It’s no secret that Kansas football has been in a slump for seven seasons. There’s a buzz in Lawrence surrounding football this summer, and it’s something that’s been missed.
Everyone is ready for the team to be successful and win us some games this season, something that’s been lacking lately. As we go into the eighth season, with the possibility for our best record since 2009, the last season of the Mark Mangino era, we’re going to dip into the wins that we’ve had since 2009 and take a look back at the Top Five football games since Mangino’s departure.
5) KU vs. Georgia Tech – September 11th, 2010
Final Score: 28-25
Kansas came out hungry. One week after possibly the most embarrassing loss in program history, a 6-3 loss to North Dakota State in Turner Gill’s coaching debut, the Jayhawks were faced with playing the 15th ranked Yellow Jackets. Looking to snap an 8 game losing streak that dated back to Mangino’s final season, Kansas came out with a purpose and they delivered. Jordan Webb threw for 3 TD’s in his first start and Kansas had it’s biggest win since the 2008 Orange Bowl. This game was also the last time Kansas football has beaten a ranked opponent. For this reason, it comes in at #5.
4) KU vs. West Virginia – November 16th, 2013
Final Score: 31-19
The final score of this game didn’t reflect how much Kansas dominated this game, which wasn’t something that could have been said of conference games in quite a while. This game marked the first conference win since 2010, and effectively ended West Virginia’s chances at a bowl game. James Sims rushed for 211 yards and 3 TD’s. The other big highlight was the beginning of Freshman QB Montell Cozart’s career with Kansas, and it got off to a very promising start (Despite how it ended).
3) KU vs. Northern Illinois – September 11th, 2011
Final Score: 45-42
I bet most of you forgot about this one. I don’t think Kansas has produced this many points against an FBS opponent since this game. This was a back-and-forth slugfest in a game full of offense. QB Jordan Webb completed 21/30 passes for 281 yards and 3 TD’s. This was a talented Northern Illinois team who had won 11 games the previous season and was in the Orange Bowl the following season. The game had an epic finale with a 4th down conversion inside the 10 yard line that led to a 6 yard touchdown pass to WR D.J. Beshears with :09 seconds left on the clock. This was the first 2 game winning streak since Mangino and would mark the last FBS victory for quite a while.
2) KU vs. Colorado – November 6th, 2010
Final Score: 52-45
The biggest comeback in Kansas Football history. That’s all I need to say. This early November game was one of the greatest comebacks I’ve ever seen, in any sport. 35 unanswered fourth quarter points, a 28 point comeback, and a broken up pass in the endzone as time expired. This game had so many great things about it, it’s hard for me to not put it at number one. Colorado collapsed almost as hard as any team I’ve ever seen, and for the first time on this list, we were the cause of a head coach getting fired. James Sims, arguably one of the best running backs that Kansas has seen, emerged in this game with 4 touchdowns. If you weren’t at this game, it’s extremely hard to describe what you missed, but I urge you to find highlights from it and just take in what happened on that fall afternoon.
1) KU vs. Texas – November 20th, 2016
Final Score: 24-21 (OT)
Now while you may not have remembered the last two, everyone should remember this. Kansas beat Texas in football. I’m gonna tell you a story. My friend was late for the game, and after Texas scored on a 75 yard TD pass to open the game, I told him to not even bother coming into the stadium. I’m so glad I was wrong. The defense forced 6 turnovers and finished off a game in the right way, completing an 11-point fourth comeback and forcing OT with very little time remaining. After a Mike Lee interception, Matthew Wyman hit his third field goal of the game, redeemed himself after his late miss against TCU, and ultimately helped Kansas complete one of the biggest upsets of the college football season. Carter Stanley was a hero, David Beaty earned the trust of the Jayhawk Nation, and the Kansas faithful had something to be proud of. It was the first time we had beat Texas since 1938, and ultimitately led to the firing of Charlie Strong. Hopefully we can look back and identify that win as the turning point for the Kansas football program.