LAWRENCE — Kansas coach Charlie Weis has a decision to make at quarterback.
He can go with Dayne Crist, the fifth-year senior and team captain who left Notre Dame to play for his old coach once Weis landed at Kansas in the offseason. Or he can go with redshirt freshman Michael Cummings, who showed some promise in yet another loss for the Jayhawks (1-5) over the weekend.
Facing a possible shutout on Saturday against Oklahoma State, Weis benched Crist after three unproductive quarters where he had only 136 yards on 10-of-22 passing.
Cummings came in and led two scoring drives in the final four possessions to put Kansas in a position to win. He was 5 of 10 for 75 yards and a touchdown — not only putting the Jayhawks in position to win but Weis in the position of having to defuse any quarterback controversy.
“I think you have to honestly evaluate where you are right now and what gives you the best chance to win, and whatever that answer is, that is what we will do,” he said.
Crist brings more experience. Cummings is more mobile and opens up the playbook.
Weis hasn’t picked a starter, publicly anyway, as his team prepares for a trip to No. 10 Oklahoma on Saturday.
“Let’s hope whoever goes in first plays so great that it makes it impossible for me to want to put the second guy in,” said Weis, who has also made recent changes at the kicker and punter positions.
Weis designed practice this week to give both quarterbacks equal snaps so they are both prepared for the game.
Crist has started all six games, with three touchdowns and seven interceptions on 88-of-178 passing (49 percent). Over two games, Cummings has completed half of his 14 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.
“I think that Michael deserves to play based on his recent performance,” Weis said.
When Cummings came in, the Jayhawks were down 20-0 with four failed fourth-down conversions. On his second possession, Cummings led a four-play drive capped with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jimmay Mundine. On the next possession, Cummings handed off to running back James Sims twice, and Sims scored.
Weis was impressed with the spark Cummings gave to the team. For the first time in three weeks, Kansas was in a position to win and Weis saw it.
“It was great to get a touchdown and fire the team back up and get the fans back into it,” Cummings said.
In his first game with significant playing time, Cumming said he looked to Crist on the sideline for support.
“If Dayne had his druthers, he would be playing every single play, but that is not going to change who Dayne is,” Weis said. “When Dayne isn’t in there he is going to be the first guy to try and help.”
For now, the team is looking for the quarterback who can lead them to a victory.
“Whoever goes in there, you’ve got to play as hard as you can for your quarterback and make plays for your team,” said wide receiver Kale Pick who was moved from quarterback last season.