Texas Tech star quarterback Graham Harrell picked apart the KU secondary, completing 38 of 48 passes for 418 yards and five touchdowns. In all, the Red Raiders amassed 556 yards of total offense.
And just last week, OU’s Sam Bradford had a career day
against Kansas in the Sooners’ 45-31 victory, completing 36
of 53 through the air for 468 yards and three touchdowns.
But KU wasn’t favored to beat OU in Norman; the then-No. 19
Jayhawks were, however, slight favorites to beat No. 8 Texas Tech.
Mangino and the Jayhawks could only shake their heads in disbelief
after Texas Tech’s onslaught.
“I don’t think we played good fundamental football
on defense, particularly on the coverage aspect,” Mangino
said. “I thought we gave too much cushion to receivers. I
didn’t think we broke to the ball in the back end the way we
should. I felt there were instances where our defense was put in
position to take away some routes, but we took our eye off the key and
didn’t stay focused on exactly what we were supposed to do
When there’s many questions, who’s your go-to guy
for answers among the Jayhawk players? The answer is simple: you search
out junior safety Darrell Stuckey. Stuckey, who had 10 tackles on
Saturday, is KU’s renaissance man — a co-captain
and star player; a motivational speaker; a community leader; just a
personable young man who always has bright words to share.
Stuckey’s teammates hold him in high regard; they voted
him one of the most competitive players on the roster and one
of the most likely to succeed. He was also voted the nicest player on
So like my media colleagues, I sought out Mr. Stuckey on Saturday in
hopes of hearing his insight after KU’s brutal defeat.
Calmly and patiently, Stuckey sat in his chair around a group of
reporters at Mrkonic Auditorium in the Anderson Family Football
Complex and thoughtfully discussed what had just transpired.
Stuckey said it was a “disappointment we never did anything
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been
beaten like that. Anytime you have so many things go wrong, you got to
become a better player. You got to become humble. You got to see that
maybe I’m not as good as I thought I was, maybe I’m
not doing something right. As a defense, we’ve got
to come together and close the zones, close the gaps.”
KU certainly didn’t close many gaps on Saturday. Harrell had
a field day, completing passes to 11 different receivers.
“Anytime you go one on one with somebody, it’s all
about who’s going to be the better man,” Stuckey
said. “It takes a mental attitude to play football,
especially on defense because you’re chasing somebody the
entire time. You have to realize there are going to be times when
you’re going to fail, but it’s what you do after
you get back up that defines who you are.”
The Jayhawks went into the game with a new lineup in the secondary with
Mangino hoping to improve cornerback play. Free safety Justin Thornton
switched to cornerback for the first time while regular cornerback
starter Chris Harris played safety. Corrigan Powell also made his first
start at cornerback, while speedy wide receiver Daymond Patterson
switched to defense and played backup cornerback.
Stuckey certainly wasn’t attributing the loss to his
teammates adjusting to new positions. But he said “confidence
is a big factor.”
“I think (we) have to realize we have each others’
backs, regardless,” Stuckey said. “You
can’t be afraid to fail. It’s when you’re
afraid to fail, you do fail because you’re thinking about it
Stuckey said there would a lot of soul searching with himself and his
“You start with yourself,” he said.
“Mental toughness, it goes a long way. You have to
play for pride. Going out there and knowing that it’s your
(responsibility), you can change. You can’t change the person
next to you ... We have to check ourselves and realize what we need to
do to get better.”
While KU’s 13-game home winning streak ended, Stuckey is
confident the Jayhawks will bounce back and play well against K-State
on Saturday in the Sunflower Showdown at Memorial Stadium. He said his
teammates weren’t shaken with the beating by Texas Tech, just
ready to fight harder and start another winning streak.
“It’s always a positive when a team has to come
here (to Memorial Stadium),” Stuckey said about next
week’s game. “We have to revamp and go strong and
play as hard as we can.”
"Confidence is a big factor"
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