LAWRENCE, Kan. — Charlie Weis has been waiting for a signature moment, one that he could look back upon as the time when his rebuilding job at Kansas finally moved to a different level.
He thinks it just may have come on a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon.
The Jayhawks were tied 10-all with Louisiana Tech in the waning minutes of their final non-conference game. The Bulldogs were driving for a go-ahead score. Suddenly, Weis saw the ball pop out onto the artificial turf, and one of his big defensive linemen pick it up.
Instead of facing down its 23rd straight loss to a Football Bowl Subdivision team, Kansas had some hope. Just over 90 seconds later, walk-on kicker Matthew Wyman booted a 52-yard field goal as time expired to give the Jayhawks a dramatic 13-10 victory.
“I’d like to win every game by four touchdowns and breathe easy. I’m too old, I’m in crummy shape — I don’t need that,” Weis said. “But I tell you what: That might be the best thing that happens to our team, winning a game like that. That might be the best thing.”
That’s because it was precisely the kind of game Kansas has failed to win.
While going 1-11 in Weis’ first season, the Jayhawks gave up the final 12 points in a 25-24 loss to Rice; the final 17 points in a 30-23 loss to Northern Illinois; two fourth-quarter TDs in a 21-17 loss to Texas; and an two overtime touchdowns in a 41-34 loss to Texas Tech.
Just last week, the Jayhawks (2-1) led their rematch with Rice heading into the fourth quarter, but surrendered the final 10 points in a 24-13 defeat.
“I talked about last week’s disappointment. I felt it was a big difference between being disappointed and, ‘Oh well. We lost a close one,”’ Weis said. “They were disappointed. They went there expecting to win and they didn’t. They came back this week in the tank a little early, they worked themselves out of the tank, and there are a lot of happy guys there now.”