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Kansas defeats Northern Colorado, 49-3

  • 6 p.m., Sept. 5, 2009
  • David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS

Originally published September 6, 2009 at 12:00a.m., updated September 6, 2009 at 11:53a.m.

A grand opening

Jayhawks run wild in blowout of Bears

Kansas defensive end Jake Laptad flexes after sacking Northern Colorado quarterback Bryan Waggener during the second quarter Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009 at Memorial Stadium. The stop forced the Bears to punt.

Kansas defensive end Jake Laptad flexes after sacking Northern Colorado quarterback Bryan Waggener during the second quarter Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009 at Memorial Stadium. The stop forced the Bears to punt.

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Postgame: Northern Colorado

The guys (Jesse Newell, Tom Keegan) discuss KU's season-opening 49-3 victory over Northern Colorado. The two discuss the gameday atmosphere at Memorial, the joy of watching Todd Reesing, the impressive debut of the freshmen and Tom's earring habits. The guys also reviews their "picks to click" and select an MVP ...

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KU-Northern Colorado football

Reader poll

Whose performance were you most pleased with in KU's 49-3 victory over Northern Colorado?

  • Jake Sharp 15% 383 votes
  • Todd Reesing 30% 733 votes
  • Kale Pick 10% 263 votes
  • Toben Opurum 27% 665 votes
  • Chris Harris 10% 252 votes
  • Kerry Meier 3% 86 votes
  • Other 1% 38 votes

2420 total votes.

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Kansas 49, Northern Colorado 3

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KU defeated Northern Colorado, 49-3, to open the 2009 season.

At this time last year, Kansas University’s football coaching staff was fielding a steady stream of questions about the team’s lack of a potent running game.

During a pass-happy nonconference schedule in 2008, in which KU would go 3-1, quarterback Todd Reesing was chucking passes at a significant clip and coaches were being asked why, exactly, such limited emphasis was being placed on such an important part of the game.

Perhaps in an effort to avoid such inquiries this fall — or, more likely, as a result of their opponent’s apparent attempt to cut off the pass — the Jayhawks opened their season Saturday by racking up 328 yards on the ground in a lopsided 49-3 victory over visiting Northern Colorado at Memorial Stadium.

“Northern Colorado came in here, and I think they were determined not to let us put up big numbers in the passing game,” said Kansas coach Mark Mangino, whose team won its sixth straight home opener — before a record crowd of 52,530. “They played zone. At times (they) dropped eight defenders. And we can run the ball. If you’re going to do that, we’re going to run the football, and we’ll do it effectively.”

That certainly was the case Saturday.

Working prominently out of a newly implemented pistol formation, the Jayhawks quietly chewed up yardage while giving quarterback Todd Reesing and his right arm the weekend off.

By the end of the night, three players rushed for 79 yards or more — led by Jake Sharp’s 123-yard performance and a 79-yard outing by true freshman Toben Opurum — and Kansas had managed to eclipse the 300-yard rushing mark in a game for the first time since 2001.

“They were basically challenging us to run the ball,” said Sharp, who also caught a touchdown pass. “... Being a spread offense, we take what they give us. And the run game is what they were giving.”

The Jayhawks managed to toss it around a little, too, of course.

Despite playing without the luxury of his top receiver – junior Dezmon Briscoe was held out of the game for disciplinary reasons stemming from academic issues in the spring — Reesing kicked off his senior campaign nicely, completing passes to seven receivers, including a 71-yard bomb to Kerry Meier.

“I’m not going to lie, I like throwing the ball,” said the quarterback, who in addition to completing 13 of 20 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns also rushed for 79 yards and two scores. “We’d like to throw for 400 yards a game. But we’ll do whatever we have to. That’s the way this offense has gone. We’re not going to try to force the passes downfield if it’s not there; we’ll run the ball if we have to.”

Maybe the most encouraging thing to come out of Saturday’s game, meanwhile, was the play of the offensive line. Entering the season, the unit, which returned just two starters, represented one of the greatest causes for concern, but looked stout in paving the way for the prominent ground attack while not allowing a sack.

And while Mangino was quick to caution that his team will see tougher defensive fronts this season, there was reason to be optimistic.

In the end, it’s hard to determine what to make of the outcome.

The defensive line looked impressive most of the night — finishing with three sacks and seven tackles for loss — but allowed a handful of big runs.

The secondary held UNC quarterback Bryan Waggener to just 165 yards, but struggled at times with penalties.

Mostly, the evening went as expected against an opponent that had won a total of three games in the past three seasons combined.

“We did what we had to do,” Mangino said. “That’s the best way to put it.”

Comments

Kevin Long 10 years, 4 months ago

Pretty solid first game. Good to see all those rush yards. I'm just a little concerned about the pass protection. I know they didn't give up any sacks,but if Reesing weren't like Barry Sanders back there they would have had several. NC's D-line is tiny. If our boys have trouble keeping them in check then i'm a little afraid. It's early though.

KGphoto 10 years, 4 months ago

Nice to get in a full practice with the starters against another team. It looked like that's exactly what they needed.

Hatch needed it (high snaps). Davis certainly needed it (3 interference penalties. At least one of which, was totally bogus). Wilson needed it (dropsies). Reesing? Not so much. Todd is just doing his thing waiting for the rest of the guys to pick it up.

Favorite moment. It would be easy to say Reesing's delayed fake to Sharp and juke right into the endzone. Nobody sets up a tackler better than Todd. He embarrassed defenders all night wild shimmies and shakes.

Instead I'll choose a more subtle play. Reesing to McDougald on a slant in the first quarter. Like butta. Like Brothas. Like they've been doing this their whole lives. It was just so natural, and I found myself hoping during the play that the player I wasn't recognizing by his form or stride, would in fact have #24 across the jersey when he got up. Great things to come from that duo. Unfortunately for Jonathan Wilson, it appears he was passed up in game one.

Matt Kenton 10 years, 4 months ago

Nice Jaytk!

Say What again!! I dare you, I double-dare you, mutha---!

Christopher Hauser 10 years, 4 months ago

klong-

I think Reesing had pleanty of time to throw the ball on most plays. The defense they were in (2 deep) zone coverage I think took away a lot of the passing game so Reesing was sitting in the pocket for 3 even four seconds sometimes. I really don't think we showed much of the playbook either. If Briscoe would have been able to play he would have been able to stretch the defense a little more. Personally, I will take the run all year. If we can run the ball like we did last night all year then we are going to keep a lot of high powered offenses off of the field. I get a little worried everytime Reesing tucks the ball and goes though, he takes some big hits.

KU 10 years, 4 months ago

KG, Wilson did have an off game, but he doesn't play the same position as McDougald. McDougald is Meier's backup in the slot. Maybe they can work McDougald into Wilson's position to get the best 3 WR on the field at the same time. It would be disappointing to see Meier on the field LESS during his senior season. Meier might be the best blocking wide receiver not wearing a Nebraska uniform (in Osborne's heyday). The guy just dominates his opponent. Tertavian Ingram needs a LOT of work on his blocking, especially on those WR screens. The guy can't sustain a block long enough to spring the play.

jayhawkr34 10 years, 4 months ago

Scoreboard wise it was a "blowout", but execution wise its was not, and I am sure coach Mangino will recognize that and make changes accordingly. The defensive secondary was our weakest link. For a first game for some players it was a "good" game, but I hope we make aot of improvement before the Big 12 conference play.

Kevin Long 10 years, 4 months ago

yates I thought the linebackers looked pretty good. They gave up a couple of big runs but for the most part I was impressed.

chris- I didn't think about it like that. Your right, they did back off and cover deep a lot. I also agree that Mangino kept the offense vanilla, and why not? When you can win big and not show a lot do it.

royals85 10 years, 4 months ago

Am becoming frustrated with Briscoe. Haven't read anything positive concerning him for a while on this site.

Eric Schneider 10 years, 4 months ago

royals85-Briscoe's suspension from this game is part of his spring suspension. It was nothing new.

truefan 10 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, all of the suspensions for game 1 were from summer infractions, not from this week or even this month really.

I thought the team played well, and although the secondary was better, it still was not great. I may have to cut them a little slack though since Coach didn't really call any blitzes and the D-Line was getting the QB to throw quick but short most of the game. With more stunting by the D-Line and a blitzing linebacker now and then, we might see more success for our secondary. Harris got his swagger back though and Stuckey and Thorton make up the best safety combo in the conference.

Kit Duncan 10 years, 4 months ago

This is from the "Four Jayhawks suspended" link in the upper left half of this page:

(Following the game, KU coach Mark Mangino said that the suspensions of Briscoe and Greene stemmed from their earlier suspensions during spring football.

“They knew when they were suspended in the spring that part of the stipulations were that they weren’t going to play in the first game,” Mangino said.

“Jeff Wheeler and Pendleton’s issues are different,” he added. “They violated team policy, and I did not have them play tonight.”)

Overall, a pretty good start to the season. The running game sure looks promising, passing will be great if everyone stays healthy, while defense and special teams have yet to have been really tested. Mark will fix the field infractions problem and this team will have a legitimate chance to win the North title if the other areas mentioned prove capable. OK fellas, just keep sawing wood...

Rock Chalk

JBurtin 10 years, 4 months ago

I see the defensive effort as being 90% positive.

It's easy as a fan to be hyper critical when you see a 1AA team break off a 20 yard run, but when it comes down to it they only rushed for 82 yards in the entire game!

Any college team is going to have at least a few successful plays just by the dumb luck of choosing the right play for the defense that we call. I know at least 1 of their larger runs happened because of a linebacker blitz that left a hole where the linebacker used to be. Not uncommon at all. Just a good play call at the right time.

I was a little bit frustrated to not see our D-Line in the backfield a bit more, but when it comes down to it, UNCo only tried to throw it more than 10 yards a few times during the game, and very few of them worked. By and large, our guys got in the backfield fast enough to force them to dump it off to the short route and avoid the sack. In fact, a good portion of their passing yards came from 3rd and long situations where we gave them the five yard route and blew it up quickly before the YAC yards could turn it into a first down.

There's nothing wrong with giving up 7 yards on a third and 9 and we did exactly that several times in the game. Also, don't forget that this was accomplished without the help of Jamaal Greene and Jeff Wheeler. Two experienced and talented linemen that should make a big difference this year.

I guess the only real negative that I saw were the pass interference penalties, and even with those I have to agree with KG that one of them was BS. Davis made 2 legitimately boneheaded inference plays, so the ref was watching him closer than usual and called him for a third that never would have been called had it not been for the other two.

But even the interference calls have a positive side. The only reason that we didn't get called for pass interference penalties last year is because last year there was nobody within 10 yards of the receiver when he caught the ball. It is obvious to me that Anthony Davis is fast enough to keep up with his man, and is in fact overrunning the opponent. Now if he can just learn to watch the receiver's eyes and know when the ball is coming, he can turn his head around a bit quicker and try and make a play on the ball. He'll have some hiccups along the way, but it's nothing that a few games of experience can't cure. Furthermore, Rubles and Patterson looked solid as a rock, so there are 2 guys that won't need the learning experiences to get the job done.

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