Sunday, October 1, 2006

Big Red scare - Nebraska 39, Kansas 32, OT

Jayhawks awful, awfully good in loss


— Kansas University's football team has its way of exciting the masses. That can't be denied, especially after Saturday.

Another nail-biter, another overtime game - and like 50 percent of the close ones so far this year, another loss for the Jayhawks, 39-32 in overtime to No. 21 Nebraska.

In one zany, four-hour stretch, the Jayhawks looked like failures and fighters, futile and fantastic.

It's hard to conclude what deserves more attention - the 17-0 lead Kansas spotted Nebraska with embarrassing first-quarter play, or the inspiring way the Jayhawks came all the way back to make the game a true thriller.

On the road, no less.

There was a prolific offensive attack, led by Adam Barmann's 405 passing yards and Jon Cornish's 145 rushing yards, and there were big-play problems in KU's secondary, highlighted by three Nebraska touchdowns going for 75 yards or longer.

The scoreboard should be the deciding factor in what seems like a balanced argument, and Kansas' good play didn't prevail. But KU's coaches and players hardly seemed devastated afterward, despite falling to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in Big 12 Conference play.

"We're not playing horseshoes, so close doesn't count," KU coach Mark Mangino said. "We're disappointed that we lost, but I can't help but to tell you that I am very proud of my football team. They did a great job. They just came up short."

KU showed some grit, and it led to an exciting fourth quarter of football between two teams still trying to feel their way. Kansas took a 25-24 lead with 6:47 to play, after Barmann orchestrated an 88-yard drive that ended with a touchdown catch by Derek Fine on third down.

Nebraska answered right away, when, on third-and-18, NU quarterback Zac Taylor threw a deep ball that Frantz Hardy caught next to a disoriented Blake Bueltel. Hardy streaked in for his second score, and a two-point conversion put the Huskers up 32-25.

Left for dead, and with an 85,069-person sea of red ringing the Jayhawks' ears, Barmann calmly answered with a game-tying drive of 11 plays and 81 yards. The final strike, with 46 seconds left, was a 26-yard pass from Barmann to Brian Murph. Scott Webb's point-after tied the game at 32.

Extra football came for the second time in three weeks for the Jayhawks, and it ended the same way. Nebraska was on offense first and scored on a touchdown, and KU's drive ended when a fade pass from Barmann to Marcus Henry went long.

Nebraska escaped for the 18th straight time in Lincoln. But certainly not without a scare.

"I think some people might not have thought too much of Kansas," NU running back Cody Glenn said, "but they proved tonight that they are a good football team."

Well, at least after the first quarter.

Kansas undoubtedly had its roughest stretch of the season early in the first 15 minutes, helping Nebraska jump to a 17-0 lead.

Consider the bad plays and bad breaks in the first five minutes alone:

¢ Blown coverage by KU freshman Anthony Webb on Nebraska's second play of the game resulted in a 75-yard touchdown catch by Terrence Nunn.

¢ An apparent mixup between Barmann and Henry resulted in Barmann throwing an interception with Henry nowhere near the pass.

¢ Nebraska punted a ball that went out of bounds about 18 inches from the Kansas end zone.

¢ Barmann threw an interception that Andrew Shanle returned to the KU six-yard line.

¢ Nebraska scored again on the next play, when Aqib Talib fell down and his man - Todd Peterson - was left wide open for the catch.

Go figure

0, 2 First-quarter passing yards, interceptions by KU's Adam Barmann 405, 1 Barmann's passing yards, interceptions over the final three quarters 0 Sacks recorded by Nebraska's vaunted defense 26, 16 First downs earned by Kansas, Nebraska 6.1, 7.9 Average gain per offensive play for Kansas, Nebraska 2 100-yard receivers for KU (Brian Murph, Dexton Fields) 3 TD passes of 75 or more yards by the Huskers 17 Nebraska's biggest lead - which it held twice, at 17-0 and 24-7

Add to it a bounced snap, more blown coverage, a one-yard kickoff return and some missed throws by Barmann, and Kansas seemed primed for the wailing that outsiders and oddsmakers expected the Jayhawks to get all week.

But it never came. Instead, Kansas became competitive among the howling fans at Nebraska's Memorial Stadium. By the third quarter, the showdown was back on.

"We don't really get upset about stuff like that," linebacker Joe Mortensen said of the early hole. "We keep our cool, focus and come back."

The battle back came up just short on Saturday. But win or lose, it seems anyone associated with such a contest at least can appreciate the kind of battle they fought.

It wasn't always clean, but, hey, it doesn't always have to be.

"That's what made it a great game," Mangino said. "Both teams made mistakes, and both teams made great plays."


nikesasquatch 14 years, 6 months ago

KU has some serious issues in the secondary again. The same thing happened last year in Austin. Nebraska could have thrown the ball deep many more times and no doubt the KU defender would have been turned around or fallen down while the Nebraska player scored. Nebraska allowed this game to stay close by going away from throwing the deep ball until they trailed.

84Hawk 14 years, 6 months ago

How about all of the great plays the Jayhawks had? Let's concentrate on the fact that we came back from a 17-0 deficit in front of 85,000 screaming Nebraska fans. Barmann played calmly and like a real leader. Sure, our secondary needs work and Mangino knows that. I think that game last night was one of the most fun to watch. Great job Jayhawks!

Andy Godwin 14 years, 6 months ago

How can any KU fan be satisfied with this lose? Yes the game was exciting, but the Jayhawks made too many mistakes (e.g., a number of blown coverages, dropped passes at inopportune times, a bad snap on an extra point, etc.). It is so frustrating to watch a team that is good continue to self-destruct. First, it is clear from last night's game that the Nebraska football team is not very good. They are not deserving of a top 25 ranking, especially if you give up 500 plus yards to KU, let alone any team. The Huskers have many holes and I will be shocked if they can win the Big 12 North. Who cares that the Jayhawks gained respect from last night's game; the truth is that they still lost a game that they could and after the first half, should have won. The only good news from the game last night was that Eric Washington was not paralyzed as first thought. That was a very scary moment and everyone was relieved to here "Eric is doing well," KU coach Mark Mangino said. I have followed this team for 40+ years and was very disappointed by last night's outcome. It is time to get passed this close but no cigar mentality and win a close game against a ranked team. Yes, the players never gave up and played hard throughout; however, the outcome was still the same that many KU fans have come to accept. Mangino and his staff are clearly making strides to improve a program that has not been very good for most of my life (I did not event the statement "wait until basketball"); however, losing to Toledo and an overrated Nebraska team is just more of the same that KU fans have been enduring for years.

JBurtin 14 years, 6 months ago

It's funny how nobody mentions the real reason we lost that game. Charles Gordon's big head.

Mangino was in a hell of a tough spot after Gordon left us high and dry to join the practice squad of an NFL team. Gordon hadn't had a particularly good year and wasn't looking very good for the draft and he knew that coach Mangino was about to lose three senior cornerbacks. Mangino did as well as we could ask of him in that situation. He picked up a four-star stud to build for the future and the best juco guys he could land.

Now our juco corners are playing like juco level corners and our freshman is still playing like a freshman and everybody is surprised.

Actually what I just wrote doesn't even take into account the unexpected loss of two other d-backs (Kenneth Thompson and Rodney Harris).

In short, Mangino's backfield was absolutely decimated after last year and we're lucky to even have enough players to put back there. Mangino is a good coach, but he's not a miracle worker, give the guy a break.

bjamnjm 14 years, 6 months ago

akgjenkintown, college football is an amateur sport played by 20-year-old kids. Thus, there will be many mistakes, blown coverage's, dropped passes at inopportune times, bad snaps, missed extra points, etc. Occasionally these mistakes occur in pro ball too. It is too early to start determining that one team is overrated and another is not. It is certainly possible that Nebraska is better than its ranking suggests and that KU is underrated due to historical perception of the football program. It's just a game. Be proud of your team, they played well.

tdiddy 14 years, 6 months ago

As far as being proud of the "boys" on the field I understand. It's the idiot play calling on the behalf of the coaches either on the field or in the booth. Why would they call the SAME Dang play that cost them the Toledo game in double ovetime,Why??? Ask yourself if Mangino is really worth the extra burger money?

Nutflush21 14 years, 6 months ago

akgjenkintown hit the nail on the head period.

tdub 14 years, 6 months ago

A fumble and an interception in each overtime cost us the game against Toledo, I don't know what play you're talking about tdiddy. And did anyone notice that NU's play that was reviewed in OT was botched. The ball crossed the plane while the receiver was in bounds, and it either should have been a TD or a touchback. From the replay it looked like the receiver didn't have control... touchback... KU ball... field goal wins the game. That was the killer.

tdiddy 14 years, 6 months ago

Tdub, The same play is the fourth play of six in their playbook. Fade pass to the weak side corner of the endzone. remember? hucklebucked again. The others, hand-off the J.Cornish left, right. pass to flat give to B.Mac twice a game when Jon's not hurt and punt!

Nutflush21 14 years, 6 months ago

tdub, the killer was spotting Nebraska 17 pts, red zone turnovers, dropped TD passes, botched PAT and numerous mistakes in the secondary. Yeah it looked like the receiver didnt have control but KU should have won the game in regulation going away.

Jeremy Bolinger 14 years, 6 months ago

yea, and not going for 2 to make it a 3 point game. Make Nebraska beat you by going to 2 if it comes to that!

nikesasquatch 14 years, 6 months ago

Why did KU even try to go to overtime? Why not just go for two at the end of regulation and try and win it? What do you gain from going to overtime with a tired defense in front of a sea of red? Mangino looks like an amateur coaching this team. Mangino and Self can't put basic fundamentals into their players and they look foolish at times.

nikesasquatch 14 years, 6 months ago

KU needs to stop patting itself on the back for moral victories. KU blew out Nebraska last year so nobody should be surprised KU played Nebraska close in Lincoln. If KU wants to be half the program K-State has been in the last 15 years they need to start winning games they should win and stop self-destructing. KU is just another Forth Worth Bowl team this year because of Mangino.

seattlehawk_78 14 years, 6 months ago

Maybe Mangino doesn't see this as a moral victory but I do. I've seen to many horribly lopsided games against Nebraska not to be encouraged. How many times have we seen KU, and a lot of other teams, fold in Lincoln after falling behind early. Previous KU teams would have mailed it in before the end of the first quarter. Look at the scores during the 36 year losing streak and the average margin of defeat was about six touchdowns. Even in defeat, Mangino's teams are competitive. He ended the most embarrassing losing streak in college football and he did it on the heels of a six point loss the previous year in Lincoln. This was a disappointing game but I fully expect KU to redeem themselves next year against Nebraska in Lawrence. It may be one step backwards and two steps forward but Mangino is clearly turning this program around. In time, those close games will turn into wins.

Displayhawk 14 years, 6 months ago

I just wish KU would start running some mis-direction plays and use Jake Sharp some more. Maybe a reverse now and then just to keep the defense honest.

Jeremy Bolinger 14 years, 6 months ago

what kind of program is Kansas State? They haven't done crap since 2003, and the was the big 12 title year. They didnt win the fiesta bowl, and they havent been to a bowl since. Don't even make me start with the basketball program too. K-state fans should stay off of this board.

jayhawks71 14 years, 6 months ago

That overtime double reviewed call; talk about getting jobbed. Yes, I agree that KU turned the ball over a bunch and set up their own demise, BUT they made it to overtime and to listen to those announcers say again and again how the receiver was "clearly out of bounds" before losing the ball, I was wondering what replay they were watching. Having a DVR is nice and that ball by Nebraska in OT was 1) caught and possessed. 2) Out of the NU receivers possession before he got out of bounds and 3) was out of his hand before it crossed the plane of the goal (even the infinitely extending goal line) and 4) the ball crossed that plane out of possession and went out of bounds. By rule, that is a touchback!

This was another example of the worthlessness of instant replay. It doesn't correct wrong calls and insists on the interpretation that SOME plays and calls carry more weight than others. This is simply another sad case of instant replay failure. Get rid of it.

seattlehawk_78 14 years, 6 months ago

I agree. Instant replay only accentuates how bad the call was. How come everyone in their living room can figure out the obvious but a trained referee can't.

cobweb 14 years, 6 months ago

How can we expect a Mangino team to show discipline when the coach isn't disciplined enough to lose some weight. He looks like a heart attack waiting to happen.

jayhawks71 14 years, 6 months ago

seattle, I agree with you, but further, I think that there are many calls in a game that matter for which perhaps a replay isn't available immediately and a coach then cannot challenge; this wasn't so much the case as I think it was a booth review; a road team is at a distinct disadvantage. Some might say, "so be it" that is the homefield advantage, but the rules should not be subject to homefield advantage and they are. Crowd noise, players sleeping in their own beds and familiarity with wind patterns are variables that are part of that homefield advantage. Instant replay usage relies on the premise that it is about "getting the call right." I believe the premise is faulty for a number of reasons, but I list two here for consideration: 1) we see that even during/after review, there is ambiguity in what we see (if you listen to those announcers, it was unbelievable when they said he was "in bounds" and "maintained possession" when the ball was clearly falling out of the receiver's hand. This wasn't even debatable that they were wrong), but 2) we see this a lot on Sundays, is a team who thinks a call MIGHT be challenged, realizing that they might have gotten an unfair break, runs up to the line to hike the ball to make review impossible; I don't see this as sportsmanship; gamesmanship perhaps, but not good sportsmanship. and 3) the "unreviewable call" clearly says some outcomes we will correct others we won't resulting in the rules mattering more for some plays than others.

This isn't sour grapes; KU got themselves down bigtime due to poor play and deserved to lose. However, they came back, took it to OT and did get jobbed by the refs on that play.

I am also beginning to think that those "charts" that tell you when to go for two might statistically be right, but boy, I have the availability heuristic telling me that they are usually wrong; KU goes for 1 and perhaps we aren't even talking about the refs call. Of course, hindsight is 20/20.

tmk 14 years, 6 months ago

Kansas blew it period. I was at the game. They reviewed that play twice. Once to see if it was a catch. Once on the spot. I seriously doubt that the replay officials got it wrong twice. And when I got home it proved them right. Don't know what kind of DVR you have but mine showed that the ball went out at the half yard line, with the player having control.

jayhawks71 14 years, 6 months ago

tell the people at OU about getting the replay right...

Dude, the guys feet were in bounds the first thing to go out of bounds was a leg, not a foot, and the ball was out of his hand. Watch it without listening to the announcers babble, watch the leg hit the sideline on the slowest of the slow-mo replays and pause it; look at the ball, he is trying to get it across the line and its out; once the ball is out (while he is in bounds) when and where HE goes out is irrelevant. The ball lands out of bounds past the pylon (end zone side); that is a touchback.

It even makes sense that this is what happened from a basic physics standpoint. He is moving toward the sideline and then moves his arm toward the goal line in an attempt to get the ball across... the result of dropping a ball that is released from a body moving toward the sideline and an arm moving toward the goal line? Pretty basic.

Its all moot now, but clearly a bad call.

jayhawks71 14 years, 6 months ago

tmk, take a look at this pic. Then go back and watch your recorded game. The pic, the foot is inbounds, the ball is no longer in possession. Go see where the ball lands. Hint: sideline in the endzone; the result of that is a touchback.

actorman 14 years, 6 months ago

KU is just another Forth Worth Bowl team this year because of Mangino.

You DO understand that we're talking about KU football here, don't you? You DO realize that KU has NEVER, in their entire inglorious history, made two bowl games in a row, don't you? You DO know that the team was a heaping pile of you know what when Mangino took over, don't you? It is patently ridiculous to say that KU is "just another Fort Worth Bowl team this year." I for one would be thrilled to see KU make two bowl games in a row for the first time in history. It's about baby steps. Now if they still haven't done any better than the Fort Worth Bowl in a few more years, then I'll be really bothered by it. For now, the team is making progress and that's all anyone can hope for/expect.

I also want to echo the comments by JBurtin. Very well put. And let's not forget one other loss because of a big head that, apparently, has nothing inside it: Jon Randle. If he were one of the cornerbacks, the coverage would have been much better as well.

ku_bringback_danny 14 years, 6 months ago

What happend to Nebraska blowing out Kansas. That's the past. It also shows the difference between coaches. Take Nebraska going into USC hmmm:. I don't want to get blown out let's play not to give up so many points. Kansas same scenario going into a big powerhouse Nebraska's home and L. Vegas saying 21 points. Mangino said screw that we are here to win. Even though Nebraska won you can see a tail of 2 coaches. Oh! I can see it now your going to take this as I am compairing Nebraska to USC answer NO. Just the fact that Nebraska is one of the most tuffest place to play for anybody and Kansas didn't fold when everybody thought they were going to.. good luck with Iowa St. next week. This was the first time the news channels up here in Omaha didn't say Nebraska isn't that good but Kansas is better then most thought.

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