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KU aims to end 76-year drought against Texas
Big 12 Conference
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LAWRENCE — It’s been more than seven decades since Kansas last beat Texas.
Lots of things have changed dramatically during that time — even the game of football.
Three yards and a cloud of dust? More like spread ‘em out and throw it all over.
One thing that hasn’t changed has been the Longhorns’ dominance in that matchup.
Kansas won the first meeting between the two in 1901, the highlight of a schedule that included Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. The Jayhawks won the next meeting on Sept. 24, 1938.
Since then it’s been all Longhorns — 11 straight victories, most of them lopsided.
“Obviously this is a big week for our program,” said Kansas coach Charlie Weis, who will take his third shot Saturday at beating Texas. “Twenty-five percent of our kids are from the state of Texas. It’s homecoming. I’m sure there’s nothing earth-shattering that Texas is looking at, coming off a bye week.
“We’re going to have to play really, really well to have a chance.”
That long drought is somewhat misleading, considering the schools didn’t play each other for 58 years. But ever since the Big 12 began play in 1996, Kansas has usually been a whipping boy for Texas.
There was the 66-14 pasting in 2005. There was the 35-7 rout in 2008. There were scores of 51-20 in 2009, and 43-0 in 2011, when Turner Gill was on his way out as the Kansas coach.
Things have been marginally better since Weis arrived at Kansas, though.
Even though the Jayhawks only managed one victory in 2012, they nearly pulled off a monumental upset of the Longhorns. Texas scored early in the first quarter, but the Jayhawks answered with back-to-back touchdowns, and maintained a 14-7 lead into the fourth quarter. Texas tied the game, and Kansas kicked a go-ahead field goal to keep the pressure on.
It wasn’t until Colt McCoy’s touchdown pass with 12 seconds left that Texas finally escaped.
“The game was really close and like we’ve said, the fight really starts in the fourth quarter,” Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said. “At some point, guys have to step up.”
The Longhorns had trouble with Kansas for much of last year’s game, too. The Texas lead was just 14-3 at halftime, and the Jayhawks added a field goal to claw closer. Texas answered with three straight touchdowns in the second half, cruising in the fourth quarter to a 35-13 victory.
Once again, Kansas wasn’t able to step up when the game was on the line.
Still, this isn’t the same old Texas — Mack Brown is no longer on the sideline, and new coach Charlie Strong has dismissed a slew of players. Nor does it seem like the same old Kansas.
After playing Central Michigan tough for three quarters last week, the Jayhawks finally showed up in the final 15 minutes, pulling away for a confidence-building 24-10 victory.
“This last game, on offense and defense, we were able to step up,” Bowen said, “and hopefully now our guys have some success finishing a game in the fourth quarter. Instead of waiting for something to happen, our guys understand you have to make something happen.”