Kansas cornerback Cobee Bryant knows a thing or two about pick-six interceptions and the exhilaration that comes with them.
So, when he saw his teammate and brother Kenny Logan Jr. catch a bouncing ball and head for the end zone on the first series of the second half during Saturday’s 38-27 KU victory over BYU, he couldn’t help but feel all kinds of excitement.
For one, Logan’s been dying to get into the end zone during his KU career. For two, Bryant said Logan told him earlier that day that he was going to get one against the Cougars.
There was, however, one problem with the story.
“How many games has he told you that before,” Bryant was asked by R1S1 Sports after the win.
“Every game,” he said, doubling over to contain his laughter. “Every game. But I kind of knew he was serious today because he was like, ‘Today’s the day. I’ve gotta get one today.’ And I was like, ‘All right, bet. I’m depending on you.’”
The two Jayhawk defensive backs who made by far the two biggest plays of Saturday’s win — Bryant’s hard hit early forced a fumble and the game’s first score — played a huge role in the KU secondary playing what head coach Lance Leipold said was its most physical game in his three years with the program.
While Bryant’s play was massive — “lightest guy on the field probably making the biggest hit of the day,” Leipold said after the win — it came early and the Cougars tied the game twice and actually held the lead at halftime, 17-14.
That’s what made Logan’s pick-six so huge.
With the Jayhawks trailing by three at the break and BYU getting the ball to open the second half, the table was set for the visitors to take a two-score lead and create some real concern on the Kansas sideline.
Logan knew the KU defense could not let that happen and did a good job of communicating that to the rest of his running mates.
“It’s all about momentum,” he told R1S1 after the win. “We knew coming out of half we had to swing it.”
On the third snap of the second half, Logan did exactly that, sprinting to the area where the ball had caromed off of teammates Jayson Gilliom and Kalon Gervin and swiping it out of mid-air at the BYU 30-yard line.
“In that moment, when I caught it running, I said, ‘I’m gonna go score,’” Logan told R1S1 Sports. “I’m gonna go score, I’m gonna ignite this team, ignite the game.’”
Just like that, instead of facing the potential of going down by 10, the Jayhawks were back in front. And it stayed that way the rest of the game, with KU maintaining a lead and BYU trying to play catch-up.
“That flipped it,” Logan said of the direction of the game.
Scoring the critical touchdown was only half of the significance of the moment for Logan. For most of his Kansas career, the KU safety has been talking about getting into the end zone. He did it a couple of years ago as a kick returner and has had a few chances in the secondary. But this was finally the day he found the end zone again.
“I was excited to get back in the end zone, man,” Logan said. “It’s been a while.”
More than that, it marked the first pick-six of Logan’s career — KU, high school, Pop Warner, everything.
Although the game was far from over when he crossed the goal line, the significance of the moment called for a quick celebration.
“He’s talked about this for years,” safety and roommate O.J. Burroughs said after Saturday’s win. “For years. So, to see it finally happen, I just smiled. I ran to the end zone and jumped on him because I know that moment meant the most to him. He was fired up, you know. When I jumped on him he kind of ran away, but he was just in the moment. He made a great play and I’m proud of him.”
After securing the ball at the 30, with a full head of steam, Logan raced down the KU sideline toward the north end zone and jumped over no one in particular around the 12- or 13-yard line.
“He made sure he was getting to that end zone,” Burroughs joked while reflecting on the play.
Asked about the Logan Leap that seemed unnecessary, the St. Augustine, Florida native admitted that it was a better-safe-than-sorry type of move.
“I went back and watched it and I said, ‘Ah, I didn’t even have to jump,’” Logan said, laughing at himself in the process. “But, in my mind, I was like, ‘I’m not going down.’”
So, what was the first thought that crossed his mind when he reached the end zone?
“I mean, do it again,” he said. “Let’s go do it again. I’m trying to do everything (with) film study to be in the right position so when that time comes it comes.”
Logan’s next opportunity for a pick-six will come next Saturday in Austin, Texas, where the Jayhawks (4-0) will take on the 3rd-ranked Texas Longhorns (4-0), who rolled over Baylor 38-6 on Saturday in Waco, Texas.
Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. central on ABC.
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