Sunday, September 13, 2009

Miners: KU unstoppable

With a backdrop of the Franklin Mountains, Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing (5) drops back to pass against the UTEP defense. Reesing threw for 260 yards in the Jayhawks’ 34-7 victory Saturday in El Paso, Texas.

With a backdrop of the Franklin Mountains, Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing (5) drops back to pass against the UTEP defense. Reesing threw for 260 yards in the Jayhawks’ 34-7 victory 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.

— UTEP coach Mike Price stood calmly in the postgame news conference, his message much like a famous rant from former Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green.

The basic gist of it — similar to Green’s tirade after a 2006 loss to the Chicago Bears in which the Cardinals blew a 20-point lead — was this: Kansas was who the Miners thought they were.

“Pretty much what we expected is what we saw,” Price said after his team’s 34-7 loss to KU on Saturday at the Sun Bowl. “We just couldn’t stop it.”

UTEP’s biggest issues were on the offensive line. The Miners surrendered six sacks to KU and had just seven total first downs —their lowest total since having seven first downs against SMU in 2001.

“What surprised us, I think, is that they were so good,” Price said. “Nothing that they did that I recall was anything new that we hadn’t seen on tape or that we weren’t prepared for. So we knew what they were going to do. They were just in a four-man rush, they played a lot of cover-2 and cover-4 — just straight coverages, pretty basic — and they just did it real good.”

UTEP’s seven points were the fewest in a game during Price’s six-year tenure.

“They have four guys, and they’re real guys,” Price said of KU’s defensive linemen. “They came, and they twisted, and they did the things that they did before, and we couldn’t hold up to it.”

UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe threw for just 187 yards, the third-lowest total of his 26-game career. He finished 14-for-25 with a touchdown and an interception.

“They really caught us off-guard,” Vittatoe said. “I wasn’t expecting that. We tried a lot of different things, and we failed at a lot of them.

“I don’t know if it was execution on our side or if it was them just beating us the way that they did.”

UTEP mustered just 208 yards of total offense. It was just the third time in the last 30 games that the Miners had been held under 300 yards.

It didn’t help that UTEP’s offense often was moving in reverse. A week after committing 12 penalties for 101 yards against Buffalo, the Miners had 13 flags for 137 yards against KU.

“Our penalties weren’t from knocking (KU) on their butts,” Price said. “They knocked us on our butt.”

Price admitted that many of his players were beat-up after the game.

“We have a lot of bad sores and headaches and pulled muscles and stuff,” Price said. “That was a physical game. They out-physicaled us.”


tstanlick1909 10 years, 8 months ago

Listen: The plan was that we go 6-0 and our pivotal game is against OU, right? That was sort of what everyone was saying when the schedule just came out. Well our team looks better than we thought, IMO. Reesing is all there, our running game is a lot better than i thought it would be. Briscoe is still all he was, nothing lost. Meier is still a stud.

The point is, with the injuries to Oklahoma, and the fact we're playing at home, our chances our looking nice. Very very happy about these first couple of games. I think a BCS bowl is very possible here. We could have a one-loss year which would be a fantastic season, to go along with a monumental basketball year.

Good time to be a hawk, Rock Chalk

Dirk Medema 10 years, 8 months ago

Price said, “That was a physical game. They out-physicaled us.”

That sure is nice to hear - and watch.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 8 months ago

1909 - Your enthusiasm is great, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Southern Miss should be a good game, and there is even one more tune-up before that. We still have to play them all, even if some of the question marks are being answered positively.

As for Reesing looking as good as ever, I was thinking he looked a bit nervous back there this year. Seemed maybe all the errant snaps were effecting him; giving him happy feet to start each play. Any other thoughts out there?

Ben Kliewer 10 years, 8 months ago

I wouldn't get too comfortable. Even though we looked good against Northern Colorado and UTEP, those are still Northern Colorado and UTEP. Granted, they're no St. Mary's School for the Blind, but they're also no OU (even with injuries) or Texas, or Nebraska, or TTech etc. "Our kids," as Mangino refers to them, are indeed looking good, no doubt. But we still have a lot of work to do before the Sooners visit, or we go to two games in the Lone Star State. There was still some sloppy play out there, but nothing we can't fix before conference. Of course, we have Duke to trounce on and work out some kinks, and Southern Miss may provide some more resistance than the first three teams giving us a little stretch before conference play starts. So, yes, I agree that we are looking good, and our chances against the rest of the conference are improving every day, but don't get too comfortable. I resist the urge to claim BCS bowls and such just yet. Don't want to jinx it, you know? P.S. I think it's hilarious how Colorado claimed "10 wins, no excuses" in the preseason. Mathematically they could still do it...but after losing to Toledo they don't show a whole lot of promise for taking on many teams in the Big 12. Although, I maintain they will have one upset surprise win at some point. Hopefully not against us.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Reesing was a bit off tonight. His accuracy just wasn't there, and he seemed to be trying to do just a tad too much with his feet. He looked like a machine against UNC; tonight, however, he wasn't quite his normal self. There were definitely some times when he tried to force some plays. Plus, there seemed to be some miscommunication between him and several of his receiving corps. Some of that might have to do with Briscoe finally being back in the rotation. They did seem to iron some of it out in the second half, as the offense started to click, but clearly there was a rhythm that wasn't totally on tonight.

That being said, there were a lot of very nice things in this game. The defense really looked stellar (aside from that one TD play). The line was attacking all night. Now, I will admit that UTEP didn't really look like they showed up, but I still give solid credit to the D. Even the secondary looked improved tonight.

The running game was mighty impressive, and if that keeps up, the passing game will really take off. All the hard work Sharp has put in is overwhelmingly evident, and Opurum definitely appears to be the real deal. Anyone else get super excited about seeing him run right over linebackers?? Plus he has a knack for finding the hole, which is a running-back instinct that really can't be taught.

Definitely pleased after games one and two. Still interested, however, to see what we look like against some better competition.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

By they way, forgot to mention:

Having Briscoe back in there is an absolute game changer for us. We are a different team with Dezmon on the field. It's not just another good player; his talent enhances every weapon we have.

Plus he's really freakin' good.

waywardJay 10 years, 8 months ago

I think it's good to get Todd's feet on Texas soil before Texas and Texas Tech.... give him a trial run through the Lone Star state before the Big shows..... Definetely look strong right now.....

UTEP is not a bad team, they were predicted by Some to do a few things, Too bad they had such tough to early games ( yes BUffalo is no Joke either )

578 yards rushing through 2 games.... and i expect to add at least another 250 next week... unless Duke tries to 8 man us in the box which would be akin to suicide. Definetely good news.

KGphoto 10 years, 8 months ago

The O-line needs gel. We should be running more until they get comfortable.

dagger: How did that legendary UTEP passing game look?

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I agree about Reesing looking a bit nervous, dagger. Something I have been wondering also since the beginning of the year (actually even before the season began) was how these star players are handling all the media they've been getting. I think there's more pressure on this group of seniors than probably any recent past group we've had. I mean all the articles & other media sources that build these guys up to be football superheros does nothing but put bigger expectations on them. In reality, they are not that much different than you or I and it takes a pretty special person to handle it all I think. Maybe I'm out there...I don't know. But I think as the team gets better through these first few games (hopefully) and they start coming together as a team and forget about all the crap that's in the media, the early jitters will go away and they'll just play their game. Our offense will definitely improve as the season 500+ yards in the second game and not looking impressive doing it may be a good sign, who knows.

troutsee 10 years, 8 months ago

Agree with the assessment of Reesings play. Out of rhythm, inaccurate (some of which might have been due to miscommunication), and not seeing open receivers. However, the bad snaps had to be distracting. He had the same sort of game against TT last year. He bounced back after that one and he'll bounce back this time too.

redlegger 10 years, 8 months ago

I would suspect that the high snaps and the swirling wind may have had some impact on Reesing's rhythm.

How about that high snap that caused the ball to go to the turf, where Reesing didn't miss a beat - chasing it down and getting off an amazing throw under presssure for positive yardage - unbelievable! Say what you want - nervous, rhythm off, whatever - Todd Reesing is a competitor of the highest caliber and a lot of fun to watch.

Robert Brock 10 years, 8 months ago

The offensive line has been truly impressive so far considering the incredible lack of experience. Remember how our o-line looked a year ago? Early on, KU could not hold its blocks, Reesing was constantly running for his life, and the ground game just didn't ever seem to be a viable option. KU was having trouble running against the likes of Florida International, Louisiana Tech, Sam Houston State, Iowa State. It took until the K State game in November to finally put it all together and consistently open up holes for 60 minutes.

It is encouraging that we are seeing results early on, even if it is against UTEP and No. Colorado. The line has come a long way and still has a ways to go, but hopefully things are beginning to click.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I agree, redlegger, that the high snaps undoubtedly hurt Reesing's rhythm. And I definitely don't think he played a bad game, just not up to his usual level.

That being said we still manhandled UTEP with 500+ yards when our best player wasn't on his game. That says a lot. Todd did have some very good plays in there too.

I do fully expect Reesing to have a monster game v. the Dukees. With Briscoe back and a game under his belt, the receiver/QB communications should be back to where they usually are. And there is no way Kerry drops passes like that again.

100 10 years, 8 months ago

One thing right now to prepare for: Duke

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