Kansas defeats Texas-El Paso, 34-7

  • 6:30 p.m., Sept. 12, 2009
  • El Paso, TX, El Paso, TX

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Miner imperfection

Jayhawks cruise, but bemoan late slip-up

Kansas defenders Jeff Wheeler (84) and Drew Dudley stop UTEP running back Donald Buckram during the second quarter. UTEP rushed for just four yards in a 34-7 loss to the Jayhawks on Saturday in El Paso, Texas.

Kansas defenders Jeff Wheeler (84) and Drew Dudley stop UTEP running back Donald Buckram during the second quarter. UTEP rushed for just four yards in a 34-7 loss to the Jayhawks on Saturday in El Paso, Texas.


Reader poll

Who was KU's MVP against UTEP?

  • Maxwell Onyegbule 29% 427 votes
  • Jake Sharp 49% 724 votes
  • Daymond Patterson 1% 28 votes
  • Dezmon Briscoe 10% 159 votes
  • Jeff Wheeler 6% 90 votes
  • Other 1% 26 votes

1454 total votes.

Highlights from the KU vs. UTEP football game

Some highlights from the Jayhawks' victory against the Miners. KU improved to 2-0 after its defense shut down the UTEP attack.

Go figure

6.1 - Kansas’ average yards per rush (on 42 carries, or 255 net yards)

0.2 - UTEP’s average yards per rush (on 20 carries, or 4 net yards)

2 - UTEP possessions that ended in Kansas territory

2 - possessions that ended in Kansas territory

85-576 - Offensive plays-total yards for the Jayhawks

49-208 - Offensive plays-total yards for the Miners

6-39 - Sacks-yards by the Jayhawks

137 - Penalty yards against UTEP (versus 48 against KU)

— One thing.

On the Kansas University football team’s trip back home from Saturday’s 34-7 victory over Texas-El Paso, the defensive unit will have just one thing to dwell on — a late-game breakdown that resulted in a 75-yard UTEP touchdown that put a blemish on an otherwise impressive performance.

“That’s all (any) of us are going to be thinking about on the bus ride home, is how one play kept us from getting a shutout,” senior defensive back Justin Thornton said. “That’s what we really wanted.”

A year ago, as the Jayhawks’ defense struggled to a 114th national ranking in pass defense and gave up big plays by the handful, there would have been plenty of material to choose from on the postgame bus ride.

This year, however, expectations have changed a bit for a defense that, under the direction of second-year coordinator Clint Bowen, has been the team’s high point through the first two games of the season.

“It’s hard to complain,” said Kansas coach Mark Mangino, whose team earned its first nonconference road victory since 2003 and improved to 2-0 overall. “We were really stellar on defense tonight.”

While last week’s thrashing of NCAA Championship Subdivision opponent Northern Colorado could be viewed as a byproduct of the less-than-intimidating competition, it’s hard to scoff after the Jayhawks held an explosive Texas-El Paso offense — the Miners ranked 31st in the nation in total offense a year ago — to 208 total yards on the road.

Without question, the success Saturday night began up front, with a defensive line that tallied six sacks, wreaked regular havoc on Miners quarterback Trevor Vittatoe and helped hold UTEP to just four yards rushing.

Using a new-look front — usual defensive ends Jake Laptad and Max Onyegbule often were used at the defensive tackle positions, while Jeff Wheeler and Steven Foster worked as ends — the Jayhawks needed just four players to rush the passer most of the evening, allowing the secondary to sit back in coverage.

“(That) makes it way easier,” said cornerback Daymond Patterson, who finished with a team-high six tackles. “The quarterback is having to think faster, he’s having to get rid of the ball faster, and he’s running around and scrambling, (which) makes him less accurate.”

The Jayhawks’ offensive unit didn’t exactly struggle Saturday.

If it’s possible to have a quiet 576 yards of offense, Kansas managed to do it. Receiver Dezmon Briscoe, who sat out last week’s game as a penalty stemming from spring academic issues, made a grand re-entrance, grabbing eight passes for 154 yards, and for the second straight game, running back Jake Sharp eclipsed 100 yards rushing, finishing with 16 carries for 104 yards and three total touchdowns.

Still, the final offensive numbers came as a shock to Briscoe.

“We left a lot of points on the field,” he said “But for us to have a bad day on offense and still score 34 points, I feel like we still did all right.”

The night belonged to the defense, however, a group that now has held consecutive opponents to seven points or fewer.

Not to be overly dramatic, but the last time the Jayhawks managed that was 2007, when they finished 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl.

“That’s one of the things I like about our defense,” Mangino said. “We give you a lot of different looks, even a lot of different personnel looks. I think Clint Bowen and the defensive guys did a great job of getting the right personnel groupings in all night long.”


Dirk Medema 10 years, 8 months ago

I saw an article last week talking about mizzoo using 3 DE's & 1 DT against UofI - called it the "scorpion". What do you call using 4 DE's?

Does anyone ever get/post a stat for number of plays per player? It seemed like KU has been rotating a lot of personnel on both lines.

kugrad2009 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm glad you headlined the 75-yard touchdown slip-up as the head of this story. There really isn't a whole lot to take from a game like this other than stuff like that. Yeah, KU won, they were supposed to, but stuff like this what the coaches will be railing the players about all week in practice.

A good article about what was probably a boring game to sit through. No offense here to anyone, but sitting in El Paso on a Saturday night watching KU beat a team that hasn't won a big game in the last decade, it's probably hard to find anything to take from this.

That said, K-State fans probably thought the same thing about going on the road to play against the team the movie "The Waterboy" was based off of.

Kevin Long 10 years, 8 months ago

It was a good win on the road. It was kinda a weird game, a lot of flags, but a win on the road is good. They still have a few things to work on though. What the hell is up with the high snaps from center???? Come on get it right! The games only get harder from here.

Kent Wells 10 years, 8 months ago

Great road test and great for confidence. In the B.M. (Before Mangino) days, we would have lost to Louisiana Lafayette (hummm, maybe Snyder should put a cupcake on the schedule to beat up on. D'oh!!! KSUck losing to the Waterboy team has had my lauging all night. I guess Bobby Bucher lost his eligibility? I bet Snyder stayed up late last night watching the crawl on ESPN looking for teams that he never heard of that got their asses pounded to schedule. Elon?). So, beating up on UTEP is pretty awesome. I wouldn't take anything away from pitching a shutout up until the final quarter, on the road.

I'm glad the 75 yarder happened. Fuel to improve. Who can predict a shutout next week against dook? Well, not so fast. The game might get out of hand and backups to the backups might be playing in the 4th...

It looked like Reesing played a little to seriously like he wanted this win pretty bad. It is something that the offense had a lousy game and still got 34 and 576. Dont worry, by the time the XII starts and Colorado the game gets here, they will have this thing dialed in. Wait, maybe the Colorado (Wonder if there is a coach wanting to rethink that 10 win crack this morning????) game isn't the next road game. How about Texas Tech? Is it just me, or is this schedule looking good all of a sudden??? OU gets Bradford back in time for Texas and then they beat him up again. Sorry, but KU is no Idaho State. If things fall in place, they could have a pretty awesome record by the time they hop on the plane for Austin....

Have to wait another week to see them play... Who can remember being excited about KU vs. Duke playing in something other than hoops. Unfreakinbelievable!

Thank you Coach Mangino!!!


NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Not to be negative or anything about a 34-7 road win against a less than par team, but I think both offense and defense have a lot of room for improvement. Of course, that's what these first four games are for I guess for a team of our caliber. It gives us a chance to polish some things off before the big games start. Did anyone watch the USC/OSU game last night? Those two teams would pound us right now. Not that we can't get there this year, but right now they (USC especially) just looks way far ahead than anyone. If you don't like my comments, sorry. But I think most football fans would agree that we are not at that same level of competition as those two teams are. Something to work for as the season progresses! Let's go Hawks!

Kevin Long 10 years, 8 months ago

I agree that KU needs some improvement, but I don't think OSU would pound us. USC maybe.

Jeff Kilgore 10 years, 8 months ago

I don't agree that either team would pound us. I believe that we would present both teams problems that they hadn't seen before. Reesing, on a bad day, is a much better passer than Pryor and makes much better decisions. I am very heartened by the defense--not just the effort but the results. We're getting penetration with the faster linemen, and it's exciting as well as effective because it puts less pressure on the backfield. I like the speed on D.

Rick Arnoldy 10 years, 8 months ago

Can we drop the facade of "football bowl series" and "football championship series" NCAA marketing crap designed to make us forget that a playoff is the real way to pick a champion? They are Div I and Div II.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 8 months ago

You can't have it both ways.

UNC was an FCS team, they had 3 wins in 3 years, and nobody is impressed and we beat them soundly.

UTEP has a veteran coach, an FBS team, veteran playmakers at QB and WR, they had 400 plus yards vs Texas last year, and we whipped them at their place.

it's a GOOD win...and impressive.'s the kicker, and Moo fans and kitty fans need to listen up....we can play quite a bit better. the offense had bad snaps, dropped balls...Reesing threw poorly on several throws, forced it into coverage when he had time to throw...and on and on.

Folks, we have a good football team. how good (very good, great, or stay at good) is still in question....but truly, it's basically unlimited. we have a great mix of talent and experience...and it's starting to come through.

Now it's the Dukies....wouldn't it be fun just to maul them for our basketball brethren. Duke isn't bad though, they won at Army yesterday. Go Jayhawks!

waywardJay 10 years, 8 months ago

MV... duke beat Army on essentially back to bck pick 6's..... it didn't seal the game but made it incredibly difficult..... I'm pretty sure Reesing will see film of Number 7 and keep a good eye on him.

Wellsy - Unintentional comedy scale of using the Initials BM To describe the Pre- mangino Era Jayhawks...... that was about a 8 of 10.... I'm still chuckling.

I totally agree... that late meaningless touchdown is goin g to be replaying in their mind all week.... I would not expect us to give up that many points next week, if any at all..... I'm glad Todd had a non-conference Texas road Game to get his feet settling on Lone Star soil, I think that also will pay dividends for us in the very near future.

As for the Schedule Looking good..... If everything is how it should be, the schedule should get easier and easier from this point on.... WE play with confidence and beat duke.... WE should have the confidence to steamroll SMU.... etc....etc....etc.... Football's a funy game sometimes, Even the slightest afterthought can alter events immeasurably.

How's Hawkinson, they said he went down on the last play...any news ?

DoubleDD 10 years, 8 months ago

I think the point here is that KU has reached a point where it doesn't have to be perfect to win a game. Now mind you perfection is what they should strive for. However as fans we should be feeling pretty tall today. Our team went on the "ROAD" and beatup a UTEP team that is a pretty good offensive team and didn't even play our best game. This is what the big dogs have that most don't, the ability just to turn it on when it counts. At the beginning of the year my feeling was KU had a shot to win the Big 12 North. After watching this KU defense I can't help feel the skies the limit. Beating Texas in Texas isn't unthinkable. Its hard to do much on offense if your QB is running for his life.

BigD 10 years, 8 months ago

Solid win on the road. Plenty to work on but it's encouraging to see the defense dominate a big yardage offense. To beat Texas we'll have to be playing our best game and hope they mis-fire a bit. Same goes for Oklahoma. Not sure what to think about Tech yet. We will need to have a good game against Nebraska and Missouri. As for next weekend, Duke may have a couple of good players but Army is an awful team. Southern Miss will probably be tougher than Duke.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 8 months ago

Living in St.Louis all KU broadcasts are scrambled as they transnit over Columbia.....only kidding, well, maybe not totally kidding.

Anyway, didn't get to see the game but with the score 34-0 nearing the end of the game, is it just possible that the second and third string defenses were on the field for the touchdown and this becomes a case of finding a stick to beat the over-confidence out of the Hawks???

Based on the season so far..barring major injuries, a head coach heart attack and alien abduction of the receiving corp, anything less than a double digit victory total, a North Div title and a BSC Bowl will be a disappointment.!!

Am I being too demanding???????

Dirk Medema 10 years, 8 months ago

Oakville - Sorry, but it was in fact 3 starters that missed tackles on the 75 yarder.

That being said, we held a top '08 O well below last year's average. Still not sure how much of that average is based on playing in C-USA, but it is good to get the win - in dominant fashion, on the road.


Brett Gaul 10 years, 8 months ago

The best part of the game last night, other than the W, was the white pants we were wearing. Get rid of those ugly gray pants and stick with the white.

KURocksChalk 10 years, 8 months ago

I think we have a solid team when the offense is stuggling and the defense and special teams can come through. If we can be respectable every game in all categories we will win a lot of games and probably the North. I should think that if no segment of the game is poor and some segments are on occassion great, we will in fact win the North and play the title game where hopefully it would all come together. We have the talent and the experience. I worry a little about Todd going to Briscoe too much. Maybe that was to get him back mentally and emotionally...I don't know. But, he did have a few drops.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 8 months ago

I look at it this way. UTEP would kick the crap out of Northern Colorado, and I thought we played a much better game against the Miners. Some pretty smart coaches have said your biggest improvement should come between games 1 and 2, and WOW did that happen! The offense was better but did leave a lot of points on the field, but the defense was markedly better. This should bode well for the upcoming schedule. Southern Miss looks like the best non-conference opponents, but if we can handle them, ISU, KSU and CU all look awfully beatable. This could be a pretty good year. And as someone who went to school for a four year period where the football team went 8-35-1, it's all pretty special!!! As they say in Mom and Dad Save the World...IN TODD WE TRUST!!!

kvskubball 10 years, 8 months ago

Where's the Rivethead????

He seemed to think I was crazy for saying that KU would score 'only' 34 points against UTEP.

Hey Rivet, how many points did we score against UTEP?

I will freely admit that our defense played much better, and/or UTEP's offense played worse than I thought they would.

We played well on both sides of the ball, after we quit spinning our tires, but that is likely to happen in the first away game, and only the second game of the season. And a few scoring opportunities were missed, but that will always happen unless you have a perfect game.

I thought the right side of our O-Line folded really easily a couple of times, but especially in the second half, Todd usually had enough time to throw the ball, not always, but often.

We got enough pressure from our 4 D-linemen to make UTEP's QB uncomfortable much of the night.

Well done team! You played a lot better first road game this year, than you did last year! Except for one play on both sides of the ball, pretty solid throughout.

UTEP's passing game never got untracked, mostly due to our D-Line pressure, so I hope our D secondary is learning quickly, but I think we'll find out more against Duke.

Well Done Hawks! Now lets go stick the BlueDevils with their own pitchfork!

Rock Chalk!

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