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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Flyin’ high

Jayhawks do little wrong in opening rout

In the first game of the season, punt returner Raimond Pendleton dives headlong into the endzone after running back a punt for a touchdown during the first half against Central Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2007 at Memorial Stadium.

In the first game of the season, punt returner Raimond Pendleton dives headlong into the endzone after running back a punt for a touchdown during the first half against Central Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2007 at Memorial Stadium.

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If Kansas University's football team is plagued with any glaring weaknesses this year, they'll have to be exposed another time.

Because what 46,815 fans witnessed during Saturday's season opener was a shiny new team, a superior product that did little wrong and a performance that had the supporters dreaming of what might come to be over the next three months.

The Jayhawks turned a potential nail-biter into an annihilation, crushing Central Michigan, 52-7, and sending the defending Mid-American Conference champions back home wondering what in the heck just knocked them silly.

If the Chippewas still don't have the answer figured out today, here are a few good guesses:

¢ KU quarterback Todd Reesing, in his first career start, completed 20 of 29 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns. That included a beautiful 49-yard touchdown strike to Aqib Talib, a bomb that traveled 51 yards in the air and hit Talib in perfect stride.

"That was as good as it gets," said Talib, a full-time cornerback. "I couldn't ask for a better throw."

¢ The passing game was opened up by the run game, with Brandon McAnderson rushing for 110 yards on 16 carries (all in the first half) and Jake Sharp running for 106 yards on 15 rushes.

The two combined to average seven yards a carry, a testament to the play of the offensive line in front of them.

"Our O-line was tremendous," McAnderson said. "Those guys were up there moving guys."

¢ The defense didn't allow a point until the fourth quarter and made CMU's skilled trio of quarterback Dan LeFevour, running back Ontario Sneed and receiver Bryan Anderson look overwhelmed and mediocre throughout the night.

¢ Raimond Pendleton had a giant seam open up for him, and he took it to the house for a 77-yard punt-return touchdown in the second quarter. He later added a 21-yard touchdown reception in the fourth.

It was that kind of night for the Jayhawks. The question then is, with so much going right, just what stood out as something that was done wrong Saturday?

"(Reesing) took a sack in the second quarter over by the opponents' bench," Mangino said, "when he should've thrown the ball to the tuba player."

Oh, that's right. The only rush for a loss out of 43 attempts.

KU thrashes UCM, 52-7

The star of the night was Todd Reesing in his very first start in a Kansas uniform.

Kansas had no turnovers Saturday, a sparkling debut to a fun offense crafted by Mangino and new coordinator Ed Warinner. At one point, fullback McAnderson was lined up as a slot receiver. At another, slot receiver Dexton Fields was next to Reesing in the backfield.

More than the personnel puzzle pieces, though, it was a mental makeover accompanying the reform that stood out. With the score still 0-0, Kansas went for it on fourth-and-one from its own 41-yard line. Reesing found tight end Derek Fine for a seven-yard gain, and the Jayhawks scored the first of seven touchdowns later in the drive.

"I told Ed Warinner, you better have some fourth-and-shorts and fourth-and-mediums ready, because we're going to go for them," Mangino said. "We're going all-out. We're not holding anything back at any time.

"We can't tell our kids to go all-out if we're not going to go all-out."

The Memorial Stadium scoreboard showed just what an all-out team can accomplish, even against a Central Michigan squad that went 10-4 a year ago.

Mangino said he felt his team was playing with something to prove Saturday, a year after a 6-6 record was considered a step backward in a program that has little choice but to make progress.

His sophomore quarterback agreed.

"We want to bring more respect to this program," Reesing said. "We're tired of being looked at as 'Oh, they're going to be a 6-6, 7-5 team and finish in the bottom of the Big 12.' We don't want that anymore.

"I think we're going to play like that every week."

That'd certainly make for an entertaining season in Lawrence. The view inside and outside the program calls for 2007 to be a breakthrough campaign for the Jayhawks.

Saturday, the first shoulder was driven into the door. The force was impressive, to say the least.

"Everybody's got a weight room, everybody's big and strong," Mangino said. "The teams that win are the guys who have the mental edge. On offense, defense, special teams - we had it tonight. We had it through two-a-days, and we need to continue to do that.

"And if we do? We have a chance to be a pretty good football team."

Go figure

538

Total offensive yards by the Jayhawks

294

Total offensive yards by the Chippewas

6.9

Average yards per offensive play for the Jayhawks

4.5

Average yards per offensive play for the Chippewas

172, 1

Passing yards, TDs by ballyhooed CMU quarterback Dan LeFevour

261, 4

Passing yards, TDs by first-time KU

starting QB Todd Reesing

1-1

Red-zone scoring successes, chances for CMU

5-5

Red-zone scoring successes, chances for Kansas

Comments

sevenyearhawk 6 years, 11 months ago

Another punk QB from a non-BCS school talks trash on KU and gets his helmet handed to him ...

KU was only favored by 7 points, yet scores seven touchdowns ...

Nearly 47,000 in attendance, the largest home opening non-conference crowd since 1994 ... against an opponent who probably didn't bring that many people!

give yourself a hand, Jayhawk football fans

K-State seems to have caught what KU had last year, and blew a late lead ...

What a great day to be a Jayhawk!!!

Beak 'em!

http://www.beakem.org

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Nutflush21 6 years, 11 months ago

Im happy as the next guy that we have started the season out strong, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. We beat a non-BCS opponent and we play 3 more pathetic teams in the non-con. If we take care of business in Mancrappin to start 5-0, Ill get excited.

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Jeremy Bolinger 6 years, 11 months ago

nutflush, this team was defending conference champions who produced a first round draft choice and a second round draft choice. While that doesn't mean they are a good team, that does mean they have talent. But anyways, thats not what this is even about. We absolutely CRUSHED Central Michigan, and our offense looked very, very good. Granted that it was Central Michigan, Im very impressed with SOPHMORE qb Todd Reesing!

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Sparko 6 years, 11 months ago

And Kansas may not play a better opposing quarterback this year. He had size, experience, and good recievers; Anderson over 6"5". The most impressive thing was the execution. Mangino really improved his coaching--the 4th down conversion was huge in this. He has focused on each position and has gotten the right mix of players and personalities it looks like. Reesing played a controlled game. That was the best game a Kansas quarterback has had in some time. There was a lot of pressure, but he was as poised as a veteran. They play with this focus and determination and they will win the conference. That's a lot to ask, but the talent is there. We need to get over the psychological hump of "great" versus average programs. In college football, Boise State showed what can be done with confidence and some coaching. Look and Texas and Michigan yesterday--Kansas certainly looked better than most of the Top 5 yesterday. They can beat anybody if they play like this--mistakes limited, offense unleashed, and defense pounding guys. . .

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sevenyearhawk 6 years, 11 months ago

This was a program that won a bowl game last season, and defending conference champs, with a highly touted QB albeit with a new coach ...

I'd say it is a great sign that Kansas took care of business, that's more than the Michigan Wolverines can say!

You shouldn't overlook anybody just because they lack a big name and aren't in a BCS conference.

Hell, Texas only beat Arkansas State by eight!

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Nutflush21 6 years, 11 months ago

Stop acting like CMU is some powerhouse. The MAC is the second worst conference in 1-A. Only the Sunbelt is worse. Again, we bring this kind of result in Big 12 play, and Ill get excited. Until then, Im not getting my hopes up.

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Sparko 6 years, 11 months ago

Nutflush, this team played its most complete error free game since the Nebraska drubbing a few years ago. CMSU could be better than four or five of the Big XII schools. Football is about confidence and poise. Appalachian State can beat a Michigan in front of 110,000 people. You seem to have bought in to the myth. Ask Texas what happened last night. They were a penalty away from a loss--just like at Kansas in 04. This is as talented a team as I have seen since the 1960s here. They continue to focus, you won't need to come here and remind us that up is down.

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seattlehawk_78 6 years, 11 months ago

Competition aside, KU's performance yesterday is cause for optimism but not for celebration. They played well in every faucet of the game. I'm pretty sure the competition will get better but yesterday is a good indication that we will get better too.

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bmcmich1 6 years, 11 months ago

Regardless of whether you're an optimist or pessimist, you have to admit that yesterday's game provided KU fans with two things that we haven't seen too much of: a win against a team we should beat, and doing so in convincing fashion. There was a time when we'd be happy with squeaking one out against those guys.

We just waxed our toughest non-con opponent 52-7. There's always going to be those people who say 'big deal, it was just CMU' -- I say it's not about who we played, but how we played. And folks, we played REAL well.

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kufan1975 6 years, 11 months ago

yes we played good....but got little pressure off the corner....we got a sacks from our linebackers and a d tackles...speed off the corner....if we dont get it...then the db's are going to get burned again....let's see what happens when we get to k- state...if we dont get any pressure off the ends then it could be a long day and season for the hawks...

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sevenyearhawk 6 years, 11 months ago

Ah, K-State ...

first, let's not get ahead of ourselves ...

secondly, other than the fact they seem to have caught the the inability to close out games KU had last year, I am already concerned about the Cats' D, they were laying some hard hits last night against Auburn.

will KU make a BCS game this season, not likely, but as many of you pointed out: they waxed a non-con opponent as opposed to squeaking by, that enough for me is cause for celebration ...

and nutty needs to give the MAC some credit, they've produced NFL-caliber QBs and not that many years ago, took down 3 to 4 decent BCS teams on the same day!!

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seattlehawk_78 6 years, 11 months ago

And a third thing bmcmich1, a performance by a QB that will leave no doubt about who should be taking snaps.

I'm an optimist but I'm a realist too. No matter how good we are, we can still get beat. App State proved that yesterday. For me the question is, are we good enough to have a chance to beat our opponent. Before Mangino, the answer to that question was often times no. Even Glen Mason who complied decent records could not compete with a lot of teams. This is what makes the MM era so exciting. He rarely gets blown out of a game so even when we play a superior opponent, it is not pointless to watch the game.

It's only week one and regardless of the competition, yesterday gives us all a reason to be optimistic.

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frompekka2sasha 6 years, 11 months ago

Our defense should be very good this year and the offsense was the big question mark. Ed Warriner has a very creative mind and I'm convinced that he will be the difference this season. Kudos to Mangino on getting him to Kansas.

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Kevin Long 6 years, 11 months ago

It was great to see good fundamental football again. I remember not so long ago even when we would score a touchdown we would have to worry about missing the PAT, or bad snap etc. They used to make stupid mistakes in every game. We at least have one game where that didn't happen. I loved the new offense as well. You could see the defense had no idea what the hell was going on!

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seattlehawk_78 6 years, 11 months ago

App State over Michigan, Sweet!!! The Big 10 are the snobs of college football. Apparently it was a very good collection of teams long ago. My earliest memory of this conference was their annual loss to the Pac 8/10 in the Rose Bowl.

It will be interesting to see where they show up in the rankings. If Michigan does not fall out of the top 25 then there is something wrong with the polls (in additional to all the other things that are wrong with the polls). At the very least they will be on the Bottom 10 when it comes out and any hope of a national title has been eliminated.

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jhawkshocker 6 years, 11 months ago

Great team effort......players, coaches, and the fans. I don't know if feeling excited about this win is being overly optimistic or not, but I don't care. I'm now looking forward to the next game with anticipation.....and as a long time KU football fan......I'm enjoying that feeling.

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William James 6 years, 11 months ago

Man, guys. Im just now starting to recover from yesterday. Holy cow, I better pace myself this year. After what happened to Michigan, I hope nobody is over looking our next opponent.

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troutsee 6 years, 11 months ago

Nutflush, the bandwagon is going to be way down the road by the time you want to get on and there will be no place on it for sourpusses like you. We are for real.

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sevenyearhawk 6 years, 11 months ago

fabio ...

I wondered where you were today?

wow, 5 pm to recover? I thought I had it bad, I've been feeling it all day, and am just getting my voice back.

I think we can all agree that we're glad college football is back!

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Kit Duncan 6 years, 11 months ago

I hate to be a "sourpuss", but Nutflush and Seattle are right. One game doesn't make a season, although in the case of Michigan, one game can end a season.

CMU could have just had a bad game. Lefevour could have been suffering an undisclosed illness. The planets could have been in perfect alignment for the only time this season.

All that said, I am very excited at the prospects of a breakout season for the Jayhawks. Whether they win by 45 or 1 makes no difference to me as long as they continue to win. The key to a great season I believe, will be practice, execution, remaining healthy and making as few mistakes as possible. It's a great day to be a Jayhawk!

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William James 6 years, 11 months ago

sevenyear-We were on the south side of the hill in that massive parking lot. I got that espn gameplan package for the season and we watched Appalachian State pull off the win. A bunch of other tailgaters made their way over when they heard all the commotion. Im just getting my voice back too. When CMUs kicking team took the field for kickoff, there kicker looked over at our student section and was waving his arms telling us to get louder. That had me fired up pretty good. Appalachian State sent a message to the whole country that college football is back. Go Hawks!

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sevenyearhawk 6 years, 11 months ago

fabio, I'm going to seek you out next Saturday, i'll send you a private message with my e-mail and cell number later today ...

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