game time for the Sunflower Showdown will be announced later today or Sunday.

Here's a look at some of the more notable and interesting moments from Saturday's tough loss to Texas Tech.


• Devin Neal does more damage: The KU junior started the day with 2,625 career rushing yards and in 8th place on KU’s all-time rushing list. By day’s end, he owned 5th place all by himself, passing KU legends John Riggins (7th) and Gale Sayers (6th) in the process. Clark Green had held fifth place with a career total of 2,754. But Neal is now up to 2,762 and has fourth place in his sights. He’ll need 312 more yards in the Jayhawks’ final three games this season (counting the bowl) to move past Laverne Smith, who racked up 3,074 rushing yards during his KU career from 1973-76. Neal’s biggest contribution on Saturday, other than continuing to make plays out of the Wildcat formation, was a wicked 60-yard TD run that got the Jayhawks on the board and breathed life back into the KU sideline and the stadium.

• KU’s defense stood up (until it didn't): It wasn’t just that they kept the Red Raiders to 16 points all afternoon, but also that the KU defense made some crucial stops in the fourth quarter to give the offense a chance. The first stop came with Tech driving into Kansas territory but settling for a 48-yard field goal try instead of getting closer or reaching the end zone. The field goal missed and five plays later KU was in the end zone. The next stop in the fourth came on the very next drive, when the Jayhawks’ held TTU just short of midfield to force a punt. Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire is known for going for it a lot on fourth down, but even while facing fourth-and-short, he elected to punt, choosing to give the ball back to Cole Ballard and put his trust in the Texas Tech defense instead of taking the gamble to go for it. Later, with the game on the line and KU trailing by 3, the Jayhawks got one more stop to get the ball back for the offense with 2:25 remaining. Kenny Logan Jr.’s huge third-down hit not only forced an incompletion but it also prevented what looked like it would’ve been enough for a first down by the Texas Tech wide receiver.

• Cole Ballard steps up: It was the definition of “next man up” but it was made all the more impressive by the fact that Ballard, the son of Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Ballard, was playing high school football at this time last year. When given the opportunity to relieve Bean on Saturday, Ballard took full advantage, making plays with his arm and his legs to give Kansas a chance. His final stats won’t wow you — 9 of 20 for 124 yards and an interception along with 47 yards gained while running the ball — but his poise, competitiveness and fight was impressive and gave the Jayhawks a legitimate shot to win on a day when they looked flat to start and dead in the water entering the fourth quarter.


• Ballard’s bad-break interception: Ballard had a pretty good day all in all, but his third-quarter interception was entirely his fault. A solid play call on first down after the possession change, left tight end Jared Casey wide open down the seam. Ballard saw him and put the ball on him. It was a hair underthrown and Casey had to slow down to go up and get it, but he did. On the way down, though, the normally sure-and-strong-handed Casey had the ball ripped away from him, leading to the interception on Ballard’s final line.

• Goal line sequence late in 1st half & again late in the game: After Ballard drove the Jayhawks from their own 1-yard line to the brink of a touchdown, Kansas ran not one but two dives up the middle out of the pistol formation on third and fourth and goal. Both were stuffed and the Jayhawks’ came away empty despite Ballard orchestrating a strong drive that traveled 98 yards but came up just one yard short. That left KU trailing 10-0 headed into halftime. Some might’ve called for the field goal on fourth-and-goal – especially with a third-string QB running the offense. But I liked the call to go for it. I just didn’t necessarily like the play calls.

• Field position battle: This one favored Texas Tech all afternoon and it just seemed that KU could never get it flipped. The Red Raiders had drives that started at midfield, their own 44, their own 33, their own 42, the KU 36 and their own 37. The Red Raiders’ three scoring drives started either in KU territory or near midfield. Kansas meanwhile, did not get a drive to start anywhere better than its own 25-yard line until their first touchdown drive, which started at the KU 30 after a TTU punt.


• Tanaka Scott drops: He hasn’t played a ton this season, but he got a chance on Saturday and he had a couple of moments he’d probably like to forget. Both were flat-out dropped passes on well thrown balls by Ballard. The first killed a drive completely. The second was erased by a big time throw and catch by Ballard to Lawrence Arnold on the very next play that put KU into Texas Tech territory, driving for a potential go-ahead touchdown. KU entered Saturday with just six or seven drops all season and Scott had two of them

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