Saturday, September 2, 2000

KU loses football opener to SMU


As if battling the Texas-style heat wasn't enough, the KU Football team had to contend with a fired up Southern Methodist University football team eager to avenge last year's loss to the Jayhawks.

The Mustangs struck right out of the gate, scoring 24 points in the opening frame. The last team to do so was Nebraska. By the time it was over, the final score read SMU 31, Kansas 17.

Whether it was the heat, or nerves at opening on the road, KU suffered a series of miscues in the opening half. The numerous dropped passes were bad enough, but problems in the kicking game proved the most fatal. Punter Joey Pelfanio dropped one punt, and had the snap from another sail over his head. Both led to SMU scores.

After the first quarter drew to an end, the Jayhawk defense settled down, and held the Mustangs to just one more touchdown in the second quarter. SMU failed to score in the entire second half.

While KU's defense eked out a decent effort, the offense had its struggles. Quarterback Dylen Smith had to sit out a few second half series to receive fluid. Back-up Zach Dyer proved mostly ineffectual, completing just one of four passes for three yards.

Smith's return signaled a resurgance in the Jayhawk offense, but proved the proverbial "too little, too late" as the 'Hawks missed a crucial scoring chance early in the fourth quarter, and managed just one late touchdown near game's end.

It will be a long ride back from Dallas, and a longer two weeks' preparation for September 16th's home opener against UAB.

If there is any optomism to be found, it is in the knowledge that KU rebounded quite well to last year's drubbing at the hands of San Diego State, and went on to play with a great deal more fire.

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