Gill future unsure, Kansas loses 24-10 to Missouri
Turner Gill will join a whole bunch of Kansas fans in
The Jayhawks’ season ended on Saturday with a 24-10 loss to
Missouri in what may be the final edition of the 120-year-old
Border War rivalry, and now Gill’s future becomes the biggest
question surrounding the struggling Kansas program.
Gill is just 5-19 in two seasons at Kansas. Only one of those
wins was against a Big 12 team: Colorado, which fired coach Dan
Hawkins soon after the loss last season.
Gill said Saturday night that he was proud of how much heart his
players showed against the Tigers, and that he believes the team
has made progress since he took over for the fired Mark Mangino,
even if that hasn’t always showed up in the team’s record.
”They’ve always shown that through the season, they never
quit,” Gill said. ”I told them I loved them. I tried to
acknowledge every one of them, especially the seniors.”
Gill thinks he’ll be given another season – he has three years
and $6 million left on his contract – but he hasn’t yet spoken with
athletic director Sheahon Zenger about his future.
Quarterback Jordan Webb said Gill hasn’t talked to the team
about it, either.
”He put us in position to win a lot of ballgames, and there
were a few that just didn’t bounce our way,” said Webb, who was 9
for 20 for 60 yards and two interceptions against the Tigers.
Linebacker Steven Johnson said he thought it would be unfair to
fire Gill after two seasons, while Missouri coach Gary Pinkel
acknowledged the pressure that coaches are under to succeed.
”A lot goes with it, and that’s the world we live in,” Pinkel
said. You got to accept that.”
There was a meager crowd of 47,059 on hand at Arrowhead Stadium
to see what could be the finale of a series that began in 1891, and
is second in games played only to Wisconsin-Minnesota among major
college football rivalries. Those who were left on a cold, dreary
afternoon – mostly clad in black and gold – began chanting ”SEC!
SEC!” in the closing minutes.
The Tigers (7-5, 5-4 Big 12) improved their bowl prospects by
winning their third straight to finish the regular season. Pinkel
believes that will be good enough for a decent bowl, even though he
acknowledged that Missouri won’t be high on the Big 12’s list of
priorities as it heads to the SEC.
”When you’re 4-5, you have the integrity of the program to
protect,” Pinkel said. ”We’ve done enough around here in recent
years, becoming bowl eligible and all those things is
Missouri quarterback James Franklin was the MVP for the Jayhawks
(2-10, 0-9) early on.
Franklin, who had gone four games without throwing an
interception, was picked off by Tyler Patmon midway through the
first quarter – the first of three straight drives that ended with
On their ensuing series, Franklin was pressured by Toben Opurum
and threw a wobbly pass that was intercepted by Greg Brown. He
returned it 20 yards to the Tigers 15, but the Jayhawks could
manage only a field goal when three plays netted them minus-1
Franklin’s third pick was the most costly.
Facing third-and-16 from the 47, the sophomore quarterback threw
a pass that was undercut by Kansas safety Bradley McDougald. He
started up the Missouri sideline, bobbing and weaving his way
through traffic before sprinting the rest of the way for a 57-yard
The first pick-six for the Jayhawks since Sept. 19, 2009, made
”My teammates and coaches were telling me, `It’s all right,
don’t worry about it,”’ Franklin said. ”That’s what gave me
confidence, because all my teammates were there supporting
The Tigers finally got something going on offense later in the
second quarter, marching 59 yards in 5:12 – largely on the ground –
before Trey Barrow kicked a 23-yard field goal.
The Jayhawks looked like a two-win team on their first
possession of the second half, when three plays netted minus-2
yards. When they tried to punt it away, the snap nearly went over
the head of Ron Doherty, giving Missouri the ball at the Kansas
It took Kendial Lawrence only three carries to tie the game at
After the Jayhawks were forced to punt, the Tigers went 93 yards
for a score; the big plays were a 22-yard completion to Jerrell
Jackson, a 20-yard run by T.J. Moe and a 25-yard TD pass from
Franklin to Wes Kemp in the back of the end zone. The pass was
initially called incomplete, but the officials reviewed it and
ruled that Kemp’s feet came down inbounds.
Franklin hit Marcus Lucas for a 53-yard touchdown on the first
play of the fourth quarter, at which point the side of Arrowhead
clad in red and blue began clearing out – quite possibly for the
final time against Missouri.
”I hope that doesn’t happen. There’s got to be a way to work it
out,” Pinkel said. ”Why can’t it work? Just decide that it’s