Like last season, the Kansas University football team started the 2004 campaign slowly.
Unlike last year's opening loss to Northwestern, though, that tepid pace lasted just a quarter and a half against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane before the Jayhawks exploded for 41 unanswered points and cruised to a 53-13 virtual victory in the season opener at Memorial Stadium.
The Jayhawks struggled offensively early against the Golden Hurricane, gaining just four first downs in the opening quarter and going 0-for-6 on third-down conversion attempts. Freshman virtual quarterback Adam Barmann showed some butterflies early, missing on his first nine pass attempts and getting picked off by Ashlan Davis on his first throw of the game.
Indicitive of his team's similar struggles, Tulsa quarterback James Kilian was intercepted by KU cornerback Theo Baines - playing in his first game as a Jayhawk - immediately following Barmann's picked-off pass.
Kilian could lead the Golden Hurricane deep into KU territory just once in the first quarter. That drive ended when Tulsa coach Steve Kragthorpe decided to go for it on fourth-and-10 from KU's 22-yard line, but Charles Gordon deflected a pass intended for Richard McQuillar.
The Jayhawk offense appeared to be building off the momentum of that stop, picking up three first downs on the ensuing drive. One of those first downs was Barmann's first completion, a seven-yard pass to Clark Green. Barmann held onto the ball too long on third-and-8 near midfield, though, and was sacked by Brandon Lohr, ending KU's drive.
Tulsa wide receiver Jermaine Landrum made a circus catch on the first play of the next drive, grabbing the ball off Nick Reid's shoulder after both Reid and Baines had tipped the pass. Kilian threw incomplete on the next three passes, though, forcing Chris Kindred's fifth punt of the opening period.
After again trading punts with Tulsa, KU once again looked to be gaining some momemtum. Barmann found Brandon Rideau over the middle for 27 yards to Tulsa's 41-yard line, and then hit Mark Simmons in the end zone on the next play. Luck wasn't with the Jayhawks, though, as Simmons couldn't get a foot in bounds. Green dropped a first-down pass on the next play and Barmann was then picked off by Oliver Fletcher, dropping his passing numbers to 2-of-16 passing for 34 yards and two interceptions.
Three straight three-and-out drives gave KU the ball again, and the Jayhawks finally mustered enough offense to get the ball in the end zone. After being sacked and throwing incomplete, Barmann found Derek Fine for a 20-yard gain and the team's first third-down conversion of the game.
After two more misteps on first and second down, Barmann hit a diving Rideau at the 1-yard line for 34 yards. Green scored two plays later, capping an eight-play, 51-yard scoring drive. Johnny Beck missed the extra-point attempt, giving KU a 6-0 lead with 8:37 left in the first half.
Finally having a lead to protect, the Jayhawk defense smothered Tulsa's offense and forced another three-and-out after a sack by Travis Watkins on third-and-10.
On the first play after Tulsa's punt to midfield and barely a minute after Green's touchdown run, Barmann found Simmons streaking down the right sideline past cornerback Jermaine Hope for a 49-yard touchdown and a 13-0 lead.
KU appeared to be hitting its stride just a moment later when Rodney Harris joined Baines as first-time Jayhawks with interceptions, picking off Kilian near midfield.
Barmann had lost a bit of his magic, though, throwing three straight incompletions. The teams then traded punts the rest of the half, except for Barmann's third interception, this one by Nick Bunting late in the quarter.
The second half started the same as the first for KU, with Barmann throwing an interception on his first pass after intermission. Nick Graham picked off the throw and returned it to the KU 23-yard line.
Tulsa couldn't capitalize as a holding penalty on Jesse Stoneham knocked the Golden Hurricane back. Two Kilian incompletions after a Parrish run forced a 38-yard field goal attempt by Brad DeVault. The kick was well short, though, keeping the Golden Hurricane off the scoreboard.
KU, on the other hand, wouldn't be held back on their next drive. The 11-play, 78-yard march down the field ended with a 33-yard pass from Barmann to Brandon Rideau down the left sideline. Highlights of the drive included a 13-yard scamper by Green, a 17-yard pass to Simmons and an 18-yard pass to Rideau. Beck's point-after kick gave the Jayhawks a 20-0 lead less than five minutes into the second half.
After KU forced another punt, Barmann and Rideau again hooked up for a score, this time spectacularly.
On first-and-10 from the Jayhawks' 25-yard line, Barmann lined up in the shotgun, dropped back and hit Rideau at the 42-yard line. The senior wide receiver broke Fletcher's tackle at Tulsa's 45-yard line, spun past two more defenders 10 yards later and outran Shannon Carter to the end zone. The 75-yard score and extra point gave the Jayhawks a 27-0 lead midway through the quarter.
Tulsa appeared to be gaining a bit of momentum two drives later, gaining three consecutive first downs, but Nick Reid hit Kilian as the quarterback dropped back to pass on first-and-10 from KU's 30-yard line, and Gordon recovered the fumble at the 39-yard line.
Kansas wasted no time scoring again, moving into the end zone with a trio of passes. Barmann hit freshman Marcus Henry for 26 yards (and went over 300 yards for the game in the process), Green threw a 20-yard strike to Simmons (with a face-mask penalty tacked on at the end) and Barmann found Fine in the middle of the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown and a 34-0 lead.
Another Tulsa punt equaled another quick-strike KU touchdown just a few moments later. Barmann again hooked up with Simmons for a score, this one a 26-yard pass after Simmons found a hole in Tulsa's zone behind Hope. Beck's PAT gave KU a 41-0 lead with 2:17 left in the third quarter.
Tulsa finally put points on the board on the ensuing possession with a two-yard pass from Kilian to Caleb Blakenship with less than 30 seconds left in the period. The seven-play, 68-yard drive was highlighted by a 25-yard completion from Kilian to McQuillar down to the 2-yard line. DeVault's kicking woes continued, as he missed the extra-point wide right.
The Jayhawks suffered their own kicking problems on their next drive. With the second team in, KU moved downfield inside the 5-yard line, but couldn't get the ball in the end zone. Beck lined up for a 19-yard field goal, but put the ball wide right.
After another Tulsa punt (partially forced by Todd Haselhorst's first career sack), John Randle finished a seven-play, 44-yard drive with a four-yard scoring run. Another missed PAT by Beck left KU's lead at 47-6.
James McClinton, Haselhorst's fellow freshman defensive tackle, picked up his first career sack on Tulsa's next possession. Tulsa was forced to punt, but KU couldn't convert a fourth-and-18 from Tulsa's 28-yard line.
The Golden Hurricane stormed down the field on a five-play, 71-yard drive capped by Kilian's 24-yard touchdown pass to Landrum in the back corner of the end zone. DeVault's PAT, his first successful kick of the game, brought Tulsa within 34 points, 47-13.
KU linebacker Kevin Kane recovered Tulsa's onside kick, but the Jayhawks couldn't get a first down. Not without Tulsa's help, at least.
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Davis fumbled Chris Tyrrel's punt and Brandon McAnderson recovered just inside the 5-yard line. Three plays later, Luke hit Gary Heaggans with a two-yard pass for KU's eighth touchdown of the game.
Tulsa had a similar opportunity a moment later when Gordon dropped a Kindred's punt and the Golden Hurricane recovered, but they couldn't get a first down and KU ran out the clock.
Barmann recovered from his horrible start and finished 14-for-46 passing for 368 yards and five touchdowns. He threw just one interception after halftime.
Rideau earned KU's player of the game honor with four catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Simmons chipped in with four receptions for 113 yards and a pair of scores, and Henry had six catches for 97 yards.
Clark Green led KU's running attack with 118 yards on 24 carries. He also caught one pass for seven yards, and was 1-for-1 passing for 20 yards.
Lohr was named Tulsa's player of the game with 10 tackles, including six for loss and three sacks. Bunting had 12 tackles and an interception, and Fletcher had six tackles and a pick.
McQuillar led the Golden Hurricane offense with five catches for 92 yards, and Mills added five grabs for 66 yards. Uril Parrish rushed 24 times for 96 yards, and Kilian was 18-for-60 passing for 243 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also fumbled twice.