LAWRENCE, Kan. Down to the final play of the game with two seconds remaining on the clock, freshman kicker Matthew Wyman lofted a 52-yard field goal from the left hash mark to give the Jayhawks a 13-10 victory over Louisiana Tech Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
Wyman's kick gave Kansas (2-1) its first lead of the contest when it mattered most and gave the Jayhawks their first walk-off win since Scott Webb kicked a field goal to push KU past Iowa State in 2005. The kick was also the first 50-yard make for KU since 2009 and moved the Jayhawks to 3-1 in meetings with Louisiana Tech (1-3, 0-1 CUSA).
Wyman's kick capped 10 unanswered points by the Jayhawks following a fourth-quarter fumble by the Bulldogs on the one-yard line that proved to be the momentum changer of the game. It was the first of two Louisiana Tech fumbles inside the five in the fourth quarter.
On the ensuing Kansas possession, KU drove 80 yards on eight plays that ended with Jake Heaps found Jimmay Mundine for a 22-yard touchdown connection to tie the game at 10
LA Tech strung together an 80-yard drive of its own late in the fourth quarter, but a fumble by Kenneth Dixon gave KU the ball back on its own 5-yard line with 1:33 left in the game. The Jayhawks then drove 60 yards to set-up the game-winning field goal for Wyman.
Kansas recorded 396 yards of total offense, 117 rushing and 279 in the air, compared to the 443 yards recorded by LA Tech.
Heaps completed a career-high 28 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown. Tony Pierson was the Jayhawks leading receiver with nine catches for 82 yards, while Brandon Bourbon added seven for 47 yards.
On defense, Victor Simmons and Ben Heeney each recorded a game-high 10 tackles, while Dexter McDonald added two more pass breakups to his nation-leading mark in the passes defended column of six. The tackles were a career high for Simmons, who also recorded two tackles for loss.
KU opened the game with a 43-yard drive, thanks to Pierson combining for 33 with three rushes and a completion. However, the Jayhawk offense failed to convert on a short fourth and three from the LA Tech 33, turning the ball over on downs.
The Kansas defense had no trouble finding a rhythm on the ensuing Bulldog possession, as the squad allowed just one yard and forced a LA Tech punt. The unit continued to shine on LA Tech's next possession after Heeney recorded his first career interception for the team's fourth on the season.
Heaps threw an interception of his own on the next drive, leading to a 57-yard drive by the Bulldogs that resulted in a touchdown from Ryan Higgins to Hunter Lee, putting LA Tech on top 7-0 as the first quarter came to a close.
After back-to-back missed field goals, one by KU's Wyman and the other by LA Tech's Kyle Fischer, the Jayhawks drove the ball 58 yards late in the second quarter to score their first points of the game on a make by Wyman. The Bulldogs answered back with another 60-yard drive, however, another missed field goal by Fischer ended the half with a score of 7-3, in favor of LA Tech.
Fischer gave Louisiana Tech a 10-3 lead early in the third quarter with a 39-yard field goal, but that was it for the scoring in the third frame as both teams jockeyed for field position. Kansas punter Trevor Pardula booted a 78-yard punt â€“ eighth-longest in school history â€“ and added a 65-yard kick in the third quarter, part of a single-game, school-record effort of 57.6 yards per punt.
Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon, a freshman All-American a year ago, rushed for a game-high 129 yards and Bulldog freshman quarterback Ryan Higgins completed 35-of-55 passes for 289 yards. DJ Banks tied Pierson for the game-high with 82 yards, while hauling in 13 passes.
The Jayhawks return to the gridiron in two weeks for homecoming weekend, Saturday, Oct. 5, and open Big 12 play against Texas Tech.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.
Kansas leads the series 3-1 after four meetings and have won three straight against Louisiana Tech. Head coach Charlie Weis improved to 1-0 against Louisiana Tech. Â
KANSAS CAPTAINS: Jake Heaps(QB), Ben Heeney (LB), James Sims (RB), Keon Stowers (DE)
DEBUTS AT KU: None.
FIRST TIME STARTERS AT KU: Offense - Dylan Admire (OL), Rodriguez Coleman (WR), Riley Spencer (RT)
*LA Tech won the toss and defered until the second half. KU received and defended the north end zone.Â
*For the ninth-straight game, Kansas' opponent scored first and the Jayhawks trailed at the end of the first quarter.
*Kansas is yet to score a touchdown or field goal in the first quarter.
*LA Tech's field goal in the third quarter was the first points allowed by the KU defense in the third quarter this season.
*It was the first time since 2005 that the KU won a game on the final play of the game. The last time was against Iowa State after a Scott Webb, 34-yard field goal gave the Jayhawks a 24-21 win in overtime.Â
*Heaps' 28 completions against LA Tech was more than he completed in the first two games combined and set a new single-game best for the junior. His previous best was 27 completions at BYU, which was set in 2010 against Utah State.
*In the third quarter, Rodriguez Coleman recorded his first catch as a Jayhawk, a 12-yard pass from Jake Heaps. He finished the game with two catches for 30 yards in his first career start. Â
*James Sims rushed for 78 yards against the Bulldogs and moved into fourth place on the KU rushing charts with 2,763 yards. Sims passed Clark Green (2,754) and now looks to become the only the fourth Jayhawk to reach 3,000 yards in his career.Â
*Jimmay Mundine's touchdown in the fourth quarter was his first of the season and fourth of his career. The 22-yard touchdown pass from Heaps tied the game with a little less than 10 minutes to play in the game.
*Cornerback Dexter McDonald entered the game tied for the nation's lead in passes defended with six total. He recorded two broken up passes bringing his 2013 total to eight passes defended seven pass break-ups and one interception. Â
*Junior nickelback Victor Simmons recorded his first career sack on LA Tech's second drive of the game - a nine-yard loss that forced the Bulldogs to punt the ball. He tied for the team lead with 10 tackles, which was a new career-high. His previous personal best was eight tackles in the season opener against South Dakota. Simmons led the team with 2.0 tackles-for-loss.
*Junior Ben Heeney recorded his first career interception against the Bulldogs in the first quarter. It was KU's fourth interception of the season and first by the linebacker position group, with the defensive line and secondary also recording interceptions early in the season. Heeney finished tied for the team lead with 10 tackles, reaching double figures for the seventh time in his career.Â
*Senior defensive lineman Kevin Young recorded his first sack of the year in the third quarter. It was a tackle for a loss of 12 yards, which was the largest loss on a stop against the Bulldogs.
*Junior defensive back JaCorey Shepherd tallied a career-high eight tackles. Three of his eight stops were solo, while the other five were assisted. His previous best was four tackles in a game.Â
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
*Redshirt freshman kicker Matthew Wyman's game-winning field goal, a 52-yarder, was the longest of his career. He has converted 3-of-5 attempts on the year. Wyman's kick was the first 50+ field goal for the Jayhawks since Jacob Branstetter hit a 57-yard try against Oklahoma in 2009.Â
*Junior punter/kickoff specialist Trevor Pardula set a new school record for punting average in a game after averaging 57.6 yards on five punts. The previous high was 52.5 yards per punt by Ted Rohde on Oct. 2, 1954 versus Colorado. Additionally, three of Pardula's five punts were downed inside the 20.
*Pardula broke his previous career-long punt twice against LA Tech. First, he recorded a career-long 78-yard punt in the third quarter which tied for eighth longest in school history and was the longest Jayhawk boot since Rich Reith pinned K-State deep after a 78-yard punt Oct. 18, 1986. Later in the third quarter, he added a 65 yard kick. Pardula's previous best was 59-yarder against Rice.