Sunday, November 8, 2009


K-State wins by not losing

The Kansas defense gobbles up KSU running back Daniel Thomas in the second half in Manhattan Saturday, November 7, 2009.

The Kansas defense gobbles up KSU running back Daniel Thomas in the second half in Manhattan Saturday, November 7, 2009.


Audio clips

2009 KU-KSU football

Reader poll

Will the KU football team make a bowl game this season?

  • Yes 18% 441 votes
  • No 76% 1776 votes
  • Undecided 5% 119 votes

2336 total votes.

— Sometimes the best way to win a football game is by not losing it. Kansas State, in the first year of Bill Snyder II, has that formula down to perfection.

Sometimes, the best way to lose a football game is by trying too hard to win it, getting too fancy, reaching for magic that used to work and now backfires. Kansas University, melting down more severely by the week, knows all about that.

Todd Reesing, chief magician of a vastly entertaining offense the past couple of years, plays with such a battered body now that in order to attempt to make plays he once made routinely he has to try too hard, and when he does, he makes big plays for the opposition.

The central figures in the state’s two Div. I football programs adhered to those blueprints Saturday in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, where Kansas State won, 17-10, by not losing and Kansas lost by not taking care of the basics. It has become who both teams are, and that’s why Kansas State sits atop the North with a 4-2 Big 12 record and Kansas brings up the rear at 1-4.

Snyder recognized what he had in his football team, didn’t ask too much of it and made sure what he asked was executed. Kansas coach Mark Mangino, based on what his quarterback had given him in previous seasons, expected more, asked more and hasn’t adjusted to the reality that the Reesing of today has far less than the Reesing of yesterday.

Reesing committed three turnovers in the first half, giving him 10 in a 10-quarter stretch. Two came in Kansas territory. K-State did not have a turnover. Without a fancy quarterback hitting home runs with downfield passes on his roster, Snyder has built a team around Daniel Thomas, a strong, shifty running back who eats yards and clock. He can win games for the Wildcats provided the other team gives away the football.

Despite Reesing’s recent habit — no doubt caused by some change in his body — of skipping numerous passes off the turf, he was asked to win the game by throwing 41 passes. Meanwhile, freshman Toben Opurum was handed the ball twice and did his job both times. On first-and-goal at the eight, Opurum rushed for three yards. The next two plays? Handoffs to Opurum? Guess again. A 12-yard sack and a four-yard completion, followed by a missed field goal. Why the distaste for running the ball so close to the goal line? Opurum’s only other carry came on fourth-and-one. He moved the chains with a five-yard gain.

K-State has improved, but Kansas lost this game more than the Wildcats won it. Asked to compare this Kansas State team to last season’s, Mangino obliged.

“It’s light-years,” he said. “They’re disciplined. They’re well-coached. Coach Snyder hasn’t missed a beat, and I didn’t think he would. He’s done a good job. They have a little bit better talent than a lot of people give them credit for now. They’ve got some guys who can play. But he’s brought structure to it. You can just see the way they play. They’re fundamentally sound. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. It’s typical coach Snyder work.”

In a division as barren as the Big 12 North, ordinary passes for exceptional. Suddenly, with spread offenses no longer dominating, vanilla’s in vogue. Nobody’s more vanilla than Snyder.


Clarence Haynes 10 years, 3 months ago

Mangino Says: “They’re disciplined. They’re well-coached.. .......... They’re fundamentally sound. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. It’s typical coach Snyder work.”

To turn this on a dime: We're not disciplined. We're not well coached..........We're not fundamentally sound. We make a lot of mistakes.

lethalweapons1 10 years, 3 months ago

It's clear that defenses have made serious strides against the spread (e.g. - OU scores 3 points this weekend). It's also clear that Mangino and his staff have not adjusted offensively. Defenses are loading up against the pass against KU. I keep reading that we have no running game. Could that be because we have no commitment to the run??? KU's coaches are way too predictible and are making it easy for defensive coordinators. Unfortunately, they are appear too stubborn to make adjustments.

Ross Hartley 10 years, 3 months ago

For the last several years, opposing coaches and teams have always commented that KU is well disciplined and well coached and have very few holes. Not this year.

Gene Jackson 10 years, 3 months ago

I am so disappointed in this team. November is the time of the year to come together, play with heart. Look what Colorado and Baylor did -- they came together and won for their school and their fans.

grandpa 10 years, 3 months ago

Something is wrong with Reesing. It is not physical. In the past 4 games he has made many mistakes. He has fumbled the ball, threw interceptions , threw many poor passes , threw passes into the dirt, made many poor decisions. He is going to continue to do the same.Coaching , play calling decisons have also been poor.

wolfy 10 years, 3 months ago

The upcoming spring season must be about football fundamentals -- tackling, footwork, pursuit angles, etc. It's clear that this year's team did not master those most basic building-block skills. Gadget plays and fancy schemes can't mask deficiencies in fundamental skill development. Mangino must revamp his assistant coaching staff. He needs help.

jayhawkboogeyman 10 years, 3 months ago

I have watched Reesing throw balls in the dirt to wide open receivers since the first game of the season. He hasn't looked good all year. Even before this allegedly injury, Reesing couldn't get the ball to a receiver while he was peeling out like he had in years before, and many deep balls have been underthrown. On the sideline routes, he has been throwing the ball 5 feet over the receiver's head all year. This is not a physical problem, though that may have increased the woes, but he has been unprepared and unfocused all year.

Even when we were beating miserably bad teams to open the year, there was never a point where anyone should have thought this team looked great. I hoped they would figure it out by this point and keep winning, but I was horribly wrong.

Larry Ewart 10 years, 3 months ago

Explain this: Why do we continue to bring in gadget plays with our backup QB. Yesterday we handed off to him like he is a running back. I do not understand that at all. Earlier in the year when we were blowing some teams out what did this staff do with in regard to getting some players experience. They would wait till the last 3 or 4 minutes of the game and have our backup either handoff or keep it. We found out he can run. The kid was known for his passing ability coming out of HS. Other schools have allowed their freshmen QBs to play quality minutes but not here at Kansas. It has been like that for sometime. You think we are in trouble right now wait till next year.

namgor 10 years, 3 months ago

Keegan - Ever think that K-State's defense could have caused Reesing to fumble the ball or for KU's offense to not score like they have in the past?

You say"K-State has improved, but Kansas lost this game more than the Wildcats won it." That's a load of BS.

K-State will just keep winning while you just call them ordinary and continue to write in red and blue hues.

Philip Bowman 10 years, 3 months ago

Okay, let's recognize this season is a lost cause. We aren't going to a bowl game. Why not get something out of what is left. Reesing should step up and tell the coach its time to work on the future. That would demonstrate leadership. Put Pick in for a couple of series, or more, during the Texas game. Surely no one expects us to win that one. Of course I want to beat NU and MU so I wouldn't experiment with Pick in them unless we have clearly won or lost either game, but why not give him a real game experience when we are 3 touchdowns behind TU? For that matter, why wasn't he getting more than a couple of snaps earlier in the season?

Andy Hess 10 years, 3 months ago

you hit the nail on the head, Keegan. something is definitely wrong with mangino and reesing.

namgor 10 years, 3 months ago

HawkfromHays - Your name says it all - so you'd know a thing or two about ugly girls. We're just getting started. The Legend is back! Pay Heed All Who Enter The Bill! EMAW!

lovemyhawks 10 years, 3 months ago

i love reesing but he is defintely NOT playing his game and has certainly lost the last 4 games for us or at least has been a HUGE part of the losses. i think we have been big time outcoached and don't understand AT ALL why opurum is not playing LOTS more..... sharp has NOT been sharp the whole season and opurum did just what he needed to yesterday but was only given the opportunity twice...... why did we not let HIM carry it again when we got to the 5 yd line???? the end of the first half and that opening drive of the 2nd half was the WHOLE game and the reason we truly lost, in my opinion. NO fumble and we take the lead 7-3 (or maybe more) into the locker room and they do NOT have the momentum to take the opening drive down in the 3rd quarter........ oh well........ no heart, no win......... we have played with no winning attitude and no true desire and each week just gets worse. i THOUGHT we could beat nebraska and mizzou but then nu gets momentum upsetting ou and my optimism goes away again. i'm a fan all the way but just don't understand what happened to such a promising season. even when we were winning, we were NOT winning strong and making the statement we should have. still i never thought it was a season we could possibly lose to the cats. maybe WE need coach snyder..... he seems to make things happen and we can't do that. reesing is in a major major heartbreaking slump and i hope he can recover but one has to wonder how and when at this point. i'm ready for the orange BALL now, rock chalk basketball!! i'll still hope for some football highlights but pretty much the lights are out for the season!!

FlaHawk 10 years, 3 months ago

Coach Mangino is a deep deep doo-doo! He need to play Pick but both NU or UT would eat him alive. The tradition of the mUgames says this is not a good time either. The bottom line, is Coach Mangino has blown a whole season and with Reesing underperforming (for whatever reason) he has absolutley no experience at QB going into 2010!

THis year was bad, but next year could see a even worse KUoffense and do we believe Coach Bowen can improve the defense. Lew Memorial Stadium will be more vacant next year.

Lew how about the noise level of the KSUfans. Now this is what you need at KU! Can yuo get it down with existing staff?


Dan Harris 10 years, 3 months ago

Why the hell didnt they run opurum more? Is he in the doghouse, hurt? WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jhokfan 10 years, 3 months ago


I give Snyder his due but this is the same team that lost to Louisiana Lafayette and got pummeled by Texas Tech. Congratulations on the win and no disrespect to the Wildcats but I think HawkfromHays metaphor was right on the money.

rastameta 10 years, 3 months ago

njjayhawk, very well said. The spread offense allowed Reesing to have gaudy numbers, but he is no where as good as those QBs. I would even go as far to a say Chip Hilleary was better too (first team All Big 8). They all ran different offenses, more geared towards the run, but they were better QBs, better leaders, etc.

rastameta 10 years, 3 months ago

When it was announced Synder was coming back, I recall a lot of people on this board saying how stupid KSU was for hiring him back, that they would continue their downslide. I said back then, that KSU would be competing for North titles within 2 or 3 years. I was wrong, it would happen within the first year.

Synder is a damn good coach, heads and shoulders above Mangino. It isn't even close.

I would love to be able to say our coach is better, but he is not. No need to insult Synder just because he coaches at KSU. Trust me, I dislike them as much as anyone, being a former player and all (I was there the last time we beat KSU before they started the streak), but I still think what he has done at KSU is amazing. KU has all types of advantages over KSU and should be better than them, yet we aren't...that is because Synder runs a better program than Mangino.

Some advantages we have over everyone in the North:

1) Best facilities (stadium needs to get rid of track and fans could be better, but I think that comes with consistent success)

2) Best campus (except for CU)

3) Close to major city with professional team and airport in Kansas City (CU has Denver)

4) Very good to great AD (I am not willing to give him great until he completes the football overhaul and makes us a winner)

The only thing NU has on us is their tradition, but they haven't had that for 10 years now so the kids that we are recruiting now did not grow up with that tradition. Game day experience is better there, but again I think that will come with KU once we are successful. It already is light years better than it was when I was there.

Because of all of these advantages, there is no reason we should not be able to get most talent in the North and always be in the top 2 in the North. Once that happens, then we can get even better talent and eventually compete with the South.

I honestly feel that we won't get there with this staff. They are good recruiters, but not great recruiters. They are good coaches, but not great coaches. They are above average, but they aren't great and I think we can and should do better.

I think an AD like Lew can and will get a very good coach, if and when he finally decides to fire Mangino. Also, if he gets a high profile name, I think he instantly brings credibility to the program and we can start having top 25 recruiting classes consistently. Also, it would be hard to find a were game day coach than Mangino, except maybe Prince or Terry Allen.

namgor 10 years, 3 months ago

HawkfromHays - When KU wins a Big XII Championship in football, let alone get to the title game by winning the North then you can talk some smack until then I don't have to hear it. In regards to your comments about K-State women, I won't even go there. In other words, keep it civil. I didn't address my original remarks to you or any other responders to Mr. Keegan's commentary. I was just making a comment to Mr. Keegan about his continued bias in reporting and commentary. That's it.

Good luck to you and the Jayhawks the rest of the season.

jhokfan 10 years, 3 months ago

In my biased opinion, I think Keegan’s assessment is correct. Todd’s slump started against Colorado and I don’t think KSU’s defense provided anything he hasn’t already seen. Oddly enough, he performs the best when he is under the most pressure. Most of his mistakes during the last four weeks have not been due to too much defensive pressure. He has made some incredibly poor judgment calls and has not protected the ball when he runs. Freshman like mistakes he didn’t make when he was a freshman. Inexplicable.

The way the north has played this year I consider ordinary a compliment.

Brendon Allen 10 years, 3 months ago

namgor- You have won the Big 12 north outright twice (the other 2 were ties) in its 13 year history and the whole shebang once. Yes it is better than KU but is it really something to call a tradition? Synder is a good coach and did amazing things at KSU. But until you are constantly good for 20-30 years with no large down periods, well I guess the hall of fame will have to continue to wait. NU is a tradition, KSU is not. KU is not even close. A tradition continues across multiple coaches and generations. The only reason KSU is even decent again is its one good coach has returned, this is not what makes a tradition. I'll leave you with this... As of September 19, 2009 Kansas State was one of only three FBS teams to have lost 600 games, joining Northwestern and Indiana. EEEEMMMAAAAAAWWWWWW!!!!

Max Ledom 10 years, 3 months ago

salthawk, hahaha you are the dumbest KU fan alive. Yeah lets just have Reesing do that. "Hey coach, i know we have 2 very winnable games left in the season , but do you mind if I throw away the season and let Pick play QB?"

Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb

Philip Bowman 10 years, 3 months ago

Hey Hawksboy88, how did you get so smart that you think you can call someone dumb? And why is it that people like you think it is necessary to demean a fellow KU fan (assuming you are one), for suggesting a way KU might improve itself for next year? Contrary to your implication, I didn't suggest we "throw away" two winable games; only that we should recognize we aren't going to beat Texas and that it would help Pick to get some serious game experience.

Your haste to demonize someone else led you to ignore my comment--that's being kind to you. But your attitude, demonstrated by your post, is typical of too many people today, uncouth rudeness.

flowmaster 10 years, 3 months ago

HawkfromHays - I really don't understand you. Sure, you guys had a 12-1 season in '07. How about the previous 15 for KSU? BCS games, 12 win seasons, and dominance in the Big 12 was the norm for KSU.

I do understand the opinions here would be exceptionally biased towards KU, but please, don't say "Until you actually win a BCS game, win 12 games in a season, or even establish a winning series record against a Big 12 team other than Baylor" unless you can make that clain yourself. You did once in the last 5 years, but will it ever happen again?

flowmaster 10 years, 3 months ago

HawkFromHays -

I was in no way bad mouthing KU. However it is ridiculous to say KSU has absolutely no tradition when KU is in the same boat. While KSU was the losingest team in NCAA history, KU wasn't much better with their mediocre performance for the past 100 years. KSU simply got a great coach and was able to sustain a great record for the past 20 years (minus Ron Prince's time).

It's true that KU sustains an all time winning record against KSU, as does every other team in the NCAA. What people don't understand is that is always working against them. KSU has nothing to lose in this respect, it can only get better.

Indeed KU is much more talented than KSU. But beware, Snyder had no time to recruit for this season, while that is definitely not the case for '10. Mangino said Snyder's team was "light-years" better than the team under Prince, and I suspect he'll say the same thing next year. See you in Lawrence in '10.

Brendon Allen 10 years, 3 months ago

"(minus Ron Prince's time)"

But see this is why it is not a tradition (yet at least). One good coach, one good run. A tradition would have been able to bring in a coach that was fitting of the tradition (which arguably they did). Not to mention he was hand picked by Snyder and then old balls had to come rescue the program again. Prince gave an early indication that KSU football lived and died with Snyder. Actually it is funny how many staters forget the 4-7 and 5-6 high note Snyder went out on and how many of them actually welcomed prince.

"dominance in the Big 12 was the norm for KSU"

First off this should read Big 12 North, Second off Nebraska had more North titles in that time and Colorado was about right there with the cats. Not sure if that is dominance. They contended I will give you that.

The primary fact is KSU does not have the body of work to be a tradition. They have been an up and coming program which might be a tradition one day but it could just as easily be a Cincinnati basketball program run.

hdhntr 10 years, 3 months ago

little dudes fighting over who is better in a lousy division, priceless. only game that matters now is well holding serve when NU comes to town and then what happens in arrowhead. as i said before last saturday, put your money on ksu as snyder is going to take the fatman away from the buffet table and to the woodshed. course he did, knew all he had to do is not lose the game, the huge one would do that for him.

Hate to see todd's legacy ruined by a terrible sr year, dude has guts. little guy playing in a land of very fast giants.

flowmaster 10 years, 3 months ago

Jesus, you guys seem to be a little sensitive when KSU is brought up! ALL I've been trying to say is KU's "tradition" is just as (or perhaps more) non-existant as KSU's. Agreed, Snyder won't be around forever, hopefully this time we find a better replacement for him. The important part is we've (hopefully) seen the valley and we're on our way back up now. As for KU, well, make you're own conclusion. I'm betting it will get worse before it gets better, though.

flowmaster 10 years, 3 months ago

Believe me, watching the game this Saturday was much, much more enjoyable than watching the Sunflower Showdown 10 years ago. We like seeing competition, that's what rivalry (whether you consider us rivals or not) is all about.

I'm happy to see such respect for "someone from the outside" on this site, which has not always been the case elsewhere. (Go to youtube and see what fans have to say about eachother)

Good luck on the rebuilding of your program. You have good points; the money is there, the talent is there, and the location (45 mins from a major airport) is there. All things that KSU is missing (right now).

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