Lawrence has memories for Leavitt
KANSAS CITY -- Somehow the airport Marriott doesn't have as exciting a dateline as Memorial Stadium will on Saturday.
All week long, when we asked USF coach Jim Leavitt about his experiences playing as an opponent at Kansas, his responses were nondescript -- he'd won some games there, lost some games there, that kind of thing. I did a little research, and it turns out that Leavitt, as a senior defensive back at Missouri, played his final college football game at Memorial Stadium, a tough 24-22 loss to the Jayhawks.
Special thanks to Derek Donovan of the Kansas City Star's research library, who was kind enough to dig up a copy of the Nov. 20, 1977, Kansas City Times, which used to be the daily paper in town until its run ended in 1990. Reading old newspaper clips is always a great window into the past, with a different language than you read these days.
Missouri and Kansas, I read, is the oldest college football rivalry west of the Mississippi, and the 1977 game was a memorable one. Kansas got out to a 24-10 lead, but Missouri clawed back, getting a field goal in the second half but getting stopped at the Kansas 1-yard line. A late touchdown pulled Missouri within 24-20, and a defensive stop pushed Kansas to its own 4-yard line. Rather than risk a punt, Kansas took an intentional safety, running out of the end zone with eight seconds left. after a free kick, Missouri got one last shot at victory, but a last-ditch pass was intercepted to seal the Kansas win. Tough way to end a college career, for sure.
Fun to read the old papers -- Kansas only attempted nine passes in the game, but hit on six for 180 yards. "Normally Kansas is to passing what the Swiss are to naval warfare," the story wrote -- not sure I could pull that off in the paper.
Oh, and I have an Andre Hall Update Update: On Thursday, Hall's agent called with good news for Andre fan -- he has a workout scheduled with the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 2. Seattle has a strong former Bucs presence in its first office, so they're well aware of what Hall did at USF. Sounds like a better chance for him to latch on in Seattle than he had in Buffalo last week.
I'll have more tomorrow on Leavitt's time at Kansas State and his relationship with longtime Wildcats coach Bill Snyder. Looks like Carlton Williams will start in place of Danny Verpaele at free safety, though the offensive line is still a game-time decision on left tackle and whether Thed Watson is healthy enough to go. There could be a new wrinkle at punter as well ...