LAWRENCE — On the wrong end of another blowout defeat Saturday, Kansas football could at least take solace in what turned into a breakout game for safety Kenny Logan.
No stranger to those kinds of performances himself, wide receiver Andrew Parchment has a working theory on what allowed his sophomore teammate to produce highlight after highlight.
"That’s Florida, you know what I mean," said Parchment, a product of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "I feel like once Kansas gets down in Florida for the next couple of (recruiting) classes, I feel like we’ll have a lot more players just like that."
Territorial pride aside, Logan was a sorely needed revelation for the Jayhawks.
KU (0-6, 0-5 Big 12) fell 52-22 to then-No. 23 Iowa State at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying from Logan. The St. Augustine, Fla., native — one of seven Sunshine State players on the Jayhawk roster — notched both a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown and an interception in the second half of a contest that saw KU trail by just 16 with seven minutes remaining.
A former three-star recruit, Logan also had three tackles and one pass breakup versus the Cyclones. It was an outing head coach Les Miles said he sensed Logan would be capable of when he offered the 6-foot, 195-pounder a spot in his first Jayhawk recruiting class.
"We watched his film. We did an evaluation. He is just what you saw (Saturday)," Miles said. "He has the potential to break a play. He has that potential to break a game open. Yeah, I probably underexpressed his talent, but his talent is pretty extreme. He’s fast and tough and will strike you.
"Yeah, I think we’ll look forward to him for quite some time."
Down 27-7 with 7:27 left in the third quarter, Logan took matters into his own hands.
He fielded an ISU kickoff a few yards into the end zone but showed no interest in taking a touchback, instead making a sprint right up the middle of the field. Logan bolted past six Cyclones before he even reached the 20-yard line, and great blocking helped him escape a cluster of four ISU players before he got to the 25, where he evaded a shoestring tackle.
With one man to beat at the KU 35, Logan slowed down and put two nasty cuts on the Cyclone kicker, who stumbled and collided with a teammate attempting to chase the second-year Jayhawk down from behind.
The final 55 yards of the electric return were academic.
"It was exciting," Logan said. "I want to thank all my blockers that made it possible for me to get to the end zone. It was pretty fun having the ball back in my hands again. ... I just felt like we needed a play and I felt like that was the one, you feel me, to be made."
ISU quickly responded with another touchdown, and a field goal gave the visitors a 38-14 edge. But a Jayhawk touchdown — quarterback Jalon Daniels ran it in from 12 yards out — and subsequent two-point conversion made it a two-score game with 7:34 remaining.
That’s when Logan got his interception, jumping in front of a pass by Cyclone quarterback Brock Purdy that would’ve otherwise gone for a 34-yard completion to the KU 18.
Of his pick, Logan said he was simply reading Purdy’s eyes, shoulders and "intentions."
"On defense we had a lot of plays that we should’ve made to help get the offense back on the field," Logan said. "All I was trying to do was continue to make plays for our offense to go down and score and give us some energy."
Logan’s return set the Jayhawk offense up at its own 30, but KU lost 13 yards in three plays and was forced to punt it away. One play later, Wichita native Breece Hall iced the outcome with a 58-yard touchdown run.
Again, one can’t exactly pin this defeat on Logan — or for that matter on a Jayhawk secondary that has taken its lumps but is blossoming into one of the team’s most reliable groups.
"I can tell you this: That secondary is young, but they are really going to play big," Miles said. "Duece Mayberry ... I’ll tell you what, there’s going to be a time where he’s one of the best corners in this league."
Mayberry, a true freshman cornerback out of Tulsa, Okla., has had flashes of brilliance — enough so that Logan said he can "totally believe" in Miles’ lofty projection — but the 6-foot, 173-pounder is obviously still a work in progress.
Parchment noted that Mayberry was "a little bummed" in the postgame locker room about a garbage-time 30-yard touchdown reception he surrendered to ISU wideout Joe Scates.
And here is where Logan had his last meaningful contribution of the afternoon.
"I was just telling (Mayberry), ‘Man, just look at what Kenny went through. Look at the trials and tribulations Kenny went through,’ " Parchment said. "Because I remember against Oklahoma State last year we put him in and literally two plays later he got beat for a touchdown. So I was just telling him to keep working. It’s not over yet. It’s not the end of the world.
"Players mess up, so you’ve got to just bounce back. Especially for a (defensive back), you’ve got to have a short-term memory. You’ve just gotta keep playing."