Controversial Loss for Kansas

On a critical third down and seven with just more than two minutes left in the game, Brian Luke completed a pass to Charles Gordon for 16 yards and an apparent first down that would have allowed Kansas to grind the clock down as the #6 ranked Texas Longhorns had only one timeout left.

The official threw a flag and called offensive pass interference on Gordon. What might have been the game-winning first down was instead called back for a third down and 20. Gordon protested profusely, but to no avail.

But what really happened? By looking at the replay, it appeared that the defensive back closed on Gordon and put his hands on the Kansas sophomore. Gordon used a ‘swim move,' a maneuver that involves sliding a player's hands away and Gordon came up with a diving catch.

Forced into conservative mode, Clark Green ran up the middle for a loss of one yard. Texas received the ball back with slightly less than two minutes left in the game, and through some magic in Vince Young's arm and legs, drove down the field and threw a 21-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds left to give Texas its 27-23 margin of victory.

In the post game press conference, an angered Mark Mangino was quick to question the call.

"Normally I give credit to our opponents, but I'm not going to do that today because our kids outplayed them.

"The whole nation watched that play, I don't need to get any feedback. People who sat and watched the game on FOX today in their living rooms, they'll be the judge of that call. It's called BCS, keep that in mind.

"It's the toughest (loss this season) because we deserved to win the game. There's been some tough losses where the opponents outplayed us at the end, we got outworked in the end. We deserved to win the game today."

Mangino moved on to talk about Gordon's maneuver.

"He executed a move that's taught by every offensive coach in America. The guy got into his body He made a swim move, which is taught by every wide receivers coach in America, NFL, high school and college.

"(He took it) terrible. He's one of the best players in the conference, he knows how to play football.

"You know what this is all about don't you? That's right, BCS. That's what made a difference today in the game. That's what made a difference in the call in front of the bench. Dollar signs."

Mangino was then asked if he felt the wrong could be righted through the conference office to some sort of satisfaction.

"You kidding me? There's no way. I hope that gentleman right there (Lew Perkins) can help me. I don't know if he can either because they're not going to change the call or anything but all of America sat at home and watched the play. All the college football fans who watched the game today, we'll let them be the judge about that call.

"And 10,000 bucks, 10,000 bucks. I got a team to fight for, I've got a football team to fight for and I'm not going to be pushed around or this university pushed around because we're not the big spenders, we're not the big BCS team in the league. I'm not going to put up with that. You guys have sat here for three years, have I ever made a mistake about losing a game?"

And that wasn't the only call that rankled Mangino.

"That's one call. I had to give up talking to those guys because the game was on national TV and I didn't want to make it seem like I was more worried about the officials than I am about coaching the game, so I had to surrender after awhile."

$10,000 is the conference fine for speaking out against officiating in a public media setting. Mangino said he and the official who made the call had a past history. The official flagged Mangino along the sideline of the Oklahoma game.

"He's the guy who threw the flag on me, he told me not to step on the field. I stepped back and said I'm not standing on the field. He threw a flag, I asked him why, he said your body's gyrating. Apparently that's a penalty."

Lost in the shuffle were outstanding performances by both key offensive and defensive players.

Brian Luke relieved an injured John Nielsen (marking the third straight game Kansas has lost a starting quarterback) and passed for 225 yards and a touchdown. Combined with Neilsen, the two quarterbacks passed for over 300 yards.

Also heading up the offensive performance was Mark Simmons, who finished the game with eight catches for 135 yards, including a 73-yard catch where he was tackled on the one-yard line.

"Mark played really well," Mangino said. "The kind of guy Mark Simmons is, he made all those great plays I grabbed him after the game to hug him and congratulate him, but he said I'm sorry about the fumble. I said shoot, our defense went out and stuffed them anyway, it didn't mean anything."

The defense allowed just 13 points through three quarters, although Texas did put up 396 yards of total offense through three. The difference was in the field position. Texas would often drive down the field only to find the defense stiffen on the other side of the 50.

Flying to the ball were linebackers Nick Reid, 14 tackles, Gabe Toomey, seven tackles and Kevin Kane, six tackles. When Texas broke big plays, Charles Gordon, 11 tackles and Rodney Harris, 10 tackles, stopped big gains from being huge gains. Charlton Keith had two sacks and four tackles for loss while Reid chipped in three more.

But in the fourth quarter, Vince Young and the Texas offense took over. Texas rolled up almost 200 total yards and 14 points in the final stanza to rally from a late deficit.

At 6-5 230 pounds, Young was too elusive to put a hit on, too powerful to be arm-tackled and accelerated by many a Kansas defender. He finished with 289 yards passing and 114 yards rushing. Other than the final touchdown pass, Young ran in the score to make it a three point game late in the fourth quarter from 18 yards out. On Texas' final touchdown drive, Young burst for 22 yards on a fourth and 18 to help set up the game-winning touchdown.

Focused on other events, Mangino would not elaborate on Young's breathtaking performance.

"Yeah, it was good," Mangino said.

Cedric Benson continued Texas' streak of being undefeated when he rushes for more than 100 yards. He finished with 161 yards and a touchdown on the ground, setting an NCAA record by scoring in his 36th career game. Tony Jeffery chipped in 131 yards receiving on seven catches.

Johnny Beck was 3-4 on field goals on his senior day.

The Jayhawks 3-7 (1-6) will finish up the season against the Missouri Tigers in Columbia.

"We'll be ready to go," Mangino said.

****

Editor's Note:

A few hours after the completion of the game head coach Mark Mangino released the following statement.

"After an emotional loss, in our seniors last home game, I made remarks that I regret. Any implications that BCS standings played a role in Saturday afternoons game was inappropriate. I have always supported the BCS system and will continue to do so."

KU athletics director, Lew Perkins added the following. "I support Coach Mangino as our football coach and I also support the integrity of all of the individuals associated with the Big 12 Conference."


Phog.net Top Stories