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Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Fifth Quarter: Kansas 30, Kansas State 24

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2007 KU-KSU Football

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."

Notable...

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.

Comments

14 years ago

willie could take a lesson from CatsRoll. Gracious indeed - - much appreciated.

I agree with the need for a 1A college football playoff! I guess that's an argument for another day.

I don't think we had enough fans in attendance to compromise the structural integrity of the goal posts. It's probably just as well. I am guessing fabio and J_D were still able to enjoy the victory.

sevenyearhawk 14 years ago

CatsRoll,

sadly the Big XII gets little recognition because it is "fly-over" country ... and the result of a former commissioner who did little to advance our cause!!!

I lived in Florida for a few years where all I heard was ACC/Big East/SEC ...

Yes, a college play-off, that's something we can certainly agree upon!

You are gracious, this will not be forgotten!

CatsRoll 14 years ago

Stanford beat USC and LSU beat the Gators by about as much as Auburn did. LSU should be consensus #1 tomorrow, and Auburn gets a shot at LSU this season. Depending on how things shake out in our division (the Cats still aren't out by any means), that game should be a good indicator of where we all stand. We've got to play MU, NU, CU, and ISU, not to mention O-State and Baylor. Then Fresno State. We could go 10-2, but I doubt it, because unless we get a running game, somebody else will have our number like you did today.

I'm thinking the Hawks might even debut in at least one poll as high as #15 tomorrow, but it will be a travesty if you're not at least #20. And you KU fans don't lack in classy people either- we've had a few of them all week over at rivals.com- and except for the few jokers who always come on and successfully bait some K-Staters into a purple rage by making fun of farmers or the typical K-Staters who insist on making fat jokes and gayhawk remarks- it's been mostly good-natured and fun. You're all getting some props there, if you'd like to visit, by the way.

justanotherfan 14 years ago

HUGE win for the Hawks. As much as I'd like for the guys to be able to sit back and bask in the glory, tomorrow has to begin the preparation for the next game. After all, the goal should be to get to the Big XII title game. GO HAWKS!!!

actorman 14 years ago

I can't wait to see if willie shows up to take his medicine. What was it he kept saying? Oh yeah, 31-10. Nothing like making a KSUck fan suck it!

filmhawk 14 years ago

and you know what the sad part is for the wildcats, they can't say, "wait till basketball season." must suck to be purple.

rock chalk boys - rock chalk

CatsRoll 14 years ago

Excellent game, Jayhawks. You took us to the woodshed in every aspect of the game today. We had many opportunities, and received many breaks, but you shut us down. It was clear to me by the middle of the second quarter that you have a running game and we do not. All other facets of the game were very close, but Mangino had the best game plan, best offensive line, and best running backs. And Aqib Talib is a phenomenon.

Congratulations on a fine piece of football playing out there today, Kansas University. The state is yours until next year.

Jonathan Allison 14 years ago

How about that? A little class from a K-State fan. Now it's time to get ready for our first win over a Big XII South opponent since '03

Jonathan Allison 14 years ago

No offense to KSU fans, because I know some there are lots of good ones, but they aren't usually the ones posting on a KU message board

Muska 14 years ago

since KSUck fans can't actually win the games, they'll probably just stick to their guns and make some fat jokes about Mangino. It's all they have at this point.

Kirk 14 years ago

These LJW guys are all Captain Obvious. But they're right -- Reesing is the key. The ball's in his hands every play. He's leading and he really is "sparky".

1977kufan 14 years ago

CatsRoll, Thank you for the pleasant message. Many of the Cats fans are very nice. I wish the Cats great success the rest of the Season and that was a great win (last week) against well... one of the Big 12 South schools that refers to themselves as a football school. Go Cats, take it to CU!!! Go Big 12 North!!

actorman 14 years ago

"lee corso is a class a jerk." Quite true. I actually met someone once who had played for Corso at Indiana. He said the entire team couldn't stand him and thought he was an a-hole.

CatsRoll, are you sure you're not a closet Jayhawk fan? You seem way too logical and classy to be a Wildcat. Anyway, thanks for the kind words, and let's hope the north shoves it to the south (and especially the Texas teams) the rest of the year.

sevenyearhawk 14 years ago

I expect willie to show up and take his licks ... if not, I got a pretty good idea where he parks his house!

Alan Halvorsen 14 years ago

That was a nice message, but lets not get ahead of ourselves and start posting "go cats" on here.

speedy 14 years ago

well by now you may have seen the espn crew backtrack on ku. lee corso is a class a jerk. i for one have not forgotten the n.c.st. game where corso openly rooted against ku. so far espn has only gotten praise from craig james. great game hawks win again .

Alan Halvorsen 14 years ago

Words cannot describe how great it felt to watch the crimson and blue going crazy, while the purple watched in shock or emptied the stadium.

JBurtin 14 years ago

I don't really care whether or not willie shows up to take his licks. We don't really have anything to prove to a K-state fan. We had the better team last year, and we have the better team this year. And you know what, we should have the better team next year as well.

sevenyearhawk 14 years ago

I have no doubt we'll be ranked tomorrow, Texas lost, Cincy or Rutgers is going to lose, Clemson lost, K-State lost, Purdue is losing, Mizzou will likely finish the Huskers ...

That's teams 19-25 ...

seattlehawk_78 14 years ago

I don't know what the ranking will be but my guess is we will just get into the top 25. K-State beat up Texas in Austin who was a top ten team and just barely made it into the rankings so I wouldn't expect to crash the polls.

Kit Duncan 14 years ago

willie's on a retreat for the weekend (according to him-no tv, no radios, no cellphones), so I'm guessing he won't be back on the boards here this football season.

CatsRoll, you are a class act. Thank you. Now, I don't think we'll ever see any Mizzou fans show any class here.

sevenyearhawk 14 years ago

Missouri and class?

uh, The Antlers and Bill Quantril?

I will give it up to Coach Norm Stewart for mentioning Kansas fans during his retirement ...

sevenyearhawk 14 years ago

I'm kinda being a poor winner on the KSU boards ... that's OK, I'll stop when the clock strikes midnight!

CatsRoll 14 years ago

sevenyearhawk-

There's no way a Jayhawk can be a poor winner tonight, or for the rest of the year. You spanked us hard, and our loud mouths, including me, deserve every minute of celebration at our expense.

I rank you close to Auburn, if it means anything to you. Obviously better than Texas in my books. Whether the biased national sports punditocracy will give the Big XII the recognition we deserve, or as usual, chalk our competitiveness up to being 'over-rated', (while similar competitiveness in the Big Ten or SEC is touted as a sign of how good they all are) remains to be seen.

The entire pre-season bias problem in the rankings, and the often arbitrary bowl selection process cries out for a play-off system in college football. I hope it doesn't happen to you Hawks, but it's very easy for the big TV markets to skew things pretty badly in those polls. It sucks, but outside the Big XII, we're all seen as hicks, and we just don't get any respect.

We got a Go Cats against CU upthread, so I'm going to give a big Go Hawks against MU.

And once again, congratulations on a tremendous game.

DerekR25 14 years ago

I called my Dad after the game (He went while I watched here in NE) and he said that he had a great time. His friends from church who are K-State fans asked him to go and he sat in the middle of the K-State crowd w/ his Jayhawk jacket on. He said that everyone was real nice and there didn't seem to be any hard feelings towards him before, during or after the game. Overall I think that KU/KSU fans have more respect for each other than say KU/MU, just because so many fans from each school live in Manhattan/Lawrence and everywhere else. It was definitely a great game today!

CatsRoll- You guys are going to be really tough to beat this year. I really noticed a difference in Freeman from last year to now. I told my Dad that the Hawks and the Cats look like two teams to be reckoned with and that I wouldn't be surprised if this ended up being the deciding game for the North title. Especially w/ Nebraska's D looking like they forgot how to be a team and Missouri always having that "when are they going to shoot themselves in the foot" monkey hanging on their backs.

CatsRoll 14 years ago

Well, a lot of KU people don't know it, but Manhattan was founded by Free Staters from New England too, and lots of homesteaders out west were Civil War vets for the Union side, so I at least know whom to cheer for when the Border War comes around.

As far as the North Division goes, a lot is going to ride on what kind of team CU really is and how they stack up with the rest of us. I haven't seen them play yet, and they beat OU, who beat Texas, and we beat them, and then you beat us. And Nebraska, I never count them out till they're behind us- but MU made them look pretty bad tonight so I wouldn't go and count the Tigers out just yet either. They can sure shoot themselves in the foot, but they can also grease their way out of a tight spot and punch you in the mouth.

By the way, Lee Corso just voted KU as the unsung team that made the biggest statement today. And all three Gameday pundits have OU top five, it looks like. Where's CU then? I guess we'll find out next weekend. If we can run against them, and they can't run against us, I'd say you shouldn't have any trouble with them, and if you take care of business against MU, you might just get a shot at OU. That's a lot of ifs, and that's why I'm not betting any real money on anything just yet. We've got a lot of football still to be played.

sevenyearhawk 14 years ago

KU/KSU, Lawrence/Manhattan have a lot more in common that folks are willing to admit ...

Nice commentary CatsRoll!

Dan Harris 14 years ago

I've always felt that the KU-KSU rivalry was kind of like a family feud. We can fight with each other but if anyone from outside the family messes with us we band together and fight back! CatsRoll, I would consider you part of the "family" your a class act. As for Willie, well every family has one screwball they try and keep hidden.

prairie_dog 14 years ago

I kind of like Corso in an entertainment sort of way. However, I have not forgotten the Don Autry cheap shot in, I think, 1969, from his cheap-shot oriented Indiana team. Autry suffered a broken femur that ended a promising career.

Corso didn't seem to mind cheap-shotting the other team. Lest we forget.

jhawkshocker 14 years ago

We live in Springfield, MO. and I think sometimes my sons and I are the ONLY KU fans in this town......just thrilled with the win.....but even more thrilling , we got to watch the entire game on TV..thank you FOX Sports Network

troutsee 14 years ago

CU has a tremendous defense and an adequate offense. They will be tough for both Kansas schools. The USC narrow escape at WU last Sat and their loss to Stanford makes their pounding of the Huskers in Lincoln bode even worse for the awful Huskers and their black shirts. The Huskers stink with a capital "S". Every team in the B-12 North will beat them except for ISU, of course, and they had 28 first down and 550 yards of offense against them. They are to be feared no longer. As for the Hawks, danger games are with CU and OSU. I think we'll handle A & M, ISU, NU, and Baylor.

CaliforniaJhk 14 years ago

Lots of great memories about going to Manhattan for game days...the students were rowdy and knew how to have fun. Glad the tradition lives on with this generation. Only went to Columbia once. The crowd of adults (not students) were throwing objects at the KU band while drunks started fights with anyone wearing blue and cars with Kansas license plates got vandalized. The Tigers and their fans were the embarassment of the conference for their behavior. I'm hoping the game in Kansas City has plenty of security. Great game Cats, see you in Lawrence next year.

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