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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lookin’ Sharp!

Salina back runs wild; KU dismantles KSU

Kansas University’s Jake Sharp (1) bowls over a Kansas State defender in this file photo from Nov. 1, 2008. Sharp rushed for 181 yards against the Wildcats.

Kansas University’s Jake Sharp (1) bowls over a Kansas State defender in this file photo from Nov. 1, 2008. Sharp rushed for 181 yards against the Wildcats.

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KU football defeats KSU

The 106th edition of the Sunflower State Showdown belongs to KU's kid from the Sunflower State. Salina native Jake Sharp rushed for four touchdowns, 181 yards and had 5 pass receptions.

Audio clips

2008 KU-KSU football

Reader poll

Who was KU's defensive MVP against Kansas State?

  • Daymond Patterson 2% 35 votes
  • James Holt 54% 823 votes
  • Darrell Stuckey 8% 125 votes
  • Jake Laptad 11% 178 votes
  • Russell Brorsen 14% 216 votes
  • Clint Bowen 6% 103 votes
  • Other 1% 26 votes

1506 total votes.

Thanks largely to the marvels of modern technology, Jake Sharp did not have to wait long Saturday afternoon before the inevitable messages began to make their way, via high-frequency radio waves, into the junior running back's cell phone.

By the time Sharp had made his way into Mrkonic Auditorium following the Jayhawks' 52-21 victory over visiting Kansas State, he had accumulated close to 30 text messages congratulating him on his career day against a program he'd grown up watching.

"Phone's blowing up," said Sharp, as he happily lounged in a chair surrounded by reporters.

So, too, is his status in the college football world. Saturday, Sharp rushed for a career-high 181 yards and four touchdowns, adding five catches for 76 yards in a performance unlike any he has had since rolling up a state-record 63 touchdowns as a senior at Salina's Central High.

Said Kansas coach Mark Mangino, whose team improved to 6-3 (3-2 in the Big 12) and became bowl-eligible for the fourth straight season, "He's going to be walking around Salina this summer with his chest out."

In a breakout performance by the team's run game - KU's 280 rushing yards were its most since Oct. 6, 2001 - the Jayhawks rebounded from last week's disastrous 63-21 loss to Texas Tech in convincing fashion to keep pace in the race for their first Big 12 North title in school history.

Using an ugly two-game losing streak - and a good-deal of pre-game trash talk - as motivation, Kansas pieced together its most complete game of the season in winning its third straight game in the annual Sunflower Showdown.

The offensive line opened Buick-sized holes. The special-teams unit did everything asked of it. Even the team's much-maligned defense came up big after rough outings against Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

Despite growing concerns about whether Kansas had the ability to slow opposing offenses down - along with similar concerns about whether a significantly altered secondary could survive in a conference packed with potent aerial attacks - the Jayhawks played arguably their best defensive game of the season.

For the third straight year, K-State quarterback Josh Freeman was rendered essentially useless by the Jayhawks' defense. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound junior threw three interceptions and fumbled on a quarterback keeper at the KU one-yard line, giving him 13 turnovers in three career games against Kansas.

Afterwards, there was no attempt by K-State coach Ron Prince to put a positive gloss on a demoralizing conference loss.

"This is a thorough and complete beating and defeat, there is no question about it," said Prince, whose job security likely took a significant hit Saturday. "I'm not one that's going to try to mince words and try to spin anything. ... This game does mean a tremendous amount to the people of this state, and we let them down."

In the end, Kansas State's first offensive possession provided an ominous precursor to what was to come. Wildcats kick returner Deon Murphy, who earlier in the week guaranteed he'd return a kick or punt for a touchdown, received a Kansas kickoff and then handed off to teammate Brandon Banks on a broken reverse that started the Wildcats' drive at their own eight-yard line.

Four minutes later, following Sharp's second touchdown run of the day, the Wildcats found themselves in a 14-0 hole, and three minutes after that, a 47-yard touchdown run by Sharp pushed the Kansas lead to 21-0.

And the rout, as they say, was on.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing attempted a season-low 23 passes, finishing with 162 yards, a touchdown and interception, and linebacker James Holt recorded two sacks, forced two fumbles and recovered another to lead the defense.

The afternoon, though, belonged to Sharp. His yardage total easily surpassed his previous career-best of 127, and he gave the impression he was quite content to bask in the glow of such a performance against a team that showed no interest in the former prep-school legend until he already had committed to play for Mangino at Kansas.

At the same time, however, Sharp wasn't so sure the chest-puffing expedition through Salina this summer would come to fruition.

"Go home?" he asked in mock disgust. "Ha. We get maybe two weeks during the year to go home."

Comments

dukehester 5 years, 10 months ago

It was so much fun to watch the team redeem themselves from Tech game.....and become bowl eligible against kitties....and help ksuck administration get over the hump to fire 'prancer'....super CONGRATS to the 'HAWKS for yet another "Great day to be a JayHawk"!!!! RCJ GKU

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lance1jhawk 5 years, 10 months ago

easyfive- Yes Branstetter did have three TD saving tackles and was perfect in PAT's, but he should have been burying the ball in the back of the endzone on a day when the wind was a non-factor. He also kicked one out-of-bounds giving KSUck the ball on the forty.Yes he had three nice tackles, but he put himself in that position.

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hawkman162 5 years, 10 months ago

I watched Jake Sharp play at Salina Central for 4 years. I have never seen someone work so hard at getting better. Which is why living in Salina where almost everybody is a Wilcat fan with the exception of a few thousand of us, I was excited when he anounced he wasnt going to KSUCK and he went to KU!! This year is a precurser of things 2 come. Wait until next year.

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easyfive 5 years, 10 months ago

Jake did make the other team, look like a bunch of girls trying to get him down. Don't forget Branstetter's 3 major TD saves!!! Mark should go and thank him. (Might stick him in the LB group this week.:)

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NH_JHawk 5 years, 10 months ago

rockchalk_dpu,I agree 100%. When you can pressure the QB with the front 4 (exactly why the Texas Tech D shut down Colt McCoy for nearly 3 quarters last night) you are able to significantly disrupt the flow of the offense. This was non-existent during the OU and Tech games. If we are going to win the Big 12 north, it is absolutely imperative we have an effective pass rush.

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Jason413 5 years, 10 months ago

I just saw that the Nebraska game will kick off at 1:30 and only available on pay per view. The big 12 is showing colorado and iowa st and putting us on pay per view. What a joke

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rockchalk_dpu 5 years, 10 months ago

I think we learned a valuable lesson about our defense yesterday too. When we are able to send only 4 guys and drop 7 back in coverage, especially knowing they have to pass, makes us look like we know what we are doing. Jake Laptad was huge for us today forcing the first INT and mixing it up and sending Holt a couple of times really got them off their game. Hopefully this could serve as a confidence game as we travel to Lincoln next week.Break the Streak!RCJ

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JayViking 5 years, 10 months ago

"In the end, Kansas State's first offensive possession provided an ominous precursor to what was to come. Wildcats kick returner Deon Murphy, who earlier in the week guaranteed he'd return a kick or punt for a touchdown, received a Kansas punt and then handed off to teammate Brandon Banks on a broken reverse that started the Wildcats' drive at their own eight-yard line."This was actually a kick off, not a punt.

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lance1jhawk 5 years, 10 months ago

JayViking - You are totally right. We didn't punt until the fourth quarter if my hazy memory serves me correct.

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lance1jhawk 5 years, 10 months ago

Why is the ljworld not reporting on the return of the spat? The spat is back! the spat is back! Look at the picture of Jake's shoes.For more on the spat...http://www.kansascity.com/sports/story/870718.html

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Fred Davis 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm as happy as anybody after yesterday's showing, but it's important we remember we just beat up a reeling Kansas State team that was beaten by an equally worse Colorado team two weeks ago...But not to be a Debbie Downer, I'm pleased that KU did take care of business, the rush-game was solid, the defense looked good and big plays were made when they were needed...KU is still a viable threat in the Big 12 North, and is beautifully under the radar at this point, which couldn't be better for this team as a 2-1 finish down the stretch and a Big 12 Championship berth is a real possibility...We can beat Nebraska at their place, Pelini looks like he could wind up as the next Callahan with the way things are going there, we can give UT a good game - their secondary is questionable and it's the last game at home for us - and Missouri is Missouri - almost losing to Baylor is never a good thing and its clear to me - I live in Columbia - this team is not as good as they were last year...While I was embarrassed after what happpened against Texas Tech, that game could turn out to be the best thing to happen to this team this year, and let's face it, Texas Tech is a damn good football team, and we picked a bad day to play a poor game against arguably the most dangerous offense in college football...So while there's a lot of football still left, I like where KU is at with three games to go - and wouldn't it be nice if KU could crash its way to the Big 12 North Title after everybody thought last year was a fluke... Rock Chalk

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kvskubball 5 years, 10 months ago

Rock Chalk Jayhawks. Go KU Football! Take care of business so that we'll be cheering like crazy in 4 weeks, over FOOTBALL, gasp, during basketball season!!! Let's not forget that we're still in the same situation we were in last week. The NU game is a must win if we want to have a chance at a Big XII North title!We made ourselves bowl eligible, now let's keep it up to keep our chances alive for higer goals!Way to go team! Oh no, I can't help myself....Oh just go ahead and BEAK'EM :^)OK, I said it and I'm still OK!!!

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Cody Stumma 5 years, 10 months ago

Nebraska always perfers to have their games on PPV. Nothing we can do there, but after seeing OU just dismantle them as soon as their team walked onto the field... this is gonna be good!Texas... please let us have the possibility to tear down those goal posts...Mizzou - god... still another 4 weeks away...

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DalTXJayhawk 5 years, 10 months ago

Nebraska needs to come down to the level at which they are performing. Making this a pay per view might have worked back when they consistently had fewer than 2 losses per season, but now they have become less relevant, they should want as large of an audience as possible. This would assure that no one outside of Nebraska/Kansas will see the game.

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5 years, 10 months ago

Way to go, kvskubball! I bet you still feel great after bringing yourself to say it too :^)Jason413 ~ my apologies, I had not read your post yet when I posted basically the same thing on the "Football Notes" article several hours after you. I hope it will at least be on PPV.

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5 years, 10 months ago

Congrats, Rockn_Chalkn_KU!I have DirecTV, so I can't help you on the AT&T info. I will probably catch it at an alumni watch site/party.

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Brad Farha 5 years, 10 months ago

I hope AT&T's U-Verse will carry this PPV channel. I saw some comments about local cable and satellite providers, but I'm not sure how U-Verse fits. I have to see this game, and I can't drive to it because my wife is about to give birth!

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birdogs 5 years, 10 months ago

Beat the $#@^ out of BIG Red

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