Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Jayhawks, Weis Find Way to Rebound

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Jayhawks, Weis Find Way to Rebound

Article excerpt

LAWRENCE -- Just 18 seconds in on Saturday, Kansas scored a touchdown.

Tony Pierson, the fastest player on the roster, took a handoff and raced around the left side into the clear for a 74-yard touchdown.

Early on, the Jayhawks looked fresh, energized, superior.

As if there should be no referendum whatsoever on whether to retain Charlie Weis as coach.

Then, Kansas came down to earth and fans trudged up the Hill by halftime.

Playing even-steven with a MAC team that suspended its top offensive threat earlier in the week did not provide any kind of halftime jolt. A 27-minute delay to monitor storm clouds zapped Memorial Stadium of what minimal energy existed, even with KU ahead 7-3.

Yet the Jayhawks plugged away. Expanded their margin, actually, in the final quarter and beat Central Michigan, 24-10. The win was the third under Weis against a Bowl Subdivision opponent, and the most lopsided.

A 60-yard touchdown pass in which Justin McCay slipped free because of bad coverage, and bad tackling by the Chippewas' Dennis Nalor, provided KU its go-ahead touchdown with 13:23 remaining. A 30- yard TD pass from Montell Cozart to Corey Avery then capped the scoring with 1:58 left.

"The locker room was as happy of a locker room as we've had in a long time," Weis said. "Those guys knew that the fourth quarter, it really could have gone anyway now.

"They easily could have lost that game, but the fourth quarter they made a bunch of big plays -- turnovers on defense, stops, big plays on offense, both the play to McCay and the screen pass to Corey. The players are in good spirits, but they realize we've got a lot of work to do to have a chance to win next week at homecoming against Texas."

Put another way, the win did not furnish the evidence needed to declare KU better in the coach's third year.

But it was a win for KU. A win secured by holding the Chippewas to three first downs in the fourth quarter, while also recording two three-and-outs and an interception by JaCorey Shepherd.

Better than last week. Better than getting stomped 41-3 at Duke. …

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