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Saturday, November 24, 2007

A lot to gain

B-Mac tops 1,000, but he's not celebrating

Nebraska's Ben Eisenhart, left, wraps up senior Jayhawk Brandon McAnderson on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007 at Memorial Stadium.

Nebraska's Ben Eisenhart, left, wraps up senior Jayhawk Brandon McAnderson on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007 at Memorial Stadium.

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Kansas running back Brandon McAnderson celebrates in the end zone with offensive lineman Anthony Collins, back, following McAnderson's touchdown during the first half Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater.

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Nebraska's Ben Eisenhart, left, wraps up senior Jayhawk Brandon McAnderson on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007 at Memorial Stadium.

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The Border War 2007

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¢ 6Sports video: Beaten but still in top 5<br /> ¢ 6News video: Fans cheer on Hawks from Lawrence<br /> ¢ 6News video: Crowds brave cold for ESPN's Gameday<br /> ¢ 6News video: Broken dreams<br />

Every time Brandon McAnderson took a handoff his senior year on Lawrence High's football team, Kansas University coach Mark Mangino's emotions would be in a tug-of-war.

What a talent, he would think. But what a price.

"If you want to know the truth, he is a great running back," Mangino said before a smile escaped him. "But I was hoping they were going to throw the ball more because my son was the quarterback. They didn't have to because they had really good running backs.

"Brandon's gain is, I guess, my son's loss."

It's all for the best, even if it took five years to realize it. Mangino now is enjoying his finest season as KU's coach. His son Tommy, the former LHS quarterback, is at the coach's side during practices and games. And McAnderson - with a lot of work in high school to get him ready, we can say - is now a 1,000-yard rusher for the undefeated Jayhawks.

That's right. A primary blocker for his first three years at KU, McAnderson has 161 carries for 1,009 yards this season. The stats could keep adding up today when the No. 2 Jayhawks go for the Big 12 North title against No. 3 Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium.

The winner of tonight's game also likely will ascend to No. 1 in all the national polls after reigning No. 1 LSU fell to Arkansas, 50-48 in three overtimes, Friday.

McAnderson is only the 10th player in KU history to get 1,000 rushing yards in a season. Jon Cornish was the last, getting a school-record 1,457 yards last year.

"I guess when I'm done playing, I can look back on it and think it was pretty cool," McAnderson said. "But right now, it doesn't mean a whole lot."

McAnderson's constant drive is no surprise to Mangino. While he and assistant coach Clint Bowen pondered McAnderson's ability in high school - and offered him an early scholarship as a result - Mangino thought a number of factors would lead the 6-foot, 235-pounder to being productive during his KU career.

Perhaps the biggest one? Pride.

"He wanted to be here," Mangino said. "It was important that Brandon McAnderson played football for KU. He is one of those kids that lived in the area, and this is important to him. This wasn't just going out to play college football. He wanted to play for Kansas."

McAnderson remembers KU's last big season, a 10-2 run in 1995. He also remembers the down years, when tickets were passed out in abundance through the youth league he played in and where metal strips of bleachers stayed empty throughout games at Memorial Stadium.

But it never tempered his desire to stay in his hometown and help make a difference. Almost like it was a calling.

"I felt like it was time for a change, and I thought Mangino could be the guy to change things around," McAnderson said. "I'm glad to be a part of it."

A part of it? He has been one of the engines. McAnderson raced past 1,000 yards in just 11 games, after running for 228 yards in his first three years COMBINED.

He had a 183-yard effort at Texas A&M, 132 at Oklahoma State and 119 against Nebraska. In addition, his 15 touchdowns rank him fourth in the Big 12 Conference.

Surely, he didn't see this much of an impact coming.

"I didn't," McAnderson admitted. "I thought I would be a part of the offense. Not that I didn't have confidence in myself, I just didn't think I would be able to produce as much or our O-line would be able to play as well as they've played."

Well : they all have. Because of that, Kansas is racing toward its best season yet. And at least part of the contribution has been made from a local product.

See? That pride factor does have its share of clout.

"It means a lot to me," McAnderson said. "When I came here, that's what I wanted to be a part of, the turnaround of the program. I think I've been a part of that, and it's been fun."

Comments

CaramelMacchMan 6 years, 8 months ago

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW KU FOOTBALL ON FRONT PAGE OF WWW.MSN.COM.???

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DSommersby 6 years, 8 months ago

B-Mac is one of the main heartbeats of this team. Love this guy's story. Local Lawrence kid who is helping turn his hometown team into a Champion with true blood, sweat, and tears.

He has been such a selfless player and made plays wherever he has been assigned. He has been a standout special teamer constantly making plays and tackles on the kick and punt teams. He has been a hard working, no-glory fullback. I still remember his pancake block his freshmen year to seal the win against K-State. The guy does all the little things and this year he is getting the chance to make headlines.

The guy is a warrior, workhorse, battler, whatever you want to call him. I hope they can get him 24 carries tonight mimimum to keep working away at that Mizzou defense. Feed the beast and get it to B-Mac and mix in some Jake Sharp too. We can work it away in the trenches with tough, gritty, physical play and then we will have Todd and the wideouts go over top when they start creeping up.

Run hard Jayhawks!

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jayhawkr34 6 years, 8 months ago

Sure would be nice to see B-MAC in chiefs gear next yr

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oregonjhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

When Lee Corso put that Tigger head on this morning I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth...

KU 45 MU 28

Go Hawks!

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sevenyearhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

how could you be surprised? Corso hasn't hardly picked us all year ...

I was there this morning, about ten feet from the Missouri crowd - the hatred hung in the air, and was definitely palpable ...

I also noted that while the predominant color for Kansas fans was blue, there was not the amount of black or gold you'd expect on Missouri fans - their color of choice seemed to be gray.

Blue and gray ... eerie!

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jayhawkr34 6 years, 8 months ago

just like i posted on espyuk.com, i find it hard to believe lee corso(lost) has a job, much less giving football predictions. but im just a bitter ku jayhawk fan, right. i hope not only do we beat the pussy's we make it taste like 1960 all over again.

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rockchalk43 6 years, 8 months ago

Is Lou Holtz the only sports commentator that is for KU??? He's the only one I've really seen. I'm tired of everyone saying that we're undefeated because we haven't played any good teams. It's time to prove that we are undefeated because we are GOOD

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rockchalk43 6 years, 8 months ago

Can someone give me a link to vote Todd Reesing for the Heisman please!!!

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cwag 6 years, 8 months ago

Corso's been wrong about us all year - I'm glad he picked Missouri.

KU 31 Moo 13

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