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Kansas City, Mo. — Many Kansas University fans might have wondered why KU didn’t elect to run the ball on first down of its final offensive possession against Missouri.
It turns out the Jayhawks did have a running play called; they just audibled out of it at the last second. Kansas suffered a safety on that possession and went on to lose to the Tigers, 41-39, on a last-second field goal.
With 2:59 remaining, KU took over possession at its own three-yard line leading 39-36.
KU right tackle Brad Thorson admitted afterward that the Jayhawks’ original call was a run, but that KU offensive coordinator Ed Warinner changed the play after the Jayhawks looked to the sideline.
“We checked out of a run. We definitely saw something,” Thorson said. “Our offensive coordinator, he’s spot-on. He knows what the defense is doing, and we took a couple shots.”
Instead of running the ball, KU quarterback Todd Reesing overthrew Dezmon Briscoe on a deep route down the sideline for an incompletion.
“We had confidence we could run the ball and get a good dent in them,” Thorson said. “I think coach Warinner saw something, and it was just too good to pass up.”
Following an incomplete pass on second down, Reesing failed to get out of the end zone on a third-down QB draw and was tackled for a safety.
Those two points ended up being the difference.
“In my mind-set, I just thought we’d run the ball, get what we could get, run some clock, make them use their timeouts,” Briscoe said. “But the coaches thought different, so I can’t argue. I’m just a player. I just go out there and run what they tell me to.”
Harry IV enjoys career day
Missouri punter Jack Harry IV punted five times for 247 yards — a 49.4-yard average — and all of his punts came inside the 20-yard line, leading to Jayhawks drives that began at their own 2-, 12-, 11-, 1- and 2-yard lines.
“It made the difference in the game,” Kansas coach Mark Mangino said of Missouri’s punting game.
Meier, Briscoe move up lists
Kansas senior receiver Kerry Meier’s 14 receiving yards on the Jayhawks’ first drive moved him past Willie Vaughn (2,266) into second place on the KU career receiving yardage list. Meier finished with 10 catches for 54 yards to finish his career with 226 catches — a KU record — and 2,309 yards receiving.
His two touchdown catches Saturday gave him 18 for his career, second behind Briscoe’s 31 on the KU list. He also broke his own school record of 97 receptions in a season, finishing with 102.
Briscoe became just the eighth player in Big 12 history to record 3,000 receiving yards, finishing the season with a KU-record 3,240 career receiving yards.
Perhaps inspired by Missouri’s new black and gray “Beast Mode” uniforms, the Jayhawks unveiled a wardrobe alteration of their own Saturday, wearing crimson jerseys with blue pants for the first time this season.
The team’s helmets also featured the Jayhawks logo, a change from the “KU” usually depicted.