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Kansas defeats Southern Mississippi, 35-28

  • 11 a.m., Sept. 26, 2009
  • Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Good to the last stop

Defensive stands preserve victory

Kansas linebacker Drew Dudley celebrates a Jayhawk stop during the fourth quarter, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas linebacker Drew Dudley celebrates a Jayhawk stop during the fourth quarter, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 at Kivisto Field.

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Reader poll

Who was KU's MVP against Southern Miss?

  • Todd Reesing (331 yards, 3 TDs) 14% 153 votes
  • Toben Opurum (109 rushing yards, two total TDs) 21% 226 votes
  • Kerry Meier (10 catches, 141 yards, 2 TDs) 42% 437 votes
  • Chris Harris (15 tackles, two tackles-for-loss) 8% 92 votes
  • Jake Laptad (sack at end of game) 5% 62 votes
  • Ryan Murphy (interception) 5% 53 votes
  • Other 1% 13 votes

1036 total votes.

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Kansas 35, Southern Miss 28

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Kansas football used some strong defense late and high-powered offense throughout to top Southern Mississippi and finish its non-conference slate undefeated.

Mark Mangino was standing behind a podium Saturday, and he was talking about his defense, and he was doing this in a rather un-Mangino-like fashion.

He was using words like “phenomenal” and “stellar,” and this was a bit odd, because, well, these are not the kinds of words Kansas University’s eighth-year football coach typically chooses to use in describing any part of his football team. They are not, for instance, “work in progress” or “unfinished product” — popular Mangino phrases that hint at some sort of untapped potential or ongoing struggle toward proficiency.

The kindly adjectives seemed applicable enough, however, following a performance in which the team’s defense — with the usually dependable offense unable to convert late — overcame a slow start to register four straight fourth-quarter stands and help the Jayhawks hold on for a 35-28 victory Saturday over the previously unbeaten Golden Eagles.

“They just stayed with it and stayed with it and got beat on plays, but never got discouraged, never got down, had faith in themselves and their coaches,” Mangino said. “And it turned out they played a phenomenal fourth quarter.”

Nowhere was this more evident than on the Golden Eagles’ final drive.

Following a stalled Kansas series and subsequent punt, Southern Miss. took over on its own 33-yard line with 1:53 remaining and a chance — with a score and two-point conversion — to return to Hattiesburg, Miss., with a signature victory and 4-0 start.

For Kansas, this wasn’t exactly a gimme situation. Even without running back Tory Harrison, who left the game in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury, the Golden Eagles had rolled up 363 yards and 28 points through three quarters, at times exposing a Kansas pass defense that had spent the season’s first three weeks beating up on clearly overmatched opponents.

When it mattered most, however, the Jayhawks clamped down.

Southern Mississippi’s first two plays resulted in just three yards. A third-down sack by defensive end Jake Laptad — the Jayhawks’ only sack of the game — set up a fourth-and-15 situation, meanwhile, and USM quarterback Austin Davis’ next pass fell harmlessly incomplete to propel the Jayhawks to their own 4-0 start for only the second time since 1995.

“You talk about needing every guy on the team for all four quarters to win the game, and that’s what today was,” said KU quarterback Todd Reesing, who completed 30 of 41 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns and surpassed former Texas standout Vince Young for seventh on the Big 12’s all-time total-offense list. “It took everybody out there playing hard from the first snap to the last snap to win the game, and the defense came up huge at the end.”

While it was the team’s final stand that ultimately secured victory, however, it was the defense’s collection of fourth-quarter work that provoked Mangino’s liberal use of complimentary adjectives.

Kansas’ young defensive unit hung tough on all four of its fourth-quarter appearances, giving up just 32 yards of total offense in the final 15 minutes while not allowing Southern Miss. to advance pass its own 43-yard line.

On their first drive of the quarter, trailing 35-28, the Golden Eagles worked their way to their own 43 before KU defensive back and former Free State standout Ryan Murphy intercepted a pass from USM’s Davis.

Murphy came up big again on the Golden Eagles’ next possession, wrapping up USM running back Leroy Banks after a one-yard gain on third-and-three to force a punt.

And on the Golden Eagles’ next series, Kansas forced three consecutive incomplete passes before Southern Miss. punted for the final time.

“When you get down to the end of the game, you’ve got to have guts,” said Laptad, who has been in on a sack in each of the team’s first four games. “You’ve got to stop them ... and each player needs to play like they’re the (guy) that needs to make the play.”

Still, Saturday’s game was far from perfect. Kansas’ running game, which entered the weekend ranked second in the conference and piled up 92 first-half yards Saturday, managed just 10 yards in the second half. The Jayhawks turned the ball over nearly as many times (two) as they had in their previous three games combined (three), while it’s worth mentioning, too, that the team’s defense began trulyt o click late in the game, when, in addition to Harrison, fellow USM standouts Darion Fletcher and receiver DeAndre Brown also were forced to the sideline, dealing with bumps and bruises of their own.

Given all that, however, there was a certain sense of excitement in the aftermath of Saturday’s victory.

The team had entered the season with four nonconference games on its schedule, after all, and had found a way to win each of them — something that can’t be said for many of the nation’s top teams so far this young season.

“There are a lot of people out there that are getting upset, all over the nation,” Reesing said. “They’ve got some high rankings, and they’re not holding true to them. So I think a win, at this point in college football, is as high as it gets.”

And minor issues aside, Mangino appears to be heading into his team’s bye week pleased with the current state of affairs — particularly, a defense that had undergone its first true test of the season and emerged unscathed.

“I thought we took a big step today in becoming a mature defense,” Mangino said. “We have some work to do, but I think it was a big step.”

Comments

grandpa 4 years, 6 months ago

All the critiques are nice. It would be helpful if some of you had talked to someof the KU players after the game. We went into this game knowing the Miss team was pretty good but I will tell you that after the game, our KU boys will tell you that they were much bigger and stronger than we thought. Also, their defensive backs did a good job covering. Potts at Texas Tech and Colt McCoy are doing a good job of firing the ball quickly to their receivers. Todd has got to improve on that. He will and KU is going to win the North.

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Dyrk Dugan 4 years, 6 months ago

you guys talking about the fans....you haven't been to too many games have you? good grief, it was pretty loud in my section....you guys must sit on the top row or something.

i have been there when there is NOTHING to cheer about....and still did plenty of yelling. i have been there when there is 25,000 in the stands...and there is little noise no matter what happens. get some perspective out there.

do you guys not think it was loud in 2004 when we ended the losing streak vs KSU? do you think it wasn't loud when we clobbered NU for the first time in two decades in 2005? give me a break.

it's USM....andthose drives in the 4th quarter were affected...our D rose up, and they had a couple of false starts. you can't give an almost failing grade to the fans, after a close WIN!

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Rivethead 4 years, 6 months ago

Our fans are weak. Period. You want to see real football fans? Watch the replays of the VT/Miami and Iowa/Penn State games.

Those are football fans.

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gardenjay 4 years, 6 months ago

It was a hard week for fans, let's face it. Most of the run-up to the game was infamous and known way outside KU circles, even near arctic circles :)

I feel like it affected our F-ball spirit, so much a part of college F-ball. You talk about the 12th man, the 12th man may have come with some baggage to the game in the F-ball players' psyche.

That said, I think the bye week turned out to be excellent timing, because LJW will surely have run out of brawl material by this coming weekend....(...surely.....)

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Jerry Rockhold 4 years, 6 months ago

We've got to get more disciplined & cut down on the penalties. We also have got to get better play from our secondary. Someone has to teach them to turn & find the ball when it's in the air. If we don't improve in these areas, not only will we get rolled in Big 12 play by the better South teams, but winning the North may be in jeopardy as well.

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easyfive 4 years, 6 months ago

I think we are coming long just fine!
Yes, i think we looked like the "Bad news Bears", at the start of the season. And the guys are looking a lot better now. Only time will tell... SMU was a good team.

What really gets under my skin, is that Mark neutered Sparky. Why would Mark change the way Todd plays his game?
Why can't he love him the way he is, or was. Making him a pocket passer and not running, makes Todd's stock go way down. I had him up there with the best QBs that ever played the game. Now he is just a regular QB.
I want the old Todd back, he was fun to watch. When you screw with QB you can change the whole team.
If the ole Todd got to play, he could have hung 76 on SMU.

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that_guy 4 years, 6 months ago

I would love for the folks on the west side of the stadium to make some noise. (If you happen to sit on the west side of the stadium and make noise sometime other than 3rd or 4th down this does not apply to you) I feel like people treat the football games like a basketball game. Get loud only on occasion, unless it's the student section. Real wine and cheese crowd.

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that_guy 4 years, 6 months ago

KURocksChalk...please calm down. Put down the kool-aid and relax. In what way does MU look better than us? Maybe it was the 15 yards through three quarters they put up against a terrible Nevada team. NU is about what I think most expected to this point. You talk about "gosh KSU is so loud, their qb has to silence the crowd." How on earth do you justify this as a good thing? IMO that shows football ignorance. When your O is setting up for a play, you stay quiet. Cheer for the gains, but then silent for the cadence.

I think the part I love the most is your concern that the crowd will be their "usual weak-kneed self" for NU and OU. Have you been to an NU game during any of their last 4 visits? Every time the crowd grows more KU populated. The crowd will show up, and it will be loud and supportive. I certainly hope you can be there to witness.

I would just love to hear your theory on why there is "a run of losses coming real soon." Really?

As for Bball ads, I don't recall one for the men's team, and I don't recall anyone sitting near me making any comment. It's usually been my contention that we're there to watch football, and we'll worry about basketball when the time comes.

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ajs10 4 years, 6 months ago

Come on KURocksChalk, MU had to come from behind to beat Bowling Green and barely escaped Nevada with a win, who knows what would have happened if Nevada wouldn't have fumbled away a TD late in the game. They don't deserve anything yet.TTech has 2 losses...we are 4-0, its a good start so far.

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Kevin Long 4 years, 6 months ago

What is it going to take to get people into the game? It' not like this is the first year the team has been good. You would think winning the Orange bowl and another bowl win last year would be enough, but maybe it will take winning a national title. At least people are coming to the games now.

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David Davison 4 years, 6 months ago

I was at the game, and I'm certain I saw both a Mens BBall and a Womens ad on the big screen. But I didn't really notice any awkward reaction.

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KURocksChalk 4 years, 6 months ago

I am concerned. I am concerned that unless KU fans starting being more supportive, statying through the games, being loud, that we forfeit the so-called 12th man. It can make a difference. Gosh, KSU is so loud even their own QBs have to quiet the crowd on occassion. We have two huge games at home with OU and NU and I will be deeply disappointed if we lose close games and the home crowd is its usual weak-kneed self.

I am concerned with what should be a dominating offense getting stymied way too frequently. We had almost 200 yards at the end of the first quarter and I thought, my goodness, we are going to hit at least 600 yards. We didn't even get 500. This offense is falling way short of its potential and therefore I don't think we will win in shoot-outs in the conference.

I am concerned that OU, Texas, and MU all have had dominating blowouts of their opponents but we have not. Sometimes it seems we are just barely winning.

Question is: Are we just another 9-5 team? Are the coaches holding back, hoping to catch some people off guard? I sure hope so because I see a run of losses coming real soon.

KSU had two kick returns for tds yesterday. They are starting to gel. NU is looking better than us, MU is looking better than us, OU, Texas, and TTech also all look better. Scary. I would hate to see Meier, Reesing, and Sharps careers end with unrealized promise.

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knayte 4 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, it's true. We're just not good at being football fans quite yet. I thought the crowd was louder for USM than the previous two games, but still not really intense unless it was third down. What do you expect after decades of mediocrity? It'll take many more successful seasons before the Memorial Stadium crowd can give us the same home field advantage we get at Allen.

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MrPilot 4 years, 6 months ago

"kansaspike (anonymous) says... Is it just me...or was our d actually awful? Report facts"

"beebe1 (anonymous) says... Mangino was terribly liberal with his adjectives at the end. Overall, they were 'adequate' to win, and the 4th qtr was good."

Because you guys are SO much more qualified to critique the team than our head football coach. What does he know, anyways?

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jayhawker_97 4 years, 6 months ago

the brawl did help. the team got pumped up even more. great! now, let's hope the same for the basketball team! go hawks!

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John Liddell 4 years, 6 months ago

Yes Ralster, it was women's bball season tickets

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JAYHAWK_JIM 4 years, 6 months ago

I't seems to me the student sections is always loud during the game but the rest of the stadium only gets loud when it is 3rd down or 4th down.

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Joseph Kuebel 4 years, 6 months ago

jayhawkboogeyman- The intensity was good at times, but it was almost like there was a sense that KU was sure to win and we were just wasting our time watching a capable USM offense drive for possible tying scores.

Thats exactly how it sounded on TV...

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johnsont1 4 years, 6 months ago

jayhawkboogeyman - i envy you.

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Osagehawk 4 years, 6 months ago

I agree with the above on the crowd. A D grade is generous. I've been a Jayhawk fan for almost 50 years and we still haven't fiqured out how to be football fans. At the most critical parts of the game you could almost here the coaches on the opposite sidelines yell out to the players on the field. I don't know what it's going to take for us to really get into a game when it isn't necessarily a rival, but it's got to get better for us to have a true home field advantage.

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Randy Maxwell 4 years, 6 months ago

A D grade for the fans is actually being kind. The defense was great in the 4th quarter while the offrense was horrible in the 2nd half. Given two great kick off returns and one inter ception they should have put this game away but they didn't. they forced the defense to make 4 straight stops when leading by only 7

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troutsee 4 years, 6 months ago

I was in attendance yesterday, yelling my head off as usual with those around me looking at me as though I was possessed. My impression of the KU crowd.....gentlemen through and through.....afraid to yell for fear it will draw attention to themselves.....not aware of the 12th man advantage that the crowd can bring....no spontaneity. For the game yesterday, I give the fans a D for enthusiasm.

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KUFan90 4 years, 6 months ago

Good work bogeyman. I thought the crowd came across pretty loud on TV when SMU was faced with 3rd and 4th downs there in the 4th quarter.

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beebe1 4 years, 6 months ago

Mangino was terribly liberal with his adjectives at the end. Overall, they were 'adequate' to win, and the 4th qtr was good.

We have some very good players; Murphy was one of them. But there were times when he was not taught what to do. Case in point: So Miss ran 2 receivers across the field under the defenders. Murphy picked up his man at the right edge; the other defender at the left edge. When they crossed each other, Murphy didn't know what to do -- do I cover my man?do I protect my area? do I switch with the other defender? The other defender switched. By the time Murphy realized it, he was 3 steps behind the receiver. He caught the pass and was ultimately tackled 10-12 yards further down the field. They scored shortly after.

Murphy was not at fault. Had they stopped the reception we might have won by 14 instead of 7.

I think the defensive line was up to the level of spectacular. But I'm afraid the secondary is protecting a territory, not 'covering' a receiver! That doesn't seem to work very well. And I can't tell whether anyone is keeping track of all the eligible receivers.

A tremendous mistake was made by the coach of Purdue last night. They were up 3 points, but he had his secondary 'keeping the action in front of them'. (Damn poor application of the Prevent.) That gave them 10-12 yards every down. Notre Dame got to the 3 yd line with 2 downs to go, and the Purdue coach called a time out! Everyone in the stadium knew they had to spike the ball and score in one shot! No time left in the game. They scored on the second shot. Game over.

I hope our coaches aren't making those kinds of mistake!

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jayhawkboogeyman 4 years, 6 months ago

I don't think there was a men's basketball ad. There was a women's basketball ad, to which I responded "Who cares about that _ _ _ right now; it's the fourth quarter of a tied ball game, and we need a defensive stop, it's a 30 second time out, we should not all be sitting down trying to copy down the website to order women's basketball tickets." That is a cleaned up revision of what I actually yelled at that juncture, but you get the idea. I understand KU has to make money and get the ads in, but that doesn't mean the crowd needs to listen. Also, the part of the game where a 5 year old girl stands in the end zone and dances to wind a pizza or something just doesn't have the same appeal when she is on the field while the opposing team is lining up to score a tying touchdown. As for the crowd, I was shocked that the north horseshoe seemed about 1/3 empty most of the second half, and maybe 1/4 of the students took off after we got the 35-28 lead with 14 minutes left. The intensity was good at times, but it was almost like there was a sense that KU was sure to win and we were just wasting our time watching a capable USM offense drive for possible tying scores. There also seemed to be complete disinterest when our offense had the ball and failed to punch in a winning touchdown throughout the fourth quarter. I really hope our entire fanbase gets more charged up and engaged in the games for the next 3 home games. The first two were pretty boring, but this game was tense and tight, and there was a strange feeling of entitlement or something I was getting from the crowd. I was yelling until I couldn't talk, though, so at least I did my part.

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Tony Bandle 4 years, 6 months ago

to the SoMiss poster lowdowndog

Props to you and your team, The Eagles are pretty darn good and should win a lot of games this year. In retrospect, later this year, this victory will look better and better for the Hawks!!

WOW!!!! I think six teams above us in the rankings lost. This could be a nice "bye week".

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Cody Stumma 4 years, 6 months ago

ralster,

I don't remember there being an video ad for Men's Basketball. But there was a video for Women's Basketball Season Tickets...

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Christopher Hauser 4 years, 6 months ago

ralster- I watched the game on tv and it didn't seem like there was much of a response form the crowd the whole game, maybe it was just how the microphones were set up but it sounded like a pretty quiet crowd. I hope this was not the case.

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Kevin Long 4 years, 6 months ago

I knew Southern Miss would be a very tough challenge. I was just hoping to win that game when I saw it on the schedule. They did what they needed to win. The defense is pretty week though. I think they will end up about the same as last year, maybe one game better. I would be real happy with a Holiday bowl or Cotton, something like that. Winning the north looks to be a little more than this team can handle.

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Ralster Jayhawk 4 years, 6 months ago

I was at the game. Nice 4th qtr. by the defense. One other observation: Did anyone else who went notice the brief 10sec video ad for Mens Basketball (offerring season tickets)--and that there was NO response from the crowd? I dont get to many KU football games, so I dont know if that is the norm? Or was it uneasy quietness because of recent Ftball vs. Bsktball issue? Being KU alumnus, I do appreciate all the respect the football team gets (perhaps at that moment?), but couldnt help but wondering if the crowd did not want to cheer Self's group in the middle of Mangino's game...

Being a longtime basketball fan, I am truly thrilled as well with what Mangino has done with KU Football. I never watched college football in general because I felt the NFL had better developed talent, but now I love seeing KU win. And Im tired of watching the Chiefs lose (only watched 2-3 games of KC last 2 seasons, none so far this year). Going to be hard to replace Reesing & Co....

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Martini_Boy 4 years, 6 months ago

Don't discount the penalties. This game was controlled by penalties. They killed at least two of our drives. And the call reversal was a killer on the long catch. All in all I'd us about a c- in the penalty department, and the ref's I'd give a D to because they seem to be seeing everything we did and not so much on what usm did.

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Christopher Hauser 4 years, 6 months ago

A W is a W is a W. Ugly win but we didn't catch the upset bug like so many other teams in the Nation have in the last couple of weeks. We may not be as good at this juncture as we hoped we would be, but neither are the rest of the teams in the nation for the most part.

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Dirk Medema 4 years, 6 months ago

KP - Thru 3 qrtrs, yes (100 ypq), but 32 yds in the 4th is awesome, and that is what the story is really about. Besides, most pregame predictions had both teams scoring lots, because both O's are very capable. In the end, we had just a bit more D coming thru when the O was absent.

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kansaspike 4 years, 6 months ago

Is it just me...or was our d actually awful? Report facts

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