By Trevor Graff
Kansas fans left Memorial Stadium after Saturday’s matchup with the Rice Owls feeling a lot like the Jayhawk fans of old. The fans that spent the majority of their time breaking down losses and saying wait until next year.
Chris Boswell, the Owls’ Lou Groza Award watch list kicker, blasted a 45-yard field goal through the uprights with two seconds remaining to seal the Jayhawk loss 25-24. The Jayhawks led all but the first ten minutes of the game before losing on Boswell’s last second field goal.
“Clearly, my biggest disappointment is that we didn’t finish,” said head coach Charlie Weis. “The whole motto for this week was about finishing games, because I didn’t think we finished last weeks game well either.”
The Jayhawks missed several opportunities to take a two-possession lead late in the game. The most notable of these misses came in the third quarter on a missed Ron Doherty 53-yard field goal attempt at the 5:26 mark in the third quarter. The kicking game continued to struggle after a missed 40-yard attempt by Doherty with 10:21 to play in the game.
The biggest play in the collapse may have come from Dayne Crist. With less than four minutes left Crist dropped back and gambled on a pass into double coverage. The Owls’ corner Bryce Callahan picked the pass off to set up the game ending drive from their own 47-yard line.
In missing these opportunities KU continually put the defense on the field in poor field position and ultimately kept Rice in the game.
“The number one thing they have to understand is it’s not okay to lose,” Weis said. “When things don’t go well you have to accept accountability. Once we do that, we can turn the program in the right direction.”
Weis said all three facets of the team had the opportunity to close the game but didn’t do it. Weis blamed himself but expects the team to be accountable throughout the week.
“From an offensive stand point, we didn’t finish,” said Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist. “We didn’t make enough plays to win the game. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing.”
The Jayhawk defense also had the opportunity to make big plays.
“We had the opportunity to end the game,” defensive end Toben Opurum said. “The game’s over if we make one play.”
Crist said now the focus would shift to the TCU game Saturday.
“You have to give it to Rice,” Cornerback Greg Brown said. “They competed until the end.”