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Saturday, November 25, 2006

KU football notebook

Today's telecast feed won't be widespread

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Kansas University's football game at Missouri is on ABC network television, but it won't be widely watched.

ABC's regional-feed map released early this week showed the Border War game will be seen only by a meager 8 percent of the country. The other 92 percent will see the rivalry game between Florida and Florida State.

The Kansas-Missouri game will be shown almost exclusively in states with Big 12 Conference schools, including Kansas and Missouri and most of Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa and Oklahoma. Parts of Illinois, Kentucky and Arkansas will get KU-MU, too.

Surprisingly, most of Texas is set to get Florida-Florida State, despite the Big 12 Conference offices being in Dallas.

¢ Injury breaks: For the third straight week, Kansas will have the fortune of not having to face its opponent's top wide receiver.

Missouri's Will Franklin (48 catches, 829 yards) has a torn labrum in his left shoulder and will miss the rest of the season. Franklin's injury follows the setback to K-State's Yamon Figurs, who had a concussion and didn't play against Kansas last week.

Iowa State standout Todd Blythe missed the KU game on Nov. 4 with a viral illness. The Cylcones' No. 3 receiver, Jon Davis, also missed the Kansas game with a collapsed lung.

¢ Blackout: Missouri is encouraging a "blackout" at Faurot Field today by asking all fans to wear black to the game.

To help with the cause, the Mizzou online store sold Blackout shirts commemorating today's game, complete with the phrase "A Game Beyond Borders" on the back.

¢ In a race: The last three seasons, former KU linebacker Nick Reid pretty much took the team lead in tackles early and never relinquished it.

With Reid gone, an interesting race is heating up this season.

Currently, linebacker Mike Rivera leads the Jayhawks with 80 tackles, with strong safety Jerome Kemp just behind him with 79 stops. Joe Mortensen is third (70), and then it's long way back to fourth (James McClinton with 46).

It'll take good a good performance today along with a strong showing in KU's possible bowl game next month for Rivera, Kemp or Mortensen to hit 100 tackles. The last time KU didn't have a 100-tackle defender was 2001, when Marcus Rogers led KU with 97 stops.

¢ Second place: Kansas is playing for placement in the Big 12 North standings today.

If the Jayhawks win, they'll be tied for second in the North with Kansas State and Missouri and will have tiebreakers over both. If they lose, they'll finish all alone in fourth behind the Wildcats and Tigers.

Nebraska has wrapped up the Big 12 North title, and Colorado (5th) and Iowa State (6th) already are placed.

¢ This, that: Oddly, the Jayhawks are 3-4 when they score more than 30 points this season, and 3-1 when they score less than 30. : Kansas is appearing on ABC for the first time since last season, when it was walloped, 66-14, by eventual national champ Texas. : : No Missouri coach ever has lost four in a row to Kansas in the history of the Border War game. Pinkel currently is on a three-game slide. : The winner of today's game is awarded the Marching Band Drum, a tradition that dates back to 1912.

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