Facing a 17-0 deficit late in the 3rd quarter with the Kansas offense going nowhere fast, Jayhawks coach Charlie Weis desperate for a spark for his reeling team, benched starting quarterback Dayne Crist in favor of redshirt freshman Michael Cummings and instantly, there was life.
Cummings would spark the team together with sensational running back James Sims, only to have a roughing the punter penalty seal KU's fate, as Oklahoma State escaped Lawrence with a 20-14, Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
The Jayhawks fall to 1-5 (0-2). Oklahoma State improves to 3-2 (1-1). It was clear after that for the first time this season, the Jayhawks couldn't be accused of not showing fight in the fourth quarter.
"It's the first time I think we won the fourth quarter. That's the major difference from all those other games," Weis said. "All those other games, we didn't win the fourth quarter, so I think that we certainly won the fourth quarter today."
When the redshirt freshman Cummings replaced the ineffective Crist, the Jayhawks trailed 20-0. On his second series, he found tight end Jimmay Mundine on a 21yard pass to cut the lead down to 20-7.
A three and out on OSU's next series gave Kansas the ball back with 9:34 to play. Sims would cap off a two play, 73 yard drive with a 30-yard touchdown run to make it 20-14.
Kansas would get the ball back, but on 4th and 5 from the Cowboys 41, Cummings missed running back Brandon Bourbon, turning the ball over. KU had one more chance, forcing a Cowboy punt, but a roughing the punter penalty would clinch a Cowboy victory.
While Cummings sparked the Kansas offense, it was the defense that gave them a chance to win. Coming into the game, the Cowboys were averaging a Big 12 high 669 yards of total offense and 56 points per game .On Saturday, KU held them to 371 total yards and a season low 20 points.
"If you had told me before the game that we were going to hold them to 20 points, sign me up a hundred out of a hundred times," Weis said.
The Jayhawk defense also held Cowboys running back Joseph Randle to 86 yards on 29 carries.
"That's an incredible feat. He's one of the top running backs in our league," linebacker Huldon Tharp said.
The game was delayed an hour and 19 minutes late in the first quarter because of lightning. After both teams returned, Oklahoma State showed no rust, as they got on the board first on a four-yard touchdown run by quarterback J.W. Walsh midway through the second quarter. Quinn Sharp's 49-yard field goal late would give the Pokes a 10-0 halftime lead.
"We knew coming into the game that there might be a chance for that to happen, so we prepared our minds for that," Walsh said.
Oklahoma State would make it 17-0 with 11:50 to play in the third quarter, when Walsh hit receiver Charlie Moore on a 72-yard pass play to make it 17-0. Sharp would make it 20-0 early in the fourth on a 42-yard field goal.
The comeback attempt would begin on the following drive, keyed by Sims, who finished with 27 carries for 142 yards. Cummings went five for 10 for 75 yards and a touchdown and did enough to make many wonder the job should be his, next week at Oklahoma.
"Michael Cummings is a great player," Sims said."He works hard and he practices hard and tonight he got the opportunity and he was able to show what he can do."