Anyone that has seen running back James Sims thrive in spite of the mess that has been Kansas football over the last four seasons knew what was coming. It was simply a matter of when the 6-foot, 200-pound Sims would drag the Jayhawks to victory.
The answer was Saturday, as Sims rushed for a career-high 211 yards with three touchdowns on 22 carries to down West Virginia 31-19 for KU's first Big 12 Conference win since Nov. 6, 2010. In that game against Colorado -- a team that has been in the Pac-12 for the last three seasons, mind you -- a true freshman Sims rushed for 123 yards and four touchdowns, and he was again at his best against the Mountaineers.
Known primarily as a volume runner that churns out positive gains, Sims erupted for a 68-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter that gave KU a 17-7 lead headed into the locker room. A short scoring run not even five minutes into the second half put the game away.
Sims has put together similar outstanding performances throughout his career, only for the Kansas defense or passing offense to buckle in the critical moments. Sims rushed for 138 yards against Oklahoma State, 176 yards against Texas, and 127 yards against Texas Tech last season, all one-score losses, and he put a scare into Oklahoma earlier this season with 129 yards and two touchdowns.
Instead, the KU defense came up with two takeaways and freshman quarterback Montell Cozart managed the game well, completing 5 of 12 passes for 61 yards and rushing for 60 yards on 13 carries.
The result will keep the Mountaineers at home for the postseason, despite 128 yards of total offense and two touchdowns from their own fine running back Charles Sims, while giving embattled KU head coach Charlie Weis a reprieve and James Sims the most memorable moment of a largely overlooked college career.