Can Return of Tony Pierson Spark a Win for Kansas Jayhawks?

By Tyler Brett
tony pierson
John Rieger – USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas Jayhawks continue to suffer blowout loss after blowout loss against the Big 12 this season, the latest coming in a 42-6 loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys where OSU was criticized afterwards for not dominating enough offensively. Charlie Weis is still searching for answers on how to break into the win column in conference play and coming up empty. Can the return of running back Tony Pierson provide a spark to ignite an upset down the stretch?

Pierson missed three games with a concussion but returned in the loss to Oklahoma State as one of the few bright spots for the Jayhawks’ offense. He carried the ball six times for 87 yards, highlighted by a 50-yard run, to lead all rushers in the game. Weis knows what getting the ball into Pierson’s hands can do for his offense:

“Whenever Tony touches the ball and we get him in space, you can see that’s like our passing game. That’s where we get our chunks. He had two long runs — that’s like our form of throwing the ball down the field.”

With not a lot going right in the Kansas offense this season, Pierson is a playmaker who can break the game open and take it over.

And he will have to if Kansas hopes to break their historical losing streak in conference play. The Jayhawks have three games remaining to get Weis’ first Big 12 win, including the Iowa State Cyclones (1-8) who may be their best shot at a win this season. The Cyclones have been hit hard with injuries and tough-luck losses this season so there’s an opportunity for KU to strike while they’re down.

The key to any Jayhawks’ win will be getting the ball into Tony Pierson’s hands and hoping that he breaks a few big plays for touchdowns. If he can’t stay healthy or isn’t productive enough, Kansas is doomed to another winless conference record in 2013.

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