The Fifth Quarter: Kansas 76, Nebraska 39

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Some thoughts....from Memorial Stadium

Ryan Wood, Journal-World KU football beat writer

"This was supposed to be the one game at Memorial Stadium with a chance to be competitive this season. It ended up being more of a laugher than any other.

Obviously, the offense deserves all the talk because that was an effort as good and as clean as any you will ever see. They scored touchdowns on 10 straight drives, had only two penalties and didn't commit any turnovers. It was as close to perfect as you could get.

Amazingly, what's lost in the fireworks is the realization that KU is now 9-0 with three games to go. That's the bottom line in all of this, but taking time to admire what we just witnessed is OK, too."

Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor

"Anyone who doesn't yet realize that Todd Reesing is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate is in mental hibernation. It's been obvious since the first week of the season that Reesing has everything a quarterback needs to win games week after week. He's smart. He's mentally and physically mobile. Above all, he throws to spots with the sort of precision that made Greg Maddux a 300-game winner."

Ryan Greene, editor

"Some people may freak out over the 405 passing yards that KU yielded to Nebraska starter Joe Ganz. The Jayhawks were simply caught off-guard in terms of the Huskers' scheme. But instead of harping on that, look at what KU's defense did do.

The Jayhawks held Marlon Lucky, one of the Big 12's most gifted backs, to 15 yards on eight carries. He now joins the heap with the likes of Hugh Charles and Jorvorskie Lane in terms of running backs with a major blemish on their season game-by-game numbers lists next to where it reads 'Kansas.' They also forced five turnovers. And when the offense scores 76 points, can you really justify being bitter over anything?"

Inside the numbers

23: Todd Reesing has now demolished the old single-season touchdown pass mark, previously held by Bill Whittemore, who threw 18 in 2003. His six TD tosses Saturday not only set a KU single-game record, but helped him rekindle the old flame with the deep ball which had gone out the past couple of weeks. On top of that, he was brutally precise, hitting on 30 of his 41 pass attempts, and again made no mistakes. It's now been 28 calendar days since his last interception thrown.

119: Brandon McAnderson may not be getting any national notoriety, but he's statistically having one of the best seasons of any running back in the nation. His 119 yards and four touchdowns Saturday boosted his season totals to 797 and 13, respectively. For a guy who was lightly regarded as a workhorse ballcarrier at the next level out of high school, he's going out with quite the bang.

3: Just as important as shedding his case of the drops for the past two weeks is the consistency Dezmon Briscoe has shown in the red zone. The 6-foot-3 freshman wideout leads KU with seven touchdown catches this season, including three on Saturday.

10: When KU looked tired in going three-and-out on the game's opening possession, no one could have possibly guessed that the Jayhawks would rip off touchdowns on their next 10 possessions. But it was simply a case of outrunning Nebraska's offense in the marathon on the scoreboard. KU's offensive unit was able to stay multidimensional with the run and the pass, while Nebraska was left to go solely through the air - something which badly bit the Huskers eventually.

203: On top of the defense creating great field position for the KU offense off of turnovers, Marcus Herford was just as pivotal with his 203 kick return yards.

Just in case you missed it...

Need proof that the Jayhawks play some of the cleanest football in the nation? In 90 offensive snaps, KU committed just two penalties. It's not a fluke, either. The Jayhawks have been that way all year, refusing to shoot themselves in the feet with mental errors. Part of what has made this new no-huddle spread offense so effective is the ability to get into a rhythm and get to the line for each snap in a fluid motion. That showed better than ever on Saturday.

Hopefully, you didn't miss it...

There's really nothing more to possibly say about KU's passing game. Everyone played a part on Saturday, too. The receivers didn't drop sure things. The offensive line gave Todd Reesing plenty of time. And Reesing continued to show how consistent he is throwing routes over the middle and making the catches as easy as possible for his targets. Any time a Big 12 team runs the ball for 218 yards against another Big 12 team and the stat is hardly talked about, that says something.

They said it...

Mark Mangino on Nebraska's offensive look that KU had not anticipated: "Here's the bottom line: When you're in our position, right now where our team is, we're getting everybody's best shot, and in some cases the shot may be unorthodox compared to what a team normally does. I think today was case-in-point. They don't normally do that, but they did it well because they're taking their best shot at you."

Mark Mangino on his offense's solid showing from start to finish: "I had conversations throughout the game with our offensive coaches, and we just said 'Just keep running the offense, lets just keep going with the offense, lets run our system and see if they can continue to make plays.' I didn't think we were going to score 76 points today, but by the time we got to middle of the third quarter, I said 'We're gonna score a lot of points today.' But I still thought eventually there'd be some stops. But the kids really played well, played smart, sharp football."

Mark Mangino on Todd Reesing: "Todd is just in his second season, but based on his second season with us - and some of the guys I've coached in the past really broke out in their junior or senior year, - but based on what he's done to this point, both physically as a player and mentally, I think he'd have a chance to surpass the really outstanding ones that I've had, or been associated with at those two other programs. He's a fierce competitor, which those guys were, he's talented, which those guys were, he's highly intelligent - he came here with a 4.2 weighted GPA. The University put him in the honors program as a true freshman. He has a chance to maybe be the best that I've ever been on the same team with, so to speak, same side of the field...He can handle praise. He deserves it. Lets face it, we've had more injuries at quarterback here than you could shake a stick at over the years. He's come in, he's created stability, he's created leadership, he's brought a competitive spark to the team, and he's only a sophomore...He still has some things to prove, but knowing him, he'll prove 'em."

Mark Mangino on what he'd say to someone who told him on Aug. 1 this was where his team would be Nov. 3: "I'd ask 'em what they're drinkin', and see if we can get some of it...But I'm not going to stand here and tell you I thought we'd be 9-0, that'd be foolishness. But I thought we had a chance to have a really good football team."

Todd Reesing on comprehending the offense's total output: "It was obviously one of those games that you're never going to forget. It's great obviously anytime you can score over 70 points on a great team like Nebraska is unbelievable, and we're ecstatic. We understand what we're doing. But we play within the offense, the coaches call good plays, got us in position to make a lot of big plays and we did that."

Todd Reesing on if he's ever come close to scoring 76 points before: "Never gotten close to that, except for maybe the game earlier this season. I think they use the run-rule when you're a kid so everyone's happy."

Darrell Stuckey on how the Nebraska offense caught them off-guard by being so pass-heavy: "I think it probably limits your calls, to what you're going to call and what you want to call as a defense. So we just had to go out there and execute and go through our reads and really watch what they were doing instead of anticipate and play outside of ourselves."

Ryan Cantrell on the lack of turnovers inspiring the offense: "We rally off that. The biggest thing is our turnover margin. I guess today we're plus-13 or something on the turnover margin, and that's huge. It gives us fuel, adds a little bit more fuel to the fire, and makes us want to protect that ball."

Brandon McAnderson on how the team stays grounded continuously: "It's just not an atmosphere that breeds overconfidence and breeds complacency. Because we don't feel any different. I used to always think 'What do those ranked teams feel like?' And I feel the same. I feel like KU, and I feel like we have a good football team and it doesn't feel that much different...Mangino's just instilled an attitude in us that this is a Big 12 North opponent, this is KU 2007, we're going to play Nebraska 2007. When you put it like that, history doesn't matter. Put up against us is a lot of history about how you haven't won road games, or you haven't beat them, or you've never beat them in a game in December when it's 20 degrees. There's all kinds of stats about when you can't do something. But history doesn't matter about the present."

Marcus Henry on the joy he got out of Saturday's game: "I had a lot of fun out there. And I know that the rest of the offense had a lot of fun. When everything clicks the way it did, it makes everything fun out there on the field."

Marcus Henry on Todd Reesing no longer surprising him: "I'm not surprised with anything that he does now just being with him at practice and seeing what he can do. I'm pretty used to it."


Kansas is 9-0 for the first time since 1908...KU has a 9-0 record for just the third time ever...KU has now won nine games in a season just six times...KU is 5-0 in conference play for the first time in school history...KU has now won 12 of its last 13 games...KU has won eight straight home games, and 17 of its last 19 at Memorial Stadium...KU's 76 points were the most it has ever scored in a conference game, surpassing the old mark of 58 which had stood for just three weeks...KU's 76 points were the most ever allowed by a Nebraska team...KU's 48 points were the most Nebraska had ever allowed in a first half, and the same goes for its 27 points in the second quarter...The combined points of 115 were the most ever in a KU football game, surpassing the old mark of 97, last accomplished in 2003 against Colorado...KU's 34 first downs tied a school record which has stood since 1923...KU has broken the school's single-season record for poitns in a season with 416. The previous mark was 384, set through 13 games in 2003...Seven of KU's 11 scoring drives took fewer than two minutes to complete...Todd Reesing's six touchdown passes set a KU single-game record. His 23 TD passes on the season also set a single-season mark...Reesing's 26 career TD passes are the fourth-most in KU history...Marcus Herford's 203 kick return yards set a new school record, breaking the old mark of 195 held by Greg Heaggans...Brandon McAnderson's four touchdowns tied a school single-game record, last accomplished by June Henley in 1996...Dezmon Briscoe's seven TD catches set a new KU freshman record and is tied for third on the KU single-season mark. His three Saturday were the second-most ever caught by a Jayhawk in one game...Kerry Meier's TD catch was the first of his career...Meier became the first Jayhawk since Garfield Taylor in 1981 to have rushed, received and passed for a touchdown in the same season.