Kansas defeats Iowa State, 41-36

  • 11:30 a.m., Oct. 10, 2009
  • David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jayhawks’ defense exposed by ISU

Kansas linebacker Drew Dudley wrestles down Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud during the second quarter, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas linebacker Drew Dudley wrestles down Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud during the second quarter, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009 at Kivisto Field.



Kansas vs. Iowa State

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Video highlights and a game recap from the October 10, 2009 contest.

Reader poll

Who was KU's MVP against Iowa State?

  • Todd Reesing (37-for-49, 442 yards, five combined TDs) 65% 1299 votes
  • Kerry Meier (16 catches, 142 yards, 2 TDs) 23% 466 votes
  • Dezmon Briscoe (12 catches, 186 yards, 2 TDs) 8% 168 votes
  • Other 2% 41 votes

1974 total votes.

Yeah, the Kansas University football team did what it had to do Saturday at Memorial Stadium, holding off Iowa State.

And, yeah, at this point in the season, a victory is a valuable commodity, no matter how you go about getting it.

But, man …

In KU’s much-too-close-for-comfort 41-36 homecoming victory, the Cyclones shined a harsh light upon the 16th-ranked Jayhawks, exposing, in great detail, the flaws and imperfections of a clearly problematic defense.

Easily one of the conference’s worst offensive units throughout the first month-and-a-half of the season, the Cyclones had their way with the Jayhawks, rolling up 512 yards and raising serious questions about whether the Jayhawks can survive what promises to be a grueling Big 12 Conference schedule.

“It was not a pretty picture,” Kansas coach Mark Mangino said of his team’s defensive effort, and that was a bit of an understatement.

In fact, before Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud narrowly overthrew receiver Darius Darks in the end zone for what would have been the go-ahead score, there was good reason to think the Cyclones were about to pull off the biggest upset of the young conference season.

Instead, however, Kansas survived, jogging off the field a few minutes later with its unbeaten record — if not its self-confidence — intact.

Following a near-upset at the hands of the Cyclones in last year’s conference opener, players spent much of last week assuring a similar letdown wouldn’t occur this time around, that the 2008 game had taught them that no Big 12 opponent can be taken lightly.

But then they took the field and, apparently, forgot to take their own advice.

Kansas’ dismal defensive performance made Arnaud look like a Heisman Trophy contender for much of the afternoon. The junior, who entered the game ranked last in the conference in passing yards per game, completed 25 of 40 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns without an interception, adding 67 yards and another score on the ground.

Four ISU receivers finished with at least four receptions, meanwhile, while the team gained an average of 6.1 yards per play and converted six of seven red-zone opportunities.

Even a KU run defense that entered the game ranked third nationally wasn’t immune, giving up 219 rushing yards, including a career-high 152 to Cyclones junior tailback Alexander Robinson.

In the end, it was a multi-faceted lesson in defensive futility.

“We just weren’t getting off blocks, weren’t making tackles,” said KU safety Ryan Murphy, who along with true freshman linebacker Huldon Tharp earned his first career start Saturday. “We just really weren’t making plays.”

The defensive miscues, meanwhile, overshadowed a near-flawless performance by the team’s offensive unit.

Behind quarterback Todd Reesing, who set a career high with 442 passing yards and finished 37-of-49 with five total touchdowns, the Jayhawks’ offense was able to overcome the defense’s shortcomings.

Receiver Kerry Meier grabbed a school-record 16 passes for 142 yards and two scores, Dezmon Briscoe added 12 catches for 186 yards and another two scores, and the Jayhawks scored twice in the fourth quarter to turn a 30-27 deficit into a 41-30 lead.

As Kansas defensive back Justin Thornton put it, “Thank goodness for Todd.”

Following the game, Mangino admitted that he wasn’t necessarily surprised by the problems of the team’s defense — “I knew in April they were going to get exposed,” Mangino told reporters. “You all found out today” — and said the coaching staff might need to re-evaluate (read: simplify) its approach heading into a four-game stretch in which Kansas will play on the road three times and face two of the conference’s best offensive teams in Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

“Maybe we have them doing too many things,” Mangino said. “Sometimes less is better, and as a coach I’ve got to understand that. You have to know what your kids can do and what they can’t, and maybe I have not assessed that properly.

“Even the best fundamental teachers in the game sometimes get caught up in the scheme business, because it really looks good on the board,” he added. “(But) I have to understand that what is good on the board might not be best for our players. And it’s up to me to get that worked out.”

So where does Saturday’s game leave the Jayhawks?

A week ago, the team’s matchup with downtrodden Colorado looked like nothing more than a formality leading up to an Oct. 24 meeting with the No. 19 Sooners.

But following an afternoon that raised some troubling questions, it’s clear that steps must be taken if Kansas hopes to battle for its first outright Big 12 North title in school history.

“Those kids are in that locker room, and I think they’re embarrassed,” Mangino said. “They know they didn’t play well. As coaches, we know they didn’t play well; we didn’t coach them well enough. And tomorrow we’ll get in our meetings, we’ll study it, and we’ll make it better.”


Michael Auchard 10 years, 5 months ago

Great piece with good quotes. Excellent use of stats. One of your best articles, IMO, Dugan.

lv_jhwk 10 years, 5 months ago

“I knew in April they were going to get exposed.”

Not exactly the rousing endorsement you would prefer to be hearing with the difficult part of the season about to begin. Guess Mangino has had enough with extolling undeserved platitudes and is finally calling it like it is. At the same time...

“Sometimes less is better, and as a coach I’ve got to understand that."

Whether it truly was an admission of responsibility or was simply something intended to take some of the heat off the players, I truly respect the comment either way.

kvskubball 10 years, 5 months ago

"We'll make it better."

OK, so you'll make it better, but can you make it good enough???

Hope So! Keep working guys!

Rock Chalk!

LAJayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Love that Mangino is taking responsibility. And not in the "coach speak" kind of way, either; rather in a very logical, rational sense. It may be partly to take heat off, lv_jhwk, but what he says makes sense. He needs to find a way for it to work. That's his job.

Everyone saws wood. Even our coach.

rasta_meta 10 years, 5 months ago

I read an article earlier this week that this was the first game this season where Bowen prepared a game plan specifically for the team they were playing. If this isn't a sign that he is a terrible D-Coordinator, I don't want it will take to convince people. I think he is a good coach and recruiter, but he does not have what it takes to coordinate a defense by reading film, game planning, scheming, and calling plays.

Please Mangino, let Miller take over now.

John Brown 10 years, 5 months ago

CU gives the team one more game to prepare for the rest of the season. Then it gets real and fast with OU, TT, KSU (away), NU, Texas (away) and MU. None of these games or opponents can be taken for granted, esp not KSU and MU. All of these teams will play to a higher defensive level than we did yesterday. CU is the last chance to get it together if it is a coaching problem.

number1jayhawker 10 years, 5 months ago

And I'm sure Miller and HCMM had some input also. Plus, if you don't have the horses to pull the wagon, then you need to get differnet horses. ie..... take Dudley and Wright out and insert two more athletic players, even if they are freshman or first year transfers.

Gene Jackson 10 years, 5 months ago

Rest assured, Colorado is licking its lips for a chance to play against this defense.

KU 10 years, 5 months ago

Fortunately, CU's offense has been worse than ISU's offense. Unfortunately, their coach finally had the sense to bench his son last night.

Brian Skelly 10 years, 5 months ago

I'd predict the "D" will play better against CU. Between CUs offense, and KU's D just playing better you'd think that. Of course, if we get one of those "Snow Bowl" games next week who knows what will happen then.

All bets are off if thats the case, although I'd like to think we'd still win regardless.

TwistedFish31 10 years, 5 months ago

Oh Dugie, did you write the same kind of piece for your beloved Tigers when their defense surrendered 27 in the 4th Qtr once the rain stopped? Nebraska may have hung 50 on your Tigers if the weather had not prevented it the first 3 Qtrs.

I'm not saying KU's defense was good yesterday...or even acceptable, but they held on and won the game and I have faith that they'll get better. Unlike Mr Mizzou.

Rock Chalk!!

SchaeHawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I hate to bag on Bowen but I think our special teams AND defense were better when Bowen was in charge of special teams. And, I think a lot of the flaw is simply in our 4-2-5 scheme. The horrible camera view showed the huge holes before they even opened up. The safeties and linebackers were so spread out that all the cyclones had to do was break through the initial wave of defenders and boom, big gain. Maybe it is time for a scheme change and defensive coordinator change....especially if Mangino has seen this weakness for so long

troutsee 10 years, 5 months ago

If in fact our recruitment is better and if in fact we are now getting the players, then where is the coaching? Hell, that patchwork defense that Mangino put together in the Nick Reid era far outshined the efforts by this group. Again, it may not have anything to do with the kids and everything to do with the coaches, including MM. After every game, I think, "Maybe this offense (the opposing team's offense) is really good." And then I follow that team and see them getting beat by unranked teams. The only team that we have played this year that has shown itself to be a fairly good team offensively in subsequent games is Duke (and yes I know UTEP murdered Houston). Sorry guys, but this year's poor defense is on MM. He is the head coach, and it is his responsibility to see that this team is ready to play on both sides of the ball. For two seasons now I have been sitting in the stands praying for the other team's offense to make a foolish mistake, as our defense does not get many 3 and outs. I remember having the same sickening feeling during the TA years. Speed kills. We lack it. And when you lack speed, you better be well coached.

kranny 10 years, 5 months ago

I'm going out on a limb and saying that yesterday's game was an anomaly. The fact is that when you bring the heat the q-back doesn't throw well. We don't blitz enough. A 2 linebacker set isn't going to get the job done. I don't know how many times our 2 linebackers pursued outside the D-ends only to get burned up the middle by Arnaud. If they played inside, we got burned on the corners by wide receiver screens or runs on the edge. Our linebackers, were standing a lot not sure what to do. We need to go back to 3 linebackers with one in the middle, mix up the blitz package and make it uncomfortable for the qback. Hawkins will throw 3 picks with pressure in his face.

Matt Lacey 10 years, 5 months ago

If we don't have 3 quality LBs, what use is going to a 4-3? I think that's the problem.

We need a couple of guys to take it to the next level, even if one of them is DL. More pass rush than we showed against ISU would alleviate the secondary problems.

jumpinjayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

While we can win a shootout with Iowa State (barely), don't expect to win against teams like OU, NU,MU, or even K-State, sad to think but we can lose to the wildcats due to our lack of defense. We can only hope the coaches can change the scheme to slow down opposing offenses at least on occasion. Good thing ISU's kicker sucks or we would have lost.

Kevin Crook 10 years, 5 months ago

We tackled poorly. We would have looked 100% better if we just made some open field tackles. Their massive offensive line pushed us around, and we weren't getting off of their blocks. Our run fits were bad. The middle of the field was vulnerable. I think Iowa State executed well. We looked like a team that came out of a bye week very flat. It was hard to watch. If our only option is to outscore people, we will not win the North.

Rivethead 10 years, 5 months ago

CU's Stewart is going to run all over us. He's 1000x better than a 50% Robinson (ISU) who had a career high against us. And he's fast. And our D is not. Hawkins won't have to make a single throw to beat us. Just keep handing off to that stable of decent RBs that CU has.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 5 months ago

Defense? We really haven't played a game this year where our defense has been impressive. Our best defense is our offense which forces the other teams offense to keep up.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 5 months ago

jumpinjayhawk (anonymous) says... While we can win a shootout with Iowa State (barely), don't expect to win against teams like OU, NU,MU, or even K-State,

We will win 3 of those games. I guess you didn't see K-State last night.

shelleysue 10 years, 5 months ago

Please someone figure things out for our defense and special teams. That was tough to watch.

I would also like your opinion with something. Apparently someone sitting a row behind and several seats over from me didn't like that I was standing up during the game. I didnt stand up the entire time - just on big plays (which granted was a lot considering the way our defense played), kickoffs, when people in front of me were standing etc. I guess I've never thought about it - it's football. If someone in front of me stands up, I stand up. I have always felt that it's college football so I need to expect to stand most of the time. What is your opinion?? Do I need to sit down? I am very passionate about Jayhawk football and I tend to get a little excited.

Again - BLUE is the choice of color when we play OK and NE. BLUE please!

Rivethead 10 years, 5 months ago

shellysue: Stand up and keep cheering. IF they ask you sit down....cheer louder.

Jeff Hargate 10 years, 5 months ago

shelleysue, love the passion!! You should absolutely stand when a play merits it. It is a football game and if the "fans" sitting around you do not like it they should watch it on TV. I sit in front of a couple and they never stand, but they do not mind and are very cool about it. I encounter fans like you are describing at the Fieldhouse every year. We need a spark and it's too bad Springer is too banged up to get the majority or the reps. I also could not believe that we could not pick off any of Arnaud's floaters. In the past our db's and safety's could bait him into throwing bad passes, but I guess if you get no pressure on him that just adds a layer of ineptness that exploits everyone. If I had to guess I would predict seeing more players at the line of scrimmage against CU and make them beat us throwing the ball.

troutsee 10 years, 5 months ago

Hey, Shelly Sue, it's hard to get Republicans to yell or attract attention to themselves unless they are at a town hall meeting or trying to make Obama look bad.

Sparko 10 years, 5 months ago

It is funny, but when the basketball team barely beats a team they outclass badly, there is not this level of panic. The wind was a huge factor yesterday, some flatness, and a desperate opponent. The game said some good things about Iowa State too. They have the best running back in the Big XII. Oporum looked great--he could have put the game away if they had given him consecutive carries after he gained 8 on first down.

Watching the game, Kansas' play calling kept this close. The first punt was the result of weak play calling in short yardage downs. The last punt was too. Kansas did not need to relinquish the ball to the team with the wind with plenty of time. That was a familiar flaw from the disastrous '06 season. Kansas should have scored 60 on ISU.

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 5 months ago

Simply put it, if Mangino wants to simplfy the schemes, he might also want to play the most athletic players.

Larry Smith 10 years, 5 months ago

Maybe if we could have....

Held our opponent to 313 yds Only given up 46 yds rushing Gotten two turnovers Sacked QB a few times for -3 yds Won the time of possesion battle

Then we could have........

Lost by 24 pts. Ask Colorado if they would have been OK giving up 500+ yds if they could still get the victory.

Stats are a funny thing. I am not saying that there should be no concern at all, but it is also not the end of the world. Get a W, get ready for next week.

I wonder if the Texas fans are as concerned with their offensive performance against what could be the worst defense in the Big 12 as the Kansas fans seem to be about a bad defensive performance against what could be one of the worst offenses in the Big 12?

kranny 10 years, 5 months ago

At least with a 4-3 with marginal athletes you can mix up the blitz package and make yourself harder to block. Our 4 front guys are not going to give enough pressure if they're being blocked by 5 offensive lineman a tight end and a running back and we're dropping 2 linebackers into coverage. We simply don't have the athletes to cover that much ground that quickly and makes it harder to be responsible for your keys. We need to be more aggressive up front and not so conservative. I would be willing to give up a big play or two and knock down the QB rather than giving him all day to wait for his receivers to break on our dbacks. Bowen needs to wake up and realize we don't have the athletes to play a 4-2.

90sHawk 10 years, 5 months ago

KU football fans are very disappointing on gameday. Though it's not the majority, it's a large minority. For crying out loud people, it's BIG 12 conference play now, get excited and root on the team! Quit sitting down in your seats having conversations about your favorite food. The football team is turning around and giving us something to be excited about. We are still fresh of a great Orange Bowl win. It's absolutely pathetic to see fans not into the game, making noise, and cheering loudly. For those students who left at halftime of a tight conference game, your a disgrace ! If you can't cheer on the Hawks and wait 2 more hours before you have to go back to drinking at 1:30 in the afternoon, give up your tickets to real fans ! Get it together KU fans, a part of making a great program includes us, the fans.

Joseph Kuebel 10 years, 5 months ago

Clint Bowen was GIVEN AN ASSISTANT to learn the program last year....NOW this year he is given a Co-Defensive Coordinator and he STILL IS AWFUL!

THIS GUY SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED AFTER THE DEMISE OF OUR DEFENSE LAST YEAR...With practically no experienced linebackers at all (even though we fell off last year)-even with our very experienced defense due to Bowen...

FIRE BOWEN NOW before this drags on any longer that it has.

kranny 10 years, 5 months ago

There's no sense in firing a coach when your team is 5-0. That would be more detrimental to the players. I think Mangino has it figured out; back to the basics, cover your keys, maybe a few more zone packages in the secondary, blitz more, take more of the guesswork out the equation and just let them play football.

jhokfan 10 years, 5 months ago

I don't think Bowen is the problem. We don't have very many good players on defense. In spite of what Mangino has done for this program we are not getting great recruits. It is difficult to get kids to come to KU and it's unrealistic to expect Mangino to mold every average player into a good player. The Big 12 is an offense minded conference. Just ask former DC Bill Young at OSU. He is considered to be a good coordinator and opponents have put up big numbers against his Cowboys. Until we can shed our "basketball school" image I don't believe we can get much better than we are now. Yesterdays poor fan support doesnt' help.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago


"It is funny, but when the basketball team barely beats a team they outclass badly, there is not this level of panic."

Sorry, but I have to disagree. Go ahead and peruse through the comments on this article following the loss to OSU on Feb 23rd, 2008 -- the middle of a national championship year.

Now granted, that was a loss and not a close win, but I think a 1-point loss on the road in conference in a 40 game season is fairly equivalent to an eked out victory at home (with a 2-yard overthrown ball to end it) in football.

Here's a couple of my favorite quotes from that comment section (in no particular order):

"What is wrong with this team?"

"A second round loss in the tourney will not surprise me with this squad. Especially if its a mid-major that wants it more."

"I don't see any NBA-ready talent on this team." (Yep, that one still makes me laugh)

"I am surprised that Self brought up the coaching manual because I don't think knows where he left it last. He flat out does not know how to coach."

"...everyone wants in our bracket."

"There are some serious chemistry problems right now."

And following those: "Great comments and opinions. These blogs show why Kansas fans are some of the smartest fans in the country when it comes to Basketball IQ."

And just cause he's getting criticized today: "I know, ...we need the great Wiz, of all the land of Oz. The great and wonderful Mark Mangino. He can save this basketball program from death and sorrow."

Okay, you get the point. Our fans are just that, fanatical, especially those that post on these boards (and, clearly, can be very, VERY wrong). And I don't think they are anymore critical than with the basketball program. Yet, the comments on this particular article are a good sign. A very good sign. If we are getting more critical of the football program, we are becoming more of a football school.

So I'll take the crazy sky is falling posts. They are better than the alternative: indifference.

gthejayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Troustee, your statement shows the true irony in liberalism. You claim to the be the party who "cares" and is "open-minded", but when some disagrees with what YOU believe, then you degrade them or label them. Where I come from, this is called hypocrisy.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

“We just weren’t getting off blocks, weren’t making tackles,” said KU safety Ryan Murphy, who along with true freshman linebacker Huldon Tharp earned his first career start Saturday. “We just really weren’t making plays.”

I don't think this is the problem. I think we are just not very athletic and it's going to be an uphill battle just like last season when it comes to stopping offenses. Just my opinion. We need to be getting some talent on the defensive side of the ball. I do think, however, that Mangino is a great coach and he will do some things differently with our defense as far as blitz schemes and such to start putting a little more pressure on the quarterback. Our defensive line is not good. Period. I think he knows in his gut that it's going to be our offense that has to carry the load which means we are going to have some road bumps (some big ones). Positive note? The offensive line is learning to pass block. Not sure then can run block yet. We'll find out shortly.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Uh yeah.... Troustee, I am a democrat and I see no coralation with yelling at football games and what party you are affiliated with. Your comment was worthless. Anyway, I will say that KU fans are not a very hardy bunch on whole. We have a pretty small stadium when it comes to major college sports and we can't even fill it when we're the 16th ranked team in the nation? Give me a break people... And a lot of the fans that do go to the game don't know how to cheer. It's more of a social gathering to a lot of alumni I think. Pretty sad. I hate to say it, but K-State knows how to cheer on their football team better than we do. Keep standing and cheering, ShellySue. In fact, turn around and inform people that they are indeed at a football game! RCJH

Hawktacular 10 years, 5 months ago

OU, TTech, NU, and UT will hang 60+ points on this defense. It is atrocious and by far the worst defense in the Big XII. Anyone on this board that doesn't see/get that needs to take off the blinders. Iowa State is a terrible football team, yet they popped off big play after big play. Our D isn't just bad, it is flat out embarrassing. It is a good thing basketball starts this weekend.

741hawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Obviously, ShellySue, you sit on the west side with all the old fuddie duddies. On one of the rare occassions when I sat on that side (the last KU-MU game in Lawrence), I actually had an usher come down and tell me to sit down. She got an earful from me, and I didn't sit down. I took her tag number and wrote a letter to Lew. He replied, saying that the usher had been wrong.

Stand up. Stand up the whole damn game like we did in College Station and other great venues. In Norman, Oklahoma, last season, as long as the clock was running, the OU fans were standing and so were we!

Turn around and tell the old farts to stand up and cheer or go home.

Bud Stagg 10 years, 5 months ago

It doesn't matter how good our athletes are, they were not even close to being in the right place. I've never seen so many wide open people or holes in the line with no one for yards to even try to make a tackle.

I think Mr. Bowen needs to revamp this defense, rip it down and start over. I think Coach has it right, start with the basics this week and add to it.

JakeHawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Just a few words. Students shouldn't leave at halftime. Sad.

And yes, KU fans should always wear blue for conference games. No exceptions.

shelleysue 10 years, 5 months ago

Actually I sit on the east side. I'm not sure what's going on. This is the same fan that I heard comment how the alma mater still gets to him. The same group of fans who spilled a coke all over our stuff then commented "you have to expect that at a football game" (we never said a word to them - we just wiped the stuff off). And the same fan who told our grandson to stand on the seat so he could see his guy (Kerry Meier). I don't know, maybe he was just having a bad day.

I stand. I cheer. Last year against Texas I was standing up yelling until the very last second. I don't see myself changing any time soon.

If you go to a Jayhawk football game, please:

• Do not spend 3/4 of the game texting. • Wave the wheat when we score. • Wear blue. • Stand up and cheer or give up your seat to someone who will. • The tailgate is for socializing, the game is for cheering. • NEVER leave the game when there is still time on the clock. NEVER. • If you don't want to stand and cheer, watch the game on TV. • Don't come to a game and give KU fans grief - leave that for the opponent. • Don't boo the other team when they come out. Unless it's Missouri or Texas. (my personal opinion).

Thanks for the feedback. You will see me standing from now on!

beebe1b 10 years, 5 months ago

rasta-meta been missing your comments this year. Last year you might have been my choice for Defensive Coordinator. CaliHawk might be a possible choice. With all the comments, you seem to be hitting the nail on the head. My comments were basically the same -- plenty of defensive talent; wrong scheme, players out of position, and not really well trained. The head coach at Cinti has it down pat; he's out of range in the price cost. Ah well, till we put a first class Defensive Coordinator in OVER Bowen, there isn't any real hope.

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