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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Kansas football notebook

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Audio clips

2008 KU-OU football

Podcast episode

Spodcasters

Spodcasters Postgame: Oklahoma

The guys (Jesse Newell, Tom Keegan) break down KU's 45-31 loss to Oklahoma and discuss whether KU's defense can play better against next week's high-scoring opponent, Texas Tech.

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Crawford emerges on special teams

Jocques Crawford, the highly touted transfer running back who recently has become an afterthought in the Kansas offense, took a step forward Saturday in emerging as a potential weapon.

This time, though, he did it in a new role.

With all-Big 12 preseason selection Marcus Herford struggling, Crawford was called upon to return kicks Saturday, and the 6-foot-1, 230-pound junior promptly took advantage of the opportunity. On his first return of the game, midway through the first quarter, he took the ball from the one and maneuvered his way 42 yards to the KU 43-yard line, the longest return so far this season (the previous best was 26 yards, by Herford).

Crawford finished with three returns for 77 yards, a 26-yard average, and also capped a first-quarter Kansas drive with a two-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 7.

"The best way for me to get out on the field right now is special teams," said Crawford, who also rushed four times for nine yards. "So I just go out and give it my all."

The kick-return game highlighted a much-improved outing by the Jayhawks' special-teams units, which had struggled in recent weeks in a multitude of areas. Punter Alonso Rojas averaged nearly 42 yards on eight punts, and kicker Jacob Branstetter was 1-for-1 on field goals, connecting on a 23-yarder in the second quarter that cut Oklahoma's lead to 14-10.

"Special teams were pretty good today," Kansas coach Mark Mangino said. "We had a few penalties that I'm not real excited about, but I thought we played pretty decent special teams today. In fact, we played probably our best all-around (game) in special teams in all five units."

Third-down troubles

The most telling statistic to come out of Kansas' second loss of the season? Zero-for-10 - as in, the Jayhawks failed to convert a third-down conversion on their first 10 attempts, finishing the day just 2-for-12 overall.

Entering Saturday's game, Kansas was ranked third in the nation in third-down conversion percentage with 53.8, thanks largely to the play of receiver Kerry Meier. But against the Sooners, who sacked KU quarterback Todd Reesing a season-high five times, things quickly deteriorated.

"That hurts a lot," said Reesing. "I don't think anybody's going to argue that. Converting third downs in a game like this on the road is big. And we've been pretty good at it all year, and today we weren't so good."

Blakesley injured again

Kansas defensive tackle Caleb Blakesley, who left the Jayhawks' game against Colorado last week due to an undisclosed injury but started Saturday in Norman, went down with another injury in the first quarter Saturday.

He had to be helped from the field and didn't return. Following the game, Mangino declined to comment on the injury or its seriousness.

OU no good on first possession

When Oklahoma place kicker Jimmy Stevens' missed a 30-yard field goal with 12:15 left in the first quarter Saturday, it marked the first time this season the Sooners failed to score on their first possession of the game.

It also marked the first time in six games that Oklahoma (6-1, 2-1 in Big 12) failed to score from inside the red zone.

Comments

bpjhawk 11 years, 4 months ago

I agree. There were two occasions where it was 3rd and short. Our running game was going decently at that time. It still might have caught OU off guard to run it instead of passing. (How often have we run the ball on 3rd down?)

RL 11 years, 4 months ago

So how many yards left until he reaches 2000?

Hawkish4bigM 11 years, 4 months ago

Guys, I agree, yet I can be the worst critic. If that reverse run by Briscoe had been blown up and resulted in a ten-yard loss instead of a 12 yard gain I'd be criticizing that. So, if it works you're a genius. If it doesn't you've made a mistake. Basically, you and I are still thinking "if only" because deep down we know that KU could have won. That is a good sign, my friends.

Jeff Hargate 11 years, 4 months ago

The gap between the have's and have-not's is narrowing for sure. If we had played like we did in the past we lose by 35-40 points. Not good, but not as bad as it could seem.

Cowgirl1920 11 years, 4 months ago

You right, on the play in question. Crawford had just made a first down. Then Reesing ran for eight yards. Y throw the ball. But hey, that is a coaching issue.......

Dirk Medema 11 years, 4 months ago

Half way thru the season the coaches realized that the running plays that worked in the past weren't working for Sharp, so they created some plays that highlighted his abilities, and he's been successful. Hmm, I wonder if that would work for Crawford and Quigley?It is great that he is showing the maturity to say "What can I do to make the team better?"Also, wondering what influence Kerry's injury had on his 4 reception performance. I'd say that was a huge effect on the change in the teams 3rd down performance. What percentage of Kerry's receptions have been for first downs?What percentage of KU's third down conversions have been completions to Kerry?

sportdan30 11 years, 4 months ago

When you're 3rd and 2, you don't have to throw a 20 yard pass. Reesing can run the ball or throw a quick slant. KU should be able to convert on third down.

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