After KU's improbable 28-25 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday, Isiah Barfield found himself in the middle of a sea of fans. Kids asking for gloves. Students giving him high-fives. Even a girl who asked him for his phone number.
"I have never experienced anything like that as a player and I won't ever forget it," Barfield said.
Saturday was a day of redemption for Kansas. Throughout the last week, Kansas players couldn't help but hear the reaction to their week one loss at the hands of Division I-AA North Dakota State. The boos that rained down from the stands during the home opener resonated with the players.
"It happens in all sports but we just wanted to go out there and change the mindset of our fans," Barfield said. "We haven't won in so long and our football team just wanted to give this town and our fans a win so now we just got to keep it going."
Then there was the quote by North Dakota State coach Craig Bohl. The head coach stated that their next opponent on the schedule, I-AA Northern Iowa, was going to be a more physical and quality opponent than Kansas. Kansas wide receiver Daymond Patterson made sure the rest of his teammates heard the quote.
"If that doesn't get you going, then I don't know what will, so everybody came out there with a chip on their shoulder," Barfield said.
No one may have showed more fire than redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan Webb, who at the moment has ended the debate as to who should be the starting quarterback. Webb went 18 for 29 with 179 passing yards with 3 touchdowns. The quarterback said he had to step up his intensity level after he found out he was going to be the starter earlier in the week.
"I think at quarterback you kind of have to have that in you," Webb said. "Some guys are a little more mild mannered than I am, but I am definitely a hyper guy on the sidelines. You see me jumping around , I get excited when the defense makes plays. I get excited when special teams makes plays. That is just my personality. I am going to be in your face. I am going to try to get the emotions out of you."
Kansas' running game also made a significant improvement from the first game thanks to the return of junior center Jeremiah Hatch and the emergence of true freshman running back James Sims. Sims ran for 101 yards on 17 carries.
"I just motivated myself, after not playing the last game, I was a little upset," Sims said. "I just had to bounce back and work even harder - I know my opportunity was going to come, I just took advantage of it and it paid off."
The defense also stepped up to control Georgia Tech's option attack. Linebacker Justin Springer led the way with 15 tackles. After the game in the locker room while Gatorade was still being splashed around and coaches and players chestbumping each other, Springer said he had to sit down to reflect on his best individual game at KU.
"I didn't cry, but I teared up," Springer said. "I mean we haven't won since what, October of last year? This just feels great."
Just like last week's loss, players and coaches talked about this being just "one game," although everyone knows this Saturday's win was anything but that.
"All we heard was that there is no way a Kansas team that lost to North Dakota State could beat Georgia Tech," Barfield said with a smile. " And we went out there and beat Georgia Tech today."