Kansas falls late to NIU

By Pat Strathman

Everything seemed to going well for the Kansas football team going into the final quarter against Northern Illinois.

After restricting the Northern Illinois offense from scoring in the third quarter, junior cornerback Tyler Patmon capitalized on an early opportunity in the fourth. A wobbly pass by Northern Illinois junior quarterback Jordan Lynch went toward Patmon and Patmon intercepted the ball and took off toward the endzone for a pick six. After the missed PAT, the Jayhawks led by 10.

With all the momentum, the Jayhawks looked to be on their way to their first road victory since 2009.

That all changed with one play. Quarterback Lynch threw a quick strike to senior wide receiver Martel Moore that went for a 65-yard touchdown and the momentum that the Jayhawks had was canceled out. Kansas couldn’t regain the momentum and the Jayhawks fall to Northern Illinois 30-23.

“That was the critical time of a game offensively,” said coach Charlie Weis. “You have to get something going and that just didn’t happen.”

The opportunities were there for the offense, but the Jayhawks couldn’t capitalize. On fourth down on the 29-yard line with 10 minutes left in the game, senior quarterback Dayne Crist dropped back to throw. Senior wide receiver Kale Pick streaked down the field and Crist threw a deep pass to his teammate.

Only issue was that the ball sailed and missed Pick.

“He just missed him,” Weis said. “It’s unfortunate because he was wide open.”

The defense had its opportunity to stop Northern Illinois, but struggled. In the fourth quarter, Northern Illinois gained 191 total yards while only having 264 yards in the first three quarters. The main offensively threat was junior quarterback Jordan Lynch. Lynch threw for 235 yards and scored twice while also gaining 134 yards on the ground.

For Kansas, the offense stalled, only gaining 39 total yards in the fourth quarter. Dayne Crist completed 10 passes on 26 attempts for 147 yards and was sacked four times. Junior running back James Sims returned after a three-game suspension. He had 18 carries for 91 yards and two touchdowns.

Still, with a two-score lead, Kansas couldn’t find a way to get the victory and head back home with a 1-3 record.

“It’s upsetting that we weren’t mentally tough to finish a game like that with a two-score lead,” Crist said. “Comes down to making plays and we didn’t.”

Kansas will be taking this next week off because of a bye week.