LINCOLN, NEB. Another week, another quarterback injury.
And another loss.
Kansas University lost senior quarterback Jonas Weatherbie to a right knee injury in the second quarter Saturday at Memorial Stadium, and Nebraska rolled to a 45-7 Big 12 Conference football victory.
It was the second time in three weeks that KU lost a quarterback to a knee injury, and it was the Jayhawks' sixth loss in a row.
"Kansas was operating with their second-string quarterback, and then ended up using their third-string quarterback an awful lot," said Nebraska coach Frank Solich, whose team defeated KU for the 34th year in a row. "That puts them behind the 8-ball a little bit, and that is not taking away at all from what our defense did as the game went along."
KU's Bill Whittemore, who damaged the medial collateral ligament in his left knee three weeks ago, didn't play again Saturday. Weatherbie started in his place and passed for 74 yards and a TD before leaving with about five minutes left in the first quarter.
Weatherbie was scrambling under pressure when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, ending his season and his career.
"For me, it was deja vu," said KU coach Mark Mangino, who was offensive coordinator at Oklahoma last year when starting quarterback Jason White tore his ACL on a similar play at Nebraska.
Weatherbie waited five years for the opportunity to start for KU before filling in for Whittemore last week. He struggled in a 64-0 loss to Kansas State and was replaced by red-shirt freshman Brian Luke in the second quarter.
Weatherbie had his moments Saturday, including a 50-yard touchdown pass to senior Byron Gasaway that tied the score at 7 in the first quarter.
"He was savoring the moment," Mangino said of Weatherbie, who pumped his fist and sprinted to the end zone to celebrate. "That's exactly what he was doing after five years in our program. He was going to go after it. It's unfortunate. I feel badly for Jonas."
Nebraska (7-4, 3-3 Big 12) led 14-7 when Weatherbie, who did not talk to reporters after the game, headed to the sideline. Without Weatherbie, KU (2-9, 0-7) lost six yards on its final four plays of the second quarter and netted 17 yards on 16 third-quarter plays. Kansas finished with 224 total yards and punted 10 times.
"Our offense couldn't keep our defense off the field," Mangino said. "We had too many three-and-outs."
KU tried two red-shirt freshman quarterbacks " Luke and Greg Heaggans " with little success.
Luke completed 7-of-22 passes for 79 yards with two interceptions. At one point, Luke threw nine straight incompletions before Fabian Washington intercepted a pass that set up Nebraska's final touchdown in the fourth quarter.
KU had a chance to cut the deficit in the fourth quarter when the Jayhawks marched to Nebraska's 7-yard line against the Huskers' reserves, but Luke threw three straight incompletions to end the drive.
"Any game experience is going to help a quarterback," said Luke, who made his collegiate debut last week. "For me, I've faced two of the best teams in the Big 12 in my first two games."
Heaggans never threw a pass and finished with 11 yards on eight carries.
Heaggans, whose primary role has been as kick returner, started the season at receiver, moved to defensive back and has played quarterback for KU's scout team.
"He does a really good job on the scout team for us when we need a quarterback," Mangino said. "Nebraska's not our scout team."
KU's running game provided little relief for the inexperienced quarterbacks. The Jayhawks netted 71 yards on 36 running plays, an average of 1.97 yards per carry.
Nebraska, on the other hand, rushed for 352 yards. I-backs David Horne and Dahrran Diedrick rushed for 122 and 107 yards, respectively, and scored one touchdown each.
Quarterback Jammal Lord was on pace to top the century mark but sat out most of the second half. He finished with 74 yards on 13 carries. He also completed 4-of-10 passes for 59 yards and two TDs.
Kansas will conclude its season Saturday when it plays host to Oklahoma State (4-5, 2-3).
"Our kids gave everything they had," Mangino said. "It's so hard to go in the locker room after the game and tell them I love their effort. They're tired of that. They want to win. It'll come. We'll keep at it."