Coming off a 28-25 loss to Kansas a year ago, Tech was able to avenge its loss when it played the Jayhawks on Sept. 17 in Bobby Dodd Stadium. The Jackets were sharp in their run and pass games, controlled the clock efficiently and reached the end zone on several occasions to dismantle Kansas in a 66-24 victory, improving to 3-0 on the season.
Tech had a school record 768 yards of offense, with 164 of those yards coming from the passing game. The remaining 604 yards came on the ground, also setting a school record. The Jackets broke a 38-year-old NCAA record of yards per carry in a single game, averaging 12.1 yards per carry on 50 attempts.
Tech had six different players elude the Kansas defense on their way to the end zone. Meanwhile, Tech’s defense contained Kansas’ offense to 362 total yards after the Jayhawks amassed 534 yards against Northern Illinois in their previous outing.
“[We had] a lot of big plays. It was fun. Especially after [the loss] last year, it was fun,” said Head Coach Paul Johnson.
Kansas received the game’s opening kickoff but was quickly forced to punt the ball. A 17-yard pass by Kansas sophomore quarterback Jordan Webb to junior wide receiver D.J. Beshears was the first and only big play of the drive, as Tech’s defense contained the Kansas offense afterward.
A 44-yard Kansas punt put the Tech offense at their own five-yard line. Junior A-back Orwin Smith took a handoff from redshirt junior quarterback Tevin Washington on a counter play and ran 95 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest running play in Tech history and marked the third time this season that Tech has scored on its first offensive play in a game.
The Jayhawks answered on their second series with a 10-play 62-yard drive, capped with a 10-yard run touchdown by freshman running back Darrian Miller.
Tech started its next drive from its own 17-yard line. Five plays for 54 yards, a sack for a loss of 11 yards and an incomplete pass by Washington resulted in a 37-yard punt that was downed at the Kansas three by redshirt sophomore defensive back Jemea Thomas.
The Jayhawks struggled to get outside of their own ten-yard line, amassing only four yards, and had to punt. Freshman kick returner Zach Laskey returned the ball into Kansas territory, going 12 yards to the Kansas 44.
On this drive, redshirt senior A-back Roddy Jones rushed for 33 yards to the Kansas 11. Jones eventually punched the ball in with a rush for four yards into the end zone, ending the first quarter with a 14-7 lead.
After the kickoff by the Jackets, the Jayhawks started on their own 29. With a balanced attack of 31 yards on the ground and 29 through the air, Kansas was able to rush 11 yards to the end zone to tie the score.
Tech responded with a five-play, 72-yard touchdown drive that ended in a 19-yard rush by sophomore B-back David Sims.
Kansas attempted to answer but could not get past the Jackets’ defense. After Webb was sacked by redshirt sophomore linebacker Brandon Watts on third down, Kansas took a delay-of-game penalty and then punted the ball 44 yards for a touchback.
The Jackets capitalized on Kansas’ errors and a 41-yard pass from Washington to Smith set Tech up for a 24-yard field goal to increase the Jackets’ lead to ten.
To end the second quarter, a Webb-to-Beshears connection for 42 yards allowed Kansas to kick a field goal and decrease Tech’s lead to 24-17.
Despite the close halftime score, Tech received the ball to start the second half and dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Jayhawks 28-0.
On the first play of the third quarter, senior A-back Embry Peeples ran 63 yards for a touchdown on a toss play.
The Jayhawks failed to answer, picking up only three yards before punting. The Jackets got the ball back, and after earning a first down, Washington completed a 67-yard touchdown pass to Smith to increase the lead to 38-17.
Kansas had an unsuccessful fourth down conversion and Tech capitalized with a 52-yard Washington-Jones connection for a touchdown. After the score, the Jackets led 45-17.
“We were spreading the love. When everybody’s touching the ball, everybody’s happy,” Washington said.
The Jackets continued to feed off of the Jayhawks’ sloppy play on both sides of the ball as Kansas could not muster any offensive production in their next possession. The Jackets scored on a 21-yard touchdown by Sims and brought the score to 52-17 at the end of the quarter.
Two possessions later, the Jackets started the fourth quarter at the Tech 47. Redshirt freshman quarterback Synjyn Days came in to lead the team and kept the ball on the majority of the carries. To cap off the drive, Days scored a two-yard touchdown on the Jackets’ first possession of the quarter.
The struggling Jayhawks were forced off the field after their fifth three-and-out of the half.
After the punt, the Jackets marched down the field with most of the rushes coming from reserves such as Days, redshirt freshman B-back Charles Perkins and redshirt sophomore A-back Robert Godhigh. Perkins capped the eight-play, 75-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run, bringing the score to 66-17.
On the next Kansas possession, the Jayhawks finally showed a spark on offense. Senior quarterback Quinn Mecham, in the game to replace Webb, threw two completions each to sophomore wide receiver Andrew Turzill and freshman tight end Jimmay Mundine. Mecham capped the drive with a 10-yard completion to Turzill for a touchdown, setting the final score at 66-24.
The Jackets outscored the Jayhawks 42-7 in the second half after a tight start to the game. With the record-setting performance, the Jackets continue to lead the nation in total yards per game, rushing yards per game and points per game.
The Jackets will next take on North Carolina at home on Saturday, Sept. 24 in their first conference game.