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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thrown for a loss

Kansas denied by UT

Texas sophomore running back Vondrell McGee glides into the end zone for another Texas touchdown Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008 during the Jayhawks' home 35-7 loss.

Texas sophomore running back Vondrell McGee glides into the end zone for another Texas touchdown Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008 during the Jayhawks' home 35-7 loss.

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Texas upends KU

The Longhorns soundly defeated KU on the football grid.

'Horns gore 'Hawks 35-7

The KU football team has lost four of its last five games after falling to the Texas Longhorns at a blustery Memorial Stadium.










Go figure

166

Rushing yards by Texas

47

Rushing yards by Kansas

4.5v

Average yards per rush by the Longhorns

2.0

Average yards per rush by the Jayhawks

+3

KU's advantage in passing yards (258 to 255)

78

Team-leading rushing yards by Texas QB Colt McCoy

-34

Rushing yards by Kansas QB Todd Reesing (hurt by 4 sacks)

4-for-4

UT's success scoring inside the red zone

1-for-2

KU's success scoring inside the red zone

7

Plays KU ran inside the UT 10-yard line on the final scoreless series

There is, perhaps, no play that better sums up the Kansas University football team's game against No. 4 Texas on Saturday than the Jayhawks' final offensive play of the afternoon.

Kansas had moved the ball to the Longhorns' two-yard line with less than two minutes left in the game. It was fourth down. Already, the game's outcome had been decided. Kansas was down big. Texas had played nearly flawless defense. A comeback was not in store.

This was more about pride.

At this point, one of two things could have happened. A touchdown would make the score a bit more respectable; helped the Jayhawks end on a high note; proven - at least to those still in attendance - that the Kansas offense can score anytime, anywhere, on any defense in the country.

Instead, it ended with quarterback Todd Reesing lying on his back, near the UT 20-yard line, having been sacked for a 16-yard loss that in no small way acted as a microcosm of the Jayhawks' 2008 season.

After KU's 35-7 loss to Texas, it became very apparent that Kansas has a long way to go before joining the ranks of the conference's elite. The game marked the team's fourth loss in its past five outings and did nothing to dispel sentiment that the Jayhawks' 2007 success was due at least in part to a schedule that featured very few Goliaths.

In a reversal of roles Saturday, the Jayhawks' offense wasn't able to match the performance of the team's defensive unit - which, in the context of one of the most offensively dominating Big 12 seasons in history - was above average.

While Kansas' defense held the Longhorns to just 14 first-quarter points and stifled UT Heisman Trophy candidate Colt McCoy into 255 passing yards, Kansas coach Mark Mangino called Saturday the most frustrating outing of the season for his offense.

And it was hard to argue with his assessment.

The Jayhawks finished with a season-low 305 yards and seven points. They converted on just six of 16 third-down opportunities. And despite moving the ball within the opponent's 30-yard line on three occasions, only managed one touchdown.

"Our offense did not capitalize on the opportunities that our defense gave us," said Mangino, whose team falls to 6-5 (3-4 in the Big 12). " ... You've got to convert third downs and fourth downs, you've got to keep the ball moving, keep the chains moving, go to score, gotta get in the end zone, and we just did not do that."

Part of the problem, surely, stemmed from the loss of a pair of the team's top offensive players. Running back Jake Sharp and receiver Kerry Meier both left the game in the first half due to injuries, and quarterback Todd Reesing practiced just one day this week while recovering from an injury sustained in last week's loss to Nebraska.

Even with Sharp and Meier in the lineup, however, Kansas wasn't having much success against a Texas defense that finished with four sacks and held Reesing to 258 yards on 25-of-50 passing.

"Football's a pretty physical game," KU center Ryan Cantrell said. "It's not like we're going out there having a pillow fight. People are going to get hurt. It's late in the season; everybody's banged up. If you talk to somebody and they say they feel great, they're lying or they don't play."

Things didn't appear to be going terribly for the Jayhawks early on.

Texas managed just a 14-0 lead in the first half.

The Jayhawks received a spark early in the third quarter, when Reesing threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to receiver Dexton Fields that pulled Kansas within 21-7 and re-energized a fan base in desperate need of a jump-start.

But just as quickly, Texas thwarted the Jayhawks' comeback attempt. The Longhorns proceeded to score the game's next 14 points, pulling away in the final quarter and a half to move to 10-1 (6-1 in the Big 12) this season.

"We did some good things," Reesing said. "But we also did some bad things. And it just wasn't the kind of effort we needed to beat Texas."

With six victories, Kansas most likely has locked up a berth in a postseason bowl. But beyond that, little is guaranteed for a team that, at this point last season, was undefeated and battling for a spot in the national championship game.

Following a bye week this week, the Jayhawks will face rival Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 29, and according to players, the ability to end their regular season on a winning note - particularly against a team that ended KU's national title aspirations a year ago - would be a large step in salvaging a season that has gone awry.

"We just have to keep our heads up and play for pride now," senior linebacker James Holt said. "For the senior class, the last game versus Missouri is going to show what we are all about. We are either going to lay down or we are going to come out and fight, and I think we have a lot of fight in us."

Comments

KGphoto 5 years, 9 months ago

Well it should be about pride. But it may be about who can field the most starters. And we aren't looking to good in that department. In fact we aren't looking to good in the pride dept. either.It's hard to be prideful when you're running around the field like you're lost. Reesing looked terrible. I've never seen his confidence this low. I keep thinking something will happen and this nightmare end, and last year's team will jump out of the phone booth and take control. But I think it's more likely that they've already packed it in.Maybe those new digs softened these guys up a little.

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Bob Zielinski 5 years, 9 months ago

i disagree that reesing looked "terrible". he wasn't getting much help from his line, every roll out for a possible scramble had 1 or 2 longhorns shadowing him and texas was all over our receivers. if sharp isn't healthy and meier is running around on one leg and the line is not giving him time what exactly is he to do? especially going into a 25 mph wind. sure, he threw some balls up for grabs but maybe briscoe, wilson or meier can come up with a play and make the catch.it is hardly fair to point to reesing as the problem when he has been carrying the offense for almost the entire season, often having to keep up as our opponents scored at will.

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MOJHawk 5 years, 9 months ago

REASONS WE BEAT MU:1] Mizzou complacent and over confident.2] Mizzou looking past KU toward Big 12 Championship game3] Everybody on KU gets healthy with the two week layoff.4] The secondary and special teams learn how to tackle with extra practice.5] We seek total revenge for last year's screw job.6} MU SUCKS!!!REASONS WE DON'T BEAT MU:1] Mizzou understands how dangerous KU can be.2] The heated rivalry overcomes any thoughts of taking us lighty...they vow to humiliate us.3]Everyone on MU gets healthy.4]The tackling DOESN'T improve.5]KU loses focus seeking revenge for last years loss.6]We lose but MU STILL SUCKS!!!

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Dirk Medema 5 years, 9 months ago

Get healthy and get prepared in the next 2 weeks guys.Rock Chalk.

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Fred Davis 5 years, 9 months ago

The level of pessimism this morning is pathetic... For everyone that's already chalked up us losing to Mizzou, blaming a transition year on "new facilities making guys complacent" and saying this team is not bowl worthy - go ahead and take that kind of thinking to Manhattan where they've got real football problems...Granted, this year didn't go the way we wanted it to, and rest assured the coaching staff has to wish for better breaks throughout the season...2007 was not an accident, it was the product of an athletic, well-coached football team taking care of business 12 out of 13 games, and then losing the one game with its All-American LT playing at less than 80 percent with a bad ankle - and you see how that affected Reesing last year...Reesing has been battered and bruised this year playing behind not one, but two redshirt freshman tackles, arguably, the two most important positions on a football field after quarterback... Our running game has been suspect all year, and our #1 receiving threat - sorry Dez - Meier has played hurt since USF... We're playing a true frosh at TE while the TE from last season plays in the NFL...Defensively we lose one of the best young cover corners in the NFL right now, and our shaky D-Line is still young with no discernible pass rush... Our top two LBs from last year, Mort and Rivera have played hurt all season... And we're playing with two corners who were at different positions a FEW games ago...With all that said - minus Texas Tech, we've been in every game we've played this season, a true mark of a Mangino team, but unfortunately, we've played better competition with better athletes that wore us down...I've been suspect of Bowen all year and even called for the guy to go after this season, but after watching us yesterday, I say give the guy one more year and then see what happens...KU is going to be a better football team next year, and we're going to thank 2007 and 2008 for the progress we make... Getting beat down by the Big 3 of the Big South has its positives - because it makes coaches and players realize what has to be done to get to that level...Finally - Mizzou is a must win and I like our chances after watching us against Texas... Say what you want about Mangino, but I'll take the Big Man over Pinkel any day, and with the way our season has gone and as much crap as Mizzou thinks its entitled to, like a poster said above - a win over Mizzou and then a win in a bowl gives us an 8-5 record and makes what really was a rebuilding year - seem well worth it...Rock Chalk For LIfe...

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siltom 5 years, 9 months ago

The team has struggled this year, period. It has nothing to do with having new facilities. As far as pride, every player on the team has PRIDE. Too bad some of you who write all these negative comments can't suit up and get the crap knocked out of you. It is embarassing to look in the stands and see more Orange then Blue. It shouldn't matter what sport is playing, fans should be faithful to the end. I hope for the players sake they beat MU. Not for the rivalry but so they can go out with a win and get ready for next year.

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Hawkish4bigM 5 years, 9 months ago

The offense has steadily been losing confidence. At the end of the season all most people remember are wins and loses. That is unfortunate because like the 2006 season the play was better than the record indicated. We could have and should have beat S. Florida. We could have and should have beat Nebraska. We played OU pretty dang tuff at their place. If we beat Mizzu it means this team very well could have been 8-3. Yet, it is hard to say that as momentum could have made us even more competitive. The offense is finally losing heart because the defense has not been there at critical times. Like Ressing in particular the offense has had to carry the team and that cannot go on forever. I agree with the comment about the running game for next year. I just wonder who the magic back will be. As far as coaching changes, let's hope its not on the offensive side. Otherwise, I trust the big man to make the changes he needs, if any. That's why he gets the big bucks.

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Layne Pierce 5 years, 9 months ago

We can beat Missouri, but we will have to do most things right. That meanswin the field position battle with special teams. That means run the ball enough to really keep teams honest, andcontrol the line of scrimmage.Our young tackles should now be able to play. We should run the ball more with 3 yards and less for a first down, or a touchdown. McAnderson was a guy that got those last year. Partly because of a better offensive line, and partly because he really wanted it.The running game should be number 1 priority next year. It would take pressure off Reesing, and it would help the defense greatly by giving them more rest.And it would show the mental toughness that this year's team simply lost.Last year we played like a desperate team. This year we are just desperate.

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KUFan90 5 years, 9 months ago

I really question the play calling on the last 2 plays. You are on the 2 yard line playing for pride. You line up and run the ball 2 more times, instead of the silly pass plays they attempted. I know it was a meaningless TD, but if you are trying to win some pride points, man up and pound the ball in with 2 trys from the 2 yard line.

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jbrownjib 5 years, 9 months ago

Beating Missouri will make everything right in the world!

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mojayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

Breaking news! It's all about the line on both sides of the ball! Coach knows it and will do something about it. Reesing has been hit, hurried, and harrassed way more than last year. Any QB has to have at least a little time. And on the other side, if we can't pressure their QB, even an average secondary can get blistered. Did I mention it's all about the line?

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tdub 5 years, 9 months ago

Not to be THAT guy, but the effect of the boys in stripes had an immense impact on this one. Almost every successful UT drive was augmented by a suspect call. The biggest example was UT's first score resulting from the bogus interference call when KU had 'em stopped on 3rd down. I don't think I'm being too biased about this after talking to UT fans (who also admitted KU should have won four years ago). I've never heard a more decisive round of booing from such a large amount of people through the entire series of plays that followed. I think it spoke volumes about the fans' frustration with the South-biased officiating. With OU possibly bowing to Tech next week, the Big 12 needed UT to win out to secure that magical 2nd BCS berth.By the way, memo to Mangino and Wariner: RUN, THE, FOOTBALL. It was much more effective than the final stats reveal. Fifty pass attempts is a joke, unless we are becoming a gimmick offense, aka Tech.

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100 5 years, 9 months ago

KU players: you guys have shown a lot of improvement over the year, especially with the injuries mounting. You have nothing to hang your heads about. That last blitz by UT was just called correctly by their D coordinator. That happens sometimes, no shame in that or anything that transpired yesterday. Keep working KU -- there's a lot more opportunities to take these big teams down next year -- keep in mind, KSU beat UT in Austin last year by 21 points. The same team you guys beat in Manhattan. No one seems to recall UT's embarrassment in Austin from last year as UT rolls toward the national championship. Go out there and take care of MU, win or lose, and get us psychologically ready for 2009, when we'll be healthy and ready to challenge for the Big 12 championship again.Rock Chalk Jayhawk

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OmahaKUAlum 5 years, 9 months ago

It kills me that people suggest that new and improved football facilities make our players soft. We were one of the worst (if not THE worst) schools in the conference as far as facilities go (trust me, I had friends who played FB here in the late 90's). Having great facilities improves players (not to mention boosts recruiting in a big way), not makes them soft. If they are "soft" it is because of their mentality and complacency after a great season last year. From what I've heard, UT has some of the best facilities in the country...does that make them soft? Let's be realistic here.

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John Mueller 5 years, 9 months ago

Don't disagree with most of your point but this one....a bowl bid isn't certain?Doesn't the big 12 have 7 bowl slots. I see 2 BCS invites which means 9 slots if enough qualify?Think we're bowling, it's just going to be south of the tracks at a bowling alley with a hole in the roof, full of marlboro smoke with stale beer and bad pretzels.Shreveport anyone?On a happy note, this team can and must beat Mizzou.The game is never ever about who has the best team. It's about the team with the most pride, the best focus and the ability to play a dominating performance on that particular day against a hated rival.I really truly don't think the rest of the country has a clue about this rivalry. I am not an expert on other rivalries but observe a few up close here in TX.OU -Texas, Texas - Texas AM, OU - OSU, etc.None of these compare to the level of animosity that exists in Kansas Mizzou.I graduated in 87 and I still can't stand Norm Stewart, Derek "Band aid" Cheese head or whatever his name was. I can't think of any Missouri football players because they never had one that mattered.The whole season looks different at 7-5 and a win over the hated Tigers!!Rock Chalk.....all the way to the Texas Bowl!!

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KU 5 years, 9 months ago

KG.....You may have a point about the new facilities. I never said anything about it, but it crossed my mind when I was touring the new building before the season: This could make this particular team complacent. They may think they have arrived at the Big Time with the new facilities.I'm not saying that's the main reason they have had a so-so year. Certainly the schedule has been the primary reason. But if you're satisfied and you're not as hungry coming off a great year and then you have a brand new house given to you? I think it has to have played a role.The newness will have worn off next year and the hunger should return. We'll see if these guys will keep sawin' wood.

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jehillia 5 years, 9 months ago

I love my Jayhawks, but if we lose to Misery, finish 6-6 (with a losing record in the big 12) and don't beat a ranked team all season AND end up losing 5 of our last 6 games.....then there is no way we should end up Bowling anywhere.

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Max Ledom 5 years, 9 months ago

well....2 years straight we are going bowling....first time in kasas history...todd continues to break records.....look at the bright side KU fans its not overwe got a game left that something deep inside me says we will kill the tigers! everyone who is a true fan knows what this team can do and the true fanswould be the ones who stayed from the beggining of everygame to the end no matter what the score is! im disappointed in our fans leaving at half time especially with all of thos texas fans there they wont give our program any respect when that happens. also the refs are the most stupid peoplein the world so many penalties uncalled...im not being a homer look at the replay of the game sometime. in the second quarter texas wasin the red zone 4 times and everyone of them was in the neutral zone...went uncalled..."BCS!!!! DOLLAR SIGNS!" anyone? and if our offence woukld have played like they have all season we would be sitting at 7 and 5! So lets see if our defence will show up again in 2 weeks and if tood gets our offence running and we play great d like we did against texas...WE KILL MIZZOU! GO HAWKS! CRIMSON AND BLUE!!! MUCK FIZZOU!!!! GOD BLESS AMERICA, EXCEPT MISSOURI!!!! LETS GO!!!!!!!

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fan4kufootball 5 years, 9 months ago

I haven't seen any blogs anywhere regarding the opponent team's fans being able to get seats in KU season ticket holder's sections. The last 3 home games or so I have been surrounded by the fans of the other team. Why is that? Are season ticket holders selling them? If so - shame on them for being a fair weather fans and selling to someone other than KU fans!

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