Some thoughts...from Memorial Stadium
Ryan Wood, Journal-World KU Football beat writer
"Wow. While many of us expected Kansas to pull it out, nobody thought this game was over in the second quarter.
Fact is, Kansas played a relatively clean game, which is unexpected in a season opener. The entire offense played great, to the point where Central Michigan had too much it had to prepare for.
It's a good sign for the rest of the season,but only if Kansas takes this kind of mental approach into every week."
Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor
"On the same night the great Willie Pless saw his name go up on the Ring of Honor, another undersized player showed that value isn't measured in physical dimensions. Todd Reesing wasn't good in his first college start. He was great, and the new offense suits him perfectly."
Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor
"Todd Reesing was incredible, but don't forget how easy his effectiveness made the running game look. Both Brandon McAnderson and Jake Sharp made hitting the century mark look like cake, and it was the first time in doing so for each ballcarrier.
On Reesing, though, it wasn't just how well he fit the offense which impressed me. It was his poise and confidence in throwing the deep ball. He made highlights aplenty after shaking off some nerves in the first series. Don't expect that every week, but remember what he's capable of."
Inside the numbers
0: Maybe more impressive than Todd Reesing's 261 yards through the air of KU's 538 total yards of offense is the fact that in the season opener, usually a mistake-ridden testing ground, the Jayhawks didn't turn the ball over once.
3: The Jayhawks' new offense has all the points of privacy covered. In fact, the audibles are signaled in from the sidelines, where two coaches and third-string QB Tyler Lawrence are each sending in different signals, with one as the real deal and two as decoys. One could be doing the 'vogue' and be for real, no one knows.
103: Marcus Henry was the only KU receiver to crack the century mark in yardage, but he did it in a heckuva weird way. First, he had a grab which after he reached over the defenders shoulders to try and get it tipped up, and after falling to his knees, he stretched to snag it. Then, Reesing put a deep ball right on the money down the sidelines, and he took care of the rest by tucking into the front corner of the end zone. He also showed toughness going over the middle. His teammates weren't kidding in saying he's a potential breakout star this season.
52: That's how many yards KU's All-American cornerback Aqib Talib had on offense as a receiver, with 49 of them coming on a deep touchdown pass in which he split the seam of the defense and used his 4.3-4.4 speed to create separation and give Reesing an easy target. He's going to add quite the dimension to this offense, and can also serve as quite the decoy.
1: That's how many sacks KU allowed, behind an offensive line which many questioned coming into this season because of its inexperience. Instead, the unit shined all night, keeping pressure off both Todd Reesing and Kerry Meier, and springing a pair of 100-yard rushers.
Just in case you missed it...
On KU's first scoring drive of the day, Mark Mangino made the ultimate statement by going for it on fourth-and-one at his own 41-yard line. On top of that, the Jayhawks threw the ball, with Todd Reesing finding Derek Fine for seven yards. That showed the confidence he has in his young gunslinger, and Reesing returned the favor. Eight plays later, he hooked up with Fine for a three-yard score, and the Jayhawks never let off the gas from there. It was a sign of the motto of this offense, which looks to perform without hitting the brakes unless absolutely necessary.
Also worth noting was Raimond Pendleton's 77-yard punt return for a touchdown on the second attempt of his young career. He took an acrobatic dive into the end zone late which caught a 15-yard penalty, and drew the ire of Mangino, who had to be reminded of when Anthony Webb pulled a similar stunt against Kansas State a year ago which aided the 'Cats ensuing kickoff return and spurred a score. Pendleton probably learned his lesson through his tongue-lashing, and it's a safe bet he won't do it again. But you can't blame a young kid for having some fun. Just gotta know the limits.
Hopefully you didn't miss it...
KU is obviously equipped for a vertical passing game unlike anything fans in these parts have seen in a very long time. Not only is Reesing's deep ball accurate, but it's thrown with velocity and hits its target with pop. Sure, teams will now probably see this gametape and be better prepared for it than Central Michigan was, but after seeing Reesing operate for three straight quarters, it's fun to think about what else he has up those sleeves.
They said it...
Mark Mangino on the debut of the new offense: "It's what we want. It's who we are. The system fits the kids. You can see that we have the ability to give you a lot of formations, to throw the ball all around the ballpark and run the ball effectively. And some things in the run game were going so well that we didn't have to use as many things as we thought we would tonight."
Aqib Talib on Todd Reesing's first career start going so well: "That's just how he's been in practice through spring, through camp. He just carried all that confidence into the game, and that's just how we've been practicing, right there."
Todd Reesing on meeting personal expectations Saturday: "I don't think you can ever exceed your own expectations. Obviously, there were a few passes I made that weren't too crisp and on the dot, and a few reads that I made that I should have thrown to someone else. So there's always stuff to improve on and you expect for the best, but for a first game, first start, I'd say I feel pretty confident and that was a pretty god game."
Darrell Stuckey on the new feel of the defense: "I feel were more aggressive, more confident and (there's) more trust in the man next to you this year. A great improvement as a collective whole is our defense, period...Tonight was not a flawless game, but the great thing is that (CMU QB Dan LeFevour) didn't capitalize on our mistakes, so we've just got to clean em up, we'll be a better team tomorrow."
Brandon McAnderson on his most extensive ballcarrying duties yet as a Jayhawk: "I was a little tired. I've been dreaming of running the ball, that's what I came here for, and I got the opportunity to do it and it was fun. I felt like my old self, felt like I was 218 (pounds) again."