One reason I watched it twice was to try and pick apart why KU had to work so hard for this 35-28 win. The answer: because Southern Mississippi is a really talented and well-coached football team that knew exactly what weaknesses to exploit.
Reason number two was so I could look once again and make sure that I
saw what I thought I saw during a very tight, exciting second half.
What I thought I saw were big open spaces in the student section. Sure
enough, I did. This begs the question, why? The answer: I have no
Apparently a significant number of KU students have become so used to
winning and winning big that they don't really see a lot of benefit to
sticking around for the second half of a game, even if the score was
21-14 at the half.
Maybe they assumed Todd Reesing would go absolutely nuts in the second
half and that the KU defense would start channeling the Pittsburgh
Steel Curtain defenses – which they did at some key junctures – and
that KU would pull away, 48-21.
I suppose it's hard to argue that the second half of a 48-10 blowout of
some directional school doesn't hold much entertainment value. Winning
big and losing big both can be tedious from the stands. A lot of KU
fans have seen both.
Back in the old, old days – I'm talking all the way back to the 1980s
and most of the 90s here, if you can imagine that – Jayhawk
fans took a lot of crap from opposing fans for what was known as the
Jayhawk Walk. It usually happened shortly after halftime. Back then,
most KU fans stuck around to see and hear the band. It was usually the
most well-executed and most entertaining part of the game.
When the second half started, KU was typically down two or three
touchdowns – four or five if Nebraska or Oklahoma was in town – and the
26,000 or so fans in attendance stuck around into the third quarter.
As soon as the Jayhawks' opponent scored to put them down one more
score, the migration started. Suddenly the aisles at Memorial Stadium
looked like the scene in "The Ten Commandments" when Moses led the
Hebrews out of Egypt. All the scenario needed was some livestock and
Now that KU is winning, in a bizarre twist, the Jayhawk Walk occurs
during and sometimes even before halftime.
I don't get it; after all, it's tough to beat a beautiful fall day at
Memorial Stadium . But last Saturday, I really didn't get it. You don't
leave the stadium at halftime of a 21-14 game against a quality
opponent. You just don't. It's a slap in the face to the KU team – both
teams, in fact – and an insult to what head coach Mark Mangino has
Maybe KU students don't like having the sun in their eyes during the
second half. May they're afraid The Hawk and The Wheel are going to run
out of beer. Maybe KU students still simply aren't knowledgeable
football fans. I don't know.
What I do know is that it looks bush league. Students, it looks like
you either don't understand or, worse yet, don't care.
Barring an unexpected loss to rebuilding Iowa State in the
friendly confines or a bad Colorado team in a half-empty, mostly-stoned
Folsom Field, the Jayhawks will start preparing for the biggest game in
the history of the program. Kansas will be 6-0, on the brink of a
top-10 ranking and awaiting the Oklahoma Sooners.
I guess it's good to know that if the Jayhawks manage to come out of
that match-up with a potentially program-changing win, there will be
2,000 or so bandwagon students who are primed to celebrate. After all,
they will have been in that comfy corner booth at The Wheel for the
entire second half.
The Jayhawk Walk Is Back!
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