Advertisement

Originally published September 11, 2009 at 12:00a.m., updated September 11, 2009 at 09:19a.m.

Jayhawks hoping for better opener on the road

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing makes his way from the field following the Jayhawks' 37-34 loss to South Florida Friday, Sept. 12, 2008 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing makes his way from the field following the Jayhawks' 37-34 loss to South Florida Friday, Sept. 12, 2008 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Advertisement

KU not underestimating high-octane opponent

KU football is ready to play an angry UTEP team this weekend.

Last season, in its only nonconference road test of the year, the Kansas University football team looked like a Top-25 team at the beginning and a bottom 25 team at the end.

Saturday, when the No. 24-ranked Jayhawks (1-0) travel to El Paso, Texas, for their only non-conference game away from home in 2009, they’ll be looking to build on last week’s fast start while exorcising some of the demons from last year’s 37-34 loss at South Florida.

“That was definitely a tough game to swallow,” said KU quarterback Todd Reesing, whose interception late in the game against USF sealed Kansas’ fate. “But we didn’t lose that game in the fourth quarter, we lost it over the course of the entire game.”

With that in mind, the Jayhawks spent most of this week focusing on delivering a complete effort against UTEP on Saturday.

“I think we are well prepared to play on the road, and our players are looking forward to it,” KU coach Mark Mangino said. “As you know, if we want to have success in the conference, we have to be able to win on the road.”

During Mangino’s time at Kansas, KU has been less than stellar outside of Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks are just 2-4 in nonconference road games in the Mangino era and were 1-3 in true road games during 2008, with the lone victory coming at Iowa State.

Overall, Kansas is 9-24 as the visiting team during Mangino’s seven seasons at Kansas. Take away the 4-0 mark during the 2007 Orange Bowl season, and you’re staring at a team that has never won more than one road game during a season under its current head coach.

Because of their past struggles, the Jayhawks believe they now know what it takes to play well and win on the road.

“You have to be able to go into other places and quiet their crowd and make things happen to get where you want to be,” defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said.

Added senior safety Darrell Stuckey: “They have the whole crowd. All you have is one little section. So you have to remember that a victory is never a victory until the clock hits zero in the fourth quarter.”

With so many veterans and so much experience on the roster, the Jayhawks don’t buy into the notion that the team’s struggles on the road have to do with the current regime. As cliché as it may be, for this bunch, each road game is its own animal and each represents a new opportunity to flip the script from sad-sack visitor to road warrior.

“Obviously, going on the road, it is a whole new environment,” Reesing said. “We have guys that are young that are going to have to learn to play on the road and deal with the hostile environment. Any time you play on the road, it is tough — it doesn’t matter if it is conference or nonconference. It is going to be a big game for (UTEP), and it is a big game for us. We want to start our first road game (of 2009) on the right foot.”

• A previous version of this story was updated to clarify meaning.

Comments

Muska 10 years, 4 months ago

Let me be the first to say...I think we can handle em'. It's gonna be a tough game, but I'm so, so glad that Mangino has these guys preaching the right attitude. Rock Chalk.

Kent Wells 10 years, 4 months ago

That loss to South Florida stunk. Go Hawks! Beat the miners!

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 4 months ago

these articles are silly.....especially pointing out MM's road record.

first of all, KU was 6-38 in all Big 12 road games before '07. 6-38! NOBODY as a coach at KU has won on the road recently.

then we go 4-0 in '07. what was so magical then? we had a very good football team, that's what. and that's what it takes....good football players with experience.

this team is more experienced than last year's team...and they all have that USF road loss experience. they also beat ISU, and lost to OU and NU. no real shame there.

the road is harder, because the home team plays better...it's just that simple. i'm more concerned with the fact that UTEP lost last week....so they will really be chomping at the bit.

but we have the leadership and experience to get it done.

KU 41 UTEP 27

Rock Chalk

Ben Kane 10 years, 4 months ago

I was at the USF game last year...tough loss for sure but I'm still taking the spread (13) against UTEP!!!

hellx 10 years, 4 months ago

"The Jayhawks are just 2-4 in nonconference road games in the Mangino era and were 1-3 away from home during 2008, with the lone victory coming at Iowa State."

What about Arrowhead?

Joe Baker 10 years, 4 months ago

This will be a great road test. A kind of gut check against a team that will be playing with wreckless abandon. It will test our mental toughness and ability to execute under those adverse situations that a team like UTEP uses to win. It wouldn't be much to talk about if every game was like the first. Each game will be more difficult than the last. They'll do fine. Our players are smart, talented, well coached and we have something to prove in the rankings. We need games to prepare us for B12 Conf play.

RCJHKU

hellx 10 years, 4 months ago

...and, come to think of it, the Insight Bowl. Sure, they were neutral site games, but they were "away from home."

Jesse Newell 10 years, 4 months ago

hellx — You are correct. I'm pretty sure Matt was just looking for a synonym for the word "road" in that context, but you are right in that it does change the meaning.

KU was 1-3 in true road games last year. The story has been fixed.

Ted Toulouse 10 years, 4 months ago

I would like to see our defense during the non-conference games to keep the opponents from scoring the following:

UTEP - under 10pts Duke - under 10pts S. Miss - under 20pts

Stats I like to see when I feel we should dominate the other team are more sacks and more interseptions. Offensively, running the ball down their throats helps too.

David Serven 10 years, 4 months ago

We'll have to beat the spread for this game to mean anything to the rankings. But I think the boys know how important the game is...

10 years, 4 months ago

Driving out to El Paso today with a co-worker, who is a UTEP alum. Should be a good game and looking forward to checking out the Sun Bowl for the first time.

For those who are interested, here is a great story on Dezmon Briscoe today:

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/v-print/story/1437722.html

focojayhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Quick question. I will be in Tucson, Az this weekend. I am sure I can watch the game there anywhere, but am wondering if there are any KU bars there??? Does anyone know?

jayhawkintx73 10 years, 4 months ago

KU faltered in the 3rd quarter to USF, but dominated the other 3 quarters, that 3rd quarter was a killer. But UTEP is no USF. I doubt they'll be able to handle our offense very well, especially now that we have a some depth at running back and Todd's legs.

jayhawkintx73 10 years, 4 months ago

foco, I don't know if there is, but if you can find a CHile's restaurant, they usually will turn one of the TVs to the game you want to watch, but Tuscon is Arizona State's home, so if they're playing at the same time, good luck.

focojayhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Thanks, 73. I don't think the Sun Devils are playin this weekend so we I should be good to go. This is a big game, can't miss it!! Go hawks!!

10 years, 4 months ago

focojayhawk ~

Tucson is the home of Arizona University, while Tempe is the home of Arizona State University. According to the KU Alumni Association website, there is a Fox and Hound in Tucson that hosts KU watch parties.

http://www.kualumni.org/~kualumni/cgi-bin/kuaa_chaptersgroups.cgi?action=displaychapterswatchsiteslisting#Arizona

You may want to send the KU contact person listed an email to verify they still meet there. I have gone to watch sites in other cities that were listed without checking first only to find no one there.

KirkwoodHawk 10 years, 4 months ago

KU was 1-3 in true road games, games that were played at the opponent's home stadium. Games away from home we were 3-3, because Arrowhead and the bowl game are considerred neutral sites.

focojayhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Thanks a bunch txrockchalk. Yeah, I thought ASU was in Tempe. I will check into all of the info you gave me. If I am not with ku fans, the Arizona people better look out for the loners in the crimson and blue. Either way, can't wait.

Joe Baker 10 years, 4 months ago

ttoulouse (anonymous) says...

UTEP - under 10pts Duke - under 10pts S. Miss - under 20pts

Very possible! Great team goals. Each player will have to execute their position with precision.

Joe Baker 10 years, 4 months ago

txrockchalk (anonymous) says... For those who are interested, here is a great story on Dezmon Briscoe today:

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/v-pr...

Thanks for the link! Tragic in so many ways, yet so encouraging. I hope Dez stays focused and keeps his priorities in order. It would be great if Sherron and Dez could become close friends, if they aren't already!! I think Sherron could really be a great friend under the circumstances.

waywardJay 10 years, 4 months ago

It is sad.

Dez's got the game it's whether he has the head for it. As a Raven's fan I'm hoping he ends up there. As a humanity fan, it's also the best place for him. You become a player on that team when Ray acknowledges you. Dez would be a great fit for that team.

Kevin Long 10 years, 4 months ago

The past road games don't mean much to me. You win on the road when you have better players and senior leadership. I know they have at least one of those. I too like the hawks to cover the spread and then some.

KU-42 UTEP-17

kvskubball 10 years, 4 months ago

I think the point spreads that have been given above are mostly over-rating our offense at this stage of the season. UNC was a terrible D2 school and we scored 49 on them. I know our second unit O-Team played quite a bit, but still. UTEP isn't a super-great D1 school, but not bad either.

I think UTEP will pose more talent/matchup challenges for our mostly young and inexperienced O-Line. The Miners are more likely to stunt and run around to try to confuse our youngsters. I'm not sure what kind of crowd will be present, but we won't have the quiet that we have at home for everyone to be sure to be on the same page.

I don't expect a terribly tough match-up but a good game, unless we are over-confident (That doesn't seem to be the case). I do expect Todd to have to have his happy shoes on and be mobile. Our running game will be really important in this game, to build for future games. I was disappointed that we couldn't generate much of a consistent running game last year. That put almost the entire load on Todd's arm. That works against lesser opponents, but not the Big Boys.

Rock Chalk JayHawks! Go pick the Miners' pockets!

KU - 34 UTEP - 20. Unless we have a near-perfect game. The Miners' loss last week will have them give us a tough game.

Rivethead 10 years, 4 months ago

kvskubball:

What are you seeing that no one else is? Every single review of this matchup that I have read all point to the same thing: UTEP's defense, especially their DL, is horrible. Buffalo's QB had a year to throw the ball on every down. UTEP runs a 3-3-5 with a 275lb NT. You don't think a 311lb Hatch can handle a 275lb DT? Their ends are both 250lbs. Those kids are going to be mush after a 314lb Spikes and 290lb Hawkinson wear on them for four quarters.

KU will ram the ball down their throats until they stack the box....then Todd will kill them with his arm. Our O will toy with this D.

kvskubball 10 years, 4 months ago

FYI...

I wondered if anyone remembered that Turner Gill was the coach at Buffalo, which beat UTEP last week?

He received quite-a-bit of press last year, about being ready to get a big-time job, since he has turned around the Buffalo program. Instead, he was signed to an extension and better contract... So while some probably were surprised that the Miners lost to Buffalo, I'd say this was just more proof that Gill can coach and is indeed ready for a big-time job.

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

txrockchalk (anonymous) says...

Driving out to El Paso today with a co-worker, who is a UTEP alum. Should be a good game and looking forward to checking out the Sun Bowl for the first time.


Don't forget to pick me up at the El Paso airport! :D

guroose 10 years, 4 months ago

Reading this got me to thinking about a blurb I saw on espn.com earlier this week-

"After routing Northern Colorado 49-3 in Week 1, Kansas looks to end its six-year winless streak against nonconference teams on the road during the regular season. The performance of QB Todd Reesing will be one of the keys to the game."

After a bit of research, sure enough our last road win was against Wyoming in 2003! Time to start a new streak! After watching the UTEP-Buffalo game, I don't really see the "shootout" many have predicted. Our LB's will come to play, shutting down the run & ready for crossing routes over the middle. Defensive backs can hang with these guys, no problem. And big holes on the left side for us to run through again!

Play 4 quarters & keep sawin' wood!

Jonathan Briles 10 years, 4 months ago

Some people are not giving UTEP enough credit on offense. We may not have a bad defense but its not amazing either. UTEP has a very capable QB and has a couple very capable threats at WR. I would look for them to put the ball over the top a lot. If our line comes through and can force V out of the pocket we could dominate them but if he has time to throw look for the score to show them scoring between 28-38 points. The good thing is that their defense is not very good at all. If they don't play 110% and we don't play 75% then we should be putting up no less than 38 points. If we come out strong we should put up between 42-59 points. I know it seems like a lot but its easily made. Looking at the game the situation and where it is at I am going to say KU takes it 45-31. Look for a scare through the beginning that ends comfortably.

Kevin Long 10 years, 4 months ago

Have fun sevenyear! Hope you took some spanish! You will need it. ha ha

Jeff Kilgore 10 years, 4 months ago

As usual, here in the boonies, I need TV information. And it ain't here. HELP.

KGphoto 10 years, 4 months ago

This post doesn't belong here. But I just gotta.

The biatch renamed herself "Tequila". What else could be expected?

Lance Hobson 10 years, 4 months ago

I think UTEP is solid, this won't be an easy game.

JBurtin 10 years, 4 months ago

I say we roll over UTEP in epic fashion.

This team is hungry for this road win after seeing a big opportunity slip away again USF last year. They'll be playing as if this is a revenge game, despite the fact that UTEP had nothing to do with it

kvskubball, of course we only scored 49 points on UNCo. They gave us the run and we took it. The clock keeps rolling on run plays because they rarely go out of bounds, and it takes more plays to get down the field. Resulting in less possessions.

Had they ever shifted out of the pass defense we would have let Todd's arm go to work and thrown a couple of quick touchdowns to make them pay for it.

Not to mention, we played extraordinarily Vanilla on both offense and defense. Throw in a few blitz packages and we could have easily created some turnovers and run up the score even more, and a couple of nice trick plays could have easily taken the ball to the house a couple of extra times.

In short, we yawned our way to a 49 to 3 victory over a badly overmatched opponent.

Look for us to open up the playbook a bit more this week.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.