Thursday, September 30, 2004

X-Factor Week 5: Kansas 41, Nebraska 15


The Streak is virtually over.

Kansas University's virtual football team ended 35 years of real-life frustration with a 41-15 victory over Nebraska in this week's X-Factor preview.

The simulated road win made a nice bookend to the streak's beginning, as the Jayhawks' last victory over the Cornhuskers was a 23-13 win Oct. 12, 1968, in Lincoln, Neb.

KU's defense deserved much of the credit for the win. The Jayhawks kept the Cornhuskers from converting a third down until three minutes into the second quarter, and held them the just three third-down conversions until Nebraska's final drive before halftime.

The Jayhawk defense also held the Cornhuskers to 166 total yards in the second half and forced five turnovers, including four interceptions of NU quarterback Joe Dailey.

Adam Barmann made sure the KU offense kept up with its defensive teammates, completing 24 of 67 passes for 421 yards and four touchdowns. Though he threw three interceptions, the sophomore quarterback was named KU's player of the game.

Barmann's first touchdown came on KU's third possession and put the Jayhawks on the scoreboard first. After a sack on first down and a run for negative yards on second down, Barmann connected with Mark Simmons on three consecutive plays down the right sideline, the third of which was an 8-yard touchdown. Scott Webb missed the extra point wide right, giving KU a 6-0 lead with just more than 10 minutes to go in the first quarter.

After Nebraska's third straight three-and-out drive, John Randle moved KU downfield with back-to-back runs for first downs. Barmann then went down the left side of the field for a 32-yard touchdown to Brandon Rideau, who ran over Fabian Washington when making the catch. Webb again missed the PAT, giving KU a 14-0 lead midway through the first period.

Webb's kicking woes continued two possessions later when he was short on a 44-yard field-goal attempt. The redshirt freshman had his first successful kick of the game with a 26-yard field goal early in the second quarter, giving KU a 15-0 lead.

Nebraska finally got on the scoreboard two drives later when Dailey threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Fluellen on the first play of the possession. David Dyches' extra-point attempt was wide right, bringing the Cornhuskers within nine points, 15-6.

Both teams punted on their next drives, with Charles Gordon getting knocked from the game with a strained right bicep on his punt return.

Barmann opened the ensuing drive with a 34-yard pass to Simmons, moving KU deep within Nebraska territory. Two plays later, Randle scored from 13 yards out, giving the Jayhawks a 22-6 lead after Webb's successful PAT.

Two plays into Nebraska's next drive, Tim Allen forced a Steve Kriewald fumble, which Gabriel Toomey recovered at NU's 23-yard line.

Barmann wasted no time after the turnover, hitting Gary Heaggans for a 23-yard touchdown on the first play of the drive. The touchdown put KU ahead 23 points with 6:33 left before halftime.

Nebraska took advantage of Gordon's absence on its next drive. Dailey threw a 63-yard scoring pass to Mark LeFlore over Ronnie Amadi, Gordon's replacement. Nebraska's two-point-conversion attempt failed, leaving the score 29-12 in KU's favor.

The rest of the second quarter went very poorly for Nebraska. Running back Cory Ross left with bruised ribs on the Cornhuskers' next drive, and Dyches missed a 24-yard field-goal attempt with just four seconds left before halftime.

Nebraska had no better luck on the second half's opening drive, going three-and-out.

On the ensuing possession, KU extended its lead to 23 points, 35-12, with a Austine Nwabuisi one-yard run. Webb's PAT attempt again was no good.

Dyches brought Nebraska within 20 points, 35-15, with a field goal on the Cornhuskers' next drive, but KU answered two possessions later with Barmann's fourth and final touchdown pass, a 23-yarder to Marcus Henry.

Both defenses stiffened up for the rest of the game, as neither team could score over the final 21 1/2 minutes.

Randle finished with 212 rushing yards on 35 carries. He also had 18 receiving yards, 45 on kickoff returns and 71 on punt return for a total of 346 yard.

Rideau led KU with seven catches for 161 yards and a touchdown. Mark Simmons had six receptions for 128 yards and a score, and Marcus Henry caught five passes for 71 yards and a TD.

Dailey finished 19-of-78 passing for 319 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. He also rushed four times for no yards.

Tierre Green led Nebraska with 61 rushing yards on 18 carries. Kriewald had 44 yards on eight rushes, and Ross rushed 11 times for 27 yards before being injured.

LeFlore had eight catches for 151 yards and a touchdown for the Cornhuskers. Fluellen caught three passes for 74 yards and a score, and Ross Pilkington had 64 receiving yards on three catches.

¢ Theo Baines intercepted two Dailey passes - one early in the second quarter and one late in the period.

  • Gordon and Ross weren't the only players injured in the game. Nebraska linebacker Benard Thomas left the game early in the second quarter with a strained shoulder, and KU cornerback Donnie Amadi left with the same injury late in that period.
  • Webb missed field goals on three consecutive drives late in the third quarter. He missed kicks of 43, 45 and 41 yards.
  • Rodney Harris and Banks Floodman both picked off Dailey passes late in the fourth period.
  • Lornell McPherson was named Nebraska's player of the game for his six tackles, two interceptions and seven pass deflections.

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