Sports

Heartbreaking Loss for KU Football Against Shephard University in NCAA Division II Quarterfinals

By Devin Bender
Sports Editor

An exciting fourth quarter in Andre Reed Stadium on Dec. 4 saw a fumble recovery by Jordan Davis, giving KU football a chance at victory over Shepherd University. Despite the recovery, a completed Hail Mary by SU gave them the victory and ended KU football’s season.

An interception by Shephard’s Klayton Batten turned into a questionable fumble that was recovered by Davis. Originally, the play was called an interception, but it was ruled that Batten’s knee was down before the ball came out, but after an extensive time reviewing the play, KU came out on top. 

KU vs Shepherd NCAA quarter-final
Credit: KU sports photographer Desiree Dehaven

KU, able to make use of Davis’s turnover, scored a touchdown with a long pass from Donny Blaine to Derek Anderson. With Nick Coppolino’s fair extra-point kick, KU took the lead for the first time in the game with a score of 27-24. 

Unfortunately with time still left on the clock, SU had a chance to reclaim their winning title, which they did. After escaping a near sack, SU’s quarterback Tyson Bagent was able to complete a Hail Mary to Alex Wetzel who was in the endzone in the final play of the game. At the buzzer. SU won the game which advanced them to the NCAA Division II semifinals. 

SU started the game off with the first points, scored by a 43-yard touchdown by Ronnie Brown. These were the only points within the first quarter.

In the second quarter, SU added to their lead with another touchdown before they picked Blaine’s first pass of the game and ran it into the end zone, making the score 21-0. 

KU was able to score a touchdown however the points were taken away due to a holding penalty. Still, Jake Novac was able to put points on the board for KU before the half. 

KU also blocked a field goal attempt by SU. The half ended with SU up 21-7 against KU. 

KU started strong in the third quarter with a KU defense sack forcing SU to punt. Blaine, with 12 seconds left in the quarter, scored the only point of the quarter. Coppolino added to the score with an extra point.

Going into the final quarter, the game started to look better for the Golden Bears. A huge pass from Blaine to Anderson at 12:06 on the game clock and Blaine, making his second touchdown of the day with an extra point, tied the game, 21-21. 

KU Ryan Meyers’ sack forced SU to go for a 3-point field goal instead of a touchdown, which made the lead 24-21 against KU.

But after the Hail Mary, SU won the game 28-24 against the Golden Bears. The devastating loss for KU ended their chance at the NCAA title for this season.