Apparently all Kansas University's football team needed to record its first Big 12 victory of the season was a familiar foe.
For the third-straight year, the Jayhawks defeated their rival Missouri Tigers 13-3 Saturday in front of a crowd of nearly 50,000 at Memorial Stadium.
"It's a great day to be a Jayhawk," KU coach Mark Mangino said afterwards. "It was a great day here at Memorial Stadium, another win over our border rival."
KU's strong ground game Saturday combined with another stellar effort from the Jayhawk defense helped Kansas improve its overall record to 4-4 with three games remaining.
MU standout quarterback Brad Smith again struggled against KU's aggessive defense.
"If you contain No. 16, then there's going to be a lot of decision-making, weighing on his shoulders," said KU lineman Charlton Keith. "He's the key to (Missouri's) offense."
Smith, who became the first player in NCAA Div. I-A history to rush and pass for 230 yards last week when he tallied 480 total offensive yards, was limited to just 38 yards rushing on 20 carries and 141 yards via the air on 14-of-37 passing.
"We only got three points," MU coach Gary Pinkel said of Kansas' defense. "You have to give them credit for that."
Meanwhile KU's Clark Green and Jon Cornish each found the end zone on the ground and helped KU grind out 208 rushing yards on 49 carries.
"The effective running game was able to chew up the clock and give the defense a rest," Mangino said of the Jayhawks, who rushed for
KU's Jon Cornish provided the exclamation point on the afternoon when he gave KU a 13-3 lead with 12:59 in the fourth when he squirted in from 10 yards out.
Cornish's score was set up when KU cornerback Aqib Talib stole and errant pitch from Smith, giving the Jayhawks the ball in MU territory.
"He kind of pitched it and dude didn't catch it," said Talib, of MU wide out Brad Ekwerekwu who was supposed to get the pitch.
Clark Green gave the Jayhawks their first rushing touchdown, bowling in from a yard out with 6:05 to go in the first half.
"Clark Green was very impressive," Mangino said. "He ran well with his head down and got some good runs."
For the second straight year, Green had a big performance against Missouri, rushing for 125 yards on 22 carries. Last year the senior accounted for more than 140 total offensive yards.
"The rivalry means a lot to me," Green said. "I'm not from here, but listening to the stories, you don't want Missouri to beat you. We try and play our heart out every game, but especially against Missouri."
From there the defense took care of the rest.
Kansas limited Missouri to just 2.6 yards per play. The Tigers, which hurt themselves with nine penalties for 92 yards, converted only four of 17 third downs Saturday.
"I've had the good fortune of being with some really good programs that had great defenses," Mangino said. "Until today, I had never been around a defensive unit that executed their game play exactly the way that we set it up.
"It was nearly flawless. The strategy that was put together by our coaches and the way our kids carried that strategy out was extremely impressive. I can't say enough about our defensive unit and all the coaches that got the kids ready."