Kansas, Turner Gill Get Big Win over GT

If Ole Miss losing to Jacksonville State was the biggest upset of the first college football weekend, then Kansas suffered the second biggest upset loss. The Jayhawks were inept offensively in a 6-3 defeat by North Dakota State. Many people instantly began wondering about first-year head coach Turner Gill following such a poor performance. Whatever doubts we had were erased a week later.

Gill switched quarterbacks and running backs and saw huge dividends offensively. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan Webb went 18-29 for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns plus a pick. True freshman running back James Sims had 102 yards on 17 carries plus a touchdown as the Jayhawks won 28-25 over Georgia Tech.

It’s hard to say that the team has made a big turnaround offensively because they only put up 319 total yards, but the four touchdowns is the big number. Kansas took advantage of a kickoff that went out of bounds, a 13-yard punt, and a roughing the passer penalty that aided its scores.

Georgia Tech really had a good shot at coming back to tie it or win it late but they committed a 5-yard penalty on 4th and 3 and were unable to convert on 4th and 8 with about a minute left. Josh Nesbitt was only 5-for-15 passing. If he could complete a pass here or there they would have at least tied, but I guess that’s what you get with a triple option quarterback. Tech’s loss certainly was Kansas’ gain, and it has taken the pressure off Turner Gill early in the season.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

Turner Gill Gets Emotional After MAC Win

I don’t know much about Buffalo’s football history. I don’t know when the program was established, who their alumni are, to what conference they belong or have belonged, or if/when they’ve ever had success. All I’ve ever known about Buffalo is that they sucked. Buffalo for the last 10 years or so was perennially the worst team in college football. They probably caught my attention in ’99 when they went 0-11. Over the next several years, they went 10-58, never having more than a three-win season. Finally in ’06 they decided to make a coaching change and go with Turner Gill who doubled the previous years’ win total in his first season by going 2-10. Last year in Gill’s second season, they went 5-7, getting a handful of conference wins.

This season everything came together and the Bulls went 8-5, winning the MAC East by going 5-3 in conference play. They earned the right to play undefeated Ball State in the conference title game and upset the Cardinals 42-24 on Friday night. What Gill has done with the program in only three years is remarkable. It’s proof he can bring instant success to a program and really make a difference. Sustaining success over the years is no easy thing, nor is winning consistently in an extremely tough conference, such as the SEC. But if you want to comprehend how tough it is to take the worst team in all Division-I football and make it a winner in only your third year, all you have to do is watch Gill’s post-game interview on the field after the MAC Championship win on Friday night. Skip ahead to the 1:55 mark.

Nebraska might not have felt that Gill was ready for their job when they had an opening prior to Pelini’s hire, and they could be right. But after seeing what he’s done with Buffalo, I’d have a tough time not turning the reigns of any program over to him. What a turnaround.