Some thoughts...from Manhattan
Ryan Wood, Journal-World KU football beat writer
"There's just a certain fire about this Kansas team that's hard to explain. It's definitely a reflection of quarterback Todd Reesing, who always has that attitude that nothing's out of the reach of his ability.
It is a tremendous attitude to have as the meat of the Big 12 schedule gets going. This was a gigantic victory for the program, and erased any doubts an easy non-conference slate may have caused. Winning on the road, in the Big 12, against your rival and coming from behind? This could definitely be a pretty good team. Enjoy the ride."
Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor
"Anyone foolish enough to think Todd Reesing's brilliant start to the season was all about the soft schedule simply wasn't paying attention to the accuracy of his passes, the pocket presence, the unshakable confidence. He shook a slow start on the road Saturday against the nation's 24th-ranked team and came back to beat them with three touchdown passes. Now, any voter foolish enough to leave Kansas out of the top 25 simply hasn't been paying attention.
Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor
"Since Keegan and Wood already talked about Reesing, I guess I'll get a bit more general. In my mind, this game was all about redemption. In other words, I'm starting to see just what Aqib Talib was talking about this summer when he said this team just had a different swagger than Jayhawk squads of recent memory.
It was Dexton Fields bouncing back from a crucial miscue bouncing from his facemask and into the hands of Chris Carney to score the game-winning TD. It was Talib making up for a sub-par first half to secure the game with a late pick. It was the defense staying stout and holding the Wildcats to just 53 yards on the ground after Leon Patton registered 104 on the unit as a freshman a year ago.
To sum it up, I'll say this - while KU gave away a handful of games in the fourth quarter a year ago, don't plan on it happening this year. If a team is to take down the Jayhawks, it'll be earned - not given."
Inside the numbers
3: For the second straight year, KU picked off Josh Freeman three times. And for the second straight year, the interceptions were crippling to a late K-State rally. They had even more meaning today, though. For Aqib Talib, he was able to get a slice of payback pie from being burned by Jordy Nelson for a 68-yard touchdown in the first quarter. For Kendrick Harper, he was making up for lost time - it was his first impact play since missing the non-conference season with an injury after being slated in the summer as KU's starting corner opposite the All-American.
73.1: That was Todd Reesing's completion percentage in the game's final three quarters. After a miserable 3-for-9 showing in the game's first 15 minutes, Reesing settled in late in the first half and showed unshakable confidence. After the game, he pointed out that the two-minute drill drive which netted a touchdown pass to Aqib Talib late in the first half was what really got him feeling comfortable among 50,000 opposing fans. He finished with 267 yards passing and three touchdowns, combatting his three interceptions.
10: Even in a loss, Jordy Nelson made a statement for Kansas State. It shouldn't go unnoticed that he caught 10 balls for 137 yards and a score. He impressed in a variety of ways, whether it was deep, over the middle or toeing the sideline. You only wonder if things would have been different had Ron Prince decided to run more plays which allowed Josh Freeman to find his senior target deep.
158: When the passing game struggled, it may have been lost in the mix that it was the combination of Jake Sharp and Brandon McAnderson who moved the KU offense for a large chunk of time. The duo combined for 158 yards and one Jake Sharp touchdown. While Sharp got the offense started with his 20-yard score, McAnderson was the sledgehammer late in securing the win.
53: While KU piled up rushing yards by the bunch, K-State struggled to do so, leaving Josh Freeman to throw 48 passes. Sophomore Leon Patton, who went for over 100 yards last year against the Jayhawks, had just 16 yards on five carries. James Johnson had 30 yards on 11 carries.
32.5: Not everything was perfect for KU. Kyle Tucker, who struggled as a junior following a solid sophomore campaign, averaged just 32.5 yards per kick in his four punt attempts. Granted, each time he was punting into a tough South-North wind, but the defense was left in tough situations in terms of field position as a result of those kicks.
The punt return game also showed some flaws for KU. Raimond Pendleton muffed his first two attempts, both of which were signaled fair catches. Neither was a turnover in the end, but he never looked comfortable after that, leaving Mark Mangino to put Dezmon Briscoe into the game for the final punt return KU had in the game.
Throw in a muffed hold on an extra point attempt which nearly proved pivotal late in the game, and KU's got some special teams wrinkles to iron out heading deeper into Big 12 play.
Just in case you missed it...
Defensive linemen get overlooked quite a bit. Senior James McClinton certainly shouldn't be for his massive performance in the middle of the trenches Saturday. KU's preseason All-Big 12 selection at defensive tackle was constantly in the backfield, giving himself plenty of reasons to execute his famous pointing to the sky celebration. He had six tackles, including two for a loss. Also piling up numbers defensively were junior Joe Mortensen, who had 11 tackles from his 'mike' linebacker spot, and freshman corner Chris Harris, who recorded seven tackles - all of the solo variety.
Hopefully, you didn't miss it...
Todd Reesing is proving more and more each week that he's the Jayhawks' central nervous system. In past years, KU hasn't consistently had quarterbacks who could stay unflappable after early mistakes in Manhattan. That was proven with a drought in the Little Apple which had lasted since 1989. But Reesing forced himself to get comfortable. He's the real deal, and some of the schools in Texas that passed on him because of his undersized frame might be wishing right about now that they had his heart and determination. After all, the Jayhawks are 5-0, while none of Texas' Big 12 schools can claim an unblemished record.
They said it...
Todd Reesing on taking awhile to get going: "It appears that way. Obviously our first quarter was pretty poor. I wasn't shaky, I just don't think we got things clicking like we wanted to to start the game. I think after the first quarter, from the second quarter on, we pretty much moved the ball. The only time we couldn't do it was when we stopped ourselves. I just think we had to get settled and used to playing on the road and in the new environment, but I don't think it was a huge factor."
Todd Reesing on proving doubters wrong: "We're the first Kansas team to win here since 1989. That in itself should prove to anybody that was doubting us before this game that we are for real. We have a good team, and we're going to try to prove it every week, and I think this game only goes to help that."
Todd Reesing on having an unbreakable confidence: "I don't think (getting confidence broken) can happen. We came out with some adversity. I came out, the first pass I threw was an interception. It came off of my hand bad, I 'm not going to attribute that, it was a bad throw, and so that happens. But, you know, the offense had confidence in me, I had confidence in myself, and we bounced back. And in the second half, we pretty much scored whenever we wanted to. We had a lot of guys open. You've got to face the adversity every game that you may have, but you can't let it get you down."
Todd Reesing on when he felt comfortable at Bill Snyder Family Stadium: "I guess going into the half, when we went into the two-minute (drill), and just started moving the ball and completing a lot of passes in a row, I really kind of settled in and started to see the field a lot better, so I knew coming out of halftime, I had a lot more confidence than in the first half, because that two-minute drive really helps your confidence build up."
Aqib Talib on Jordy Nelson's score and trying to make up for it: "It was my fault, I'm anticipating, they ran out after out, slants, short routes, I'm sitting on the short route and he comes out jogging, he sped up on me. Hey, he caught the ball, I'll take it, I win some, I lose some, I don't care...I'll take it. Hey, I got it back at the end, sealed the game, I'll take it."
Aqib Talib on his late interception: "It was a jump ball. Jump ball is my ball."
Aqib Talib on proving doubters wrong: "(ESPN's Lee) Corso said we played all cupcakes on TV today...You can call the schedule what you want to call it, we're going to play it how we want to play it."
Aqib Talib on if KU wins this game a year ago: "Last year, that was the kind of game we would have gave away last year with the immaturity on the field. This year, we have more experience. We kept the confidence at the end of the game. The offense got the first down, where last year we would have put the defense back on the field one more time. The offense picked up the first down and we ended it with our offense on the field this time. As a team, it was a big win and it was a big step for us."
Dexton Fields on redeeming himself late in the game: "When I dropped that ball and he intercepted it, all I said was 'God, give me another chance to make it up.' I couldn't let my team down like that. So when I came back, God gave me another chance and glory be to God...We just had double slants, and he was playing outside leverage. I just worked it like I was going outside and broke it in and Todd put it on the money....Coach (Ed) Warinner told me after the game he knew he had to come back to me. He does that for everybody when we mess up."
Russell Brorsen on the defense's knack for timely big plays Saturday: "We thought we were going to be able to make plays. The number of big plays we made was a little surprising. But that's what we come out to do."
Jake Sharp on his reception in Manhattan: "K-State and KU don't like each other too much. I didn't know I had so many fans out here. We came out here for the pregame, and all the K-State fans had all kinds of nice things to say. So it was fun coming down here, and were just happy with the way it turned out."
Jake Sharp on KU making up for its mistakes: "I don't know how many balls we dropped for touchdowns today. We really feel that if we do some other things different, it may not have been this close. K-State's a heckuva team, though. We didn't come in here thinking we were gonna roll them for nothing."
Jake Sharp on the importance of the running game Saturday: "Obviously they wanted to shut our passing game down. So we had to hit them with the run, and we were able to do that early on. And I really think it was able to open up our passing game and everything fell together for us."
Mark Mangino on winning in Manhattan: "I've won here before. I came here in 2000 with Oklahoma and won, but I've never won as the head coach of Kansas. I told our players that this was the day, the time was right. Our program, our players are confident. They feel good about themselves and feel like this 2007 team feels like they can win anywhere. We won one at one place and hopefully we'll continue to do it. It's good to get a win here, but I'll be honest with you, it's more important that it's a win in the North and it's a win on the road. Who the opponent was, was not quite as important. I was excited about it for our fans and people in the state of Kansas. It's just important because it's a North team and we're still winning."
Mark Mangino on Todd Reesing's performance: "I don't know if it was jittery as much as he was trying to really decipher what they were doing in the first couple of series. They were mixing things up and he was trying to get a read on it. The first ball that he threw, he came off the field and said that it slipped out of his hands and it was an interception. But I thought by the time we got into the second quarter he had that look in his eyes like he knew what they were doing and he had a good beat on it. Our coaches were telling him what was happening and he could see it. He could feel it and he knew how to react to it."
KU's last win against a ranked team was a 24-21 win over No. 25 Iowa State to close out the 2005 regular season...KU's last win against a ranked team on the road was a 38-17 win at No. 15 Oklahoma in 1995...Todd Reesing now holds the KU sophomore record for TD passes with 14, surpassing Adam Barmann's total of 12 in 2004. Those 14 also rank as the fourth-highest single-season total in KU history...Reesing has thrown for 200 yards or more in five straight games. The KU record is six by Mike Norseth between 1984-85...Jake Sharp's 20-yard touchdown in the second quarter was KU's first touchdown in Manhattan since 1999...Aqib Talib has now scored touchdowns in six straight games. His fourth quarter interception was also the 11th of his KU career, tying him for third place all-time with Milt Garner (1984-87)...Marcus Henry's two catches for 24 yards put him over the 1,000-yard career mark with 1,002.