Saturday, October 27, 2007
Ryan Greene, Ryan Wood and Tom Keegan discuss how KU was able to get the best of Texas A&M the old-fashioned way - both stopping the run and moving the ball on the ground themselves.
Some thoughts...from College Station
Ryan Wood, Journal-World KU football beat writer
"Texas A&M had 74 yards on 27 attempts, precisely the reason Kansas ultimately won this football game.
This was a good matchup for the Jayhawks so long as they executed, because it's been a long time since they had a run defense that was a liability.
Because it's again a strength, Texas A&M was out of its element and Kansas improved to 8-0 as a result. This team just keeps on keepin' on."
Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor
"This team is all about deceiving players who perform better than they look at first glance.
Coach Mark Mangino, who fits that mold too, can see things other coaches can't see. In Brandon McAnderson, Mangino saw an athlete who in time could succeed carrying the ball against Big 12 defenses. Other Big 12 coaches saw an athlete too slow for this conference. Mangino doesn't wear glasses. His vision is just fine, especially when he's looking at a football player."
Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor
"At halftime, even with the score deadlocked at zilch, something had to tell you KU was carrying the better hand at its seat. That something was a huge fourth-and-one stop of the nation's best short-yardage back - Jorvorskie Lane - at the Jayhawks' nine-yard line.
Mark Mangino said after the game it was just a matter of time until his offense punched the ball in. He was right. And there had to be a sneaking suspicion for all Aggie fans that the fourth-and-one stuff was a telling sign of a second half which would bring struggle offensively only until the game was out of reach.
Who would have thought eight weeks ago that on Nov. 3 when they meet, the Jayhawks would be 8-0 (and probably a top-10 team in all polls) and the Huskers would be limping into Lawrence at 4-5? As a Cubs fan, I may as well point out that the last time KU was 8-0 - 1909 - the beloved Northsiders were defending World Series champs. Yes, it's been that long for both ballclubs."
Inside the numbers
74: Without question, the biggest number on the stat sheet was the 74 rushing yards Texas A&M was limited to. Behind the three-headed monster of Stephen McGee, Jorvorskie Lane and Mike Goodson, the Aggies had entered this game averaging a league-best 260.1 rushing yards per game. Something had to give, as KU was second in the conference, yielding just 78.0 a game. KU was the one who wound up crippling the other, not letting A&M run the option successfully all night and forcing McGee to beat them with his arm - which in the end, he just couldn't do.
183: On the other hand, no offensive number was more important to the Jayhawks than Brandon McAnderson's career-high 183 yards on the ground. He had four runs of 20 yards or longer, and passed the 100-yard mark for the third time as a senior. Jake Sharp spelled him successfully with 66 yards of his own, but the two have alternated the spotlight well this season - Tonight was just McAnderson's turn.
4: KU will finish with a .500-or-better Big 12 Conference record now for the first time since the league began play in 1996. This is also the first time KU has multiple wins against Big 12 South opponents in one season.
0: Something that helped KU stay ahead of the curve, even when the contest was tied at halftime, was the fact that even when the Jayhawks couldn't find their way into the end zone - or between the uprights - they at least weren't turning the ball over. For the first time on the road this year, KU posted a goose egg in the turnover column. Todd Reesing didn't throw a TD pass for the first time this season, but was an efficient motor for the offense by throwing for 180 yards and hitting nine different targets.
13: While the linebackers again topped the tackling column on the stat sheet (James Holt and Mike Rivera each had 10), Aqib Talib and Kendrick Harper (who started ahead of Chris Harris) combined for 13 tackles. They were huge in stuffing A&M's pass attempts throughout the game, consistently making tackles on the sidelines and in the open field.
9: Marcus Henry and Dezmon Briscoe combined to catch nine passes for 92 yards. True, both have big-play abilities and those combined numbers don't pop off the page at you. But what should be remembered is that neither dropped a pass, which has been a sticky issue for both lanky wideouts this fall.
Just in case you missed it...
While the rushing totals looked good again for the Jayhawks and will get most of the pub, the offensive line (which typically goes overlooked by media and fans alike) drew plenty of praise after the game. Anthony Collins was his same-old ridiculously-dominant self, and the middle of the line opened up all night behind center Ryan Cantrell and Co. Cesar Rodriguez showed some toughness late, too, on a touchdown run by McAnderson which was called back due to a flag. He was crumpled on the ground in pain, but got himself up and didn't miss a snap of action.
Hopefully, you didn't miss it...
The fourth-and-one stop of Jorvorskie Lane in the second quarter is bound to create some waves around the league when teams see the film from this one. Lane did a poor job of playing his cards close to the vest when he started celebrating on the sideline before even going in for the play. James Holt caught it out of the corner of his eye, and as if the run defense needed any more motivation, he was stuffed by a host of Jayhawks - led by Holt. The crowd was stunned, to say the least.
They said it...
James Holt on the fourth-and-one stop of short-yardage specialist Jorvorskie Lane: "We saw him over on the sideline doing his little train thing, so he's like 'Well here it comes.' So we're just going to dig in and go after him...Sometimes it may not go our way, but I know that the defense, we have it in our mind that we're going to keep locking in. We're not going to let up, no matter what the score is, no matter what time, we're gonna keep going."
James McClinton on the fourth down stuff: "That was tough. They had a big boy. I would have done the same thing if I was a coach. But the Lord got us through it, man. We penetrated, got in the backfield, he's a big boy, but we tackled as a unit, got him down as you could see...I got in the backfield, I touched him, but he's so big, I just held onto his shirt and my teammates came and help me."
James McClinton on the defense's overall success Saturday: "We're looking good. We're playing gap-sound. Like I said, props to coach (Bill) Young. He's a football guru. He gives us techniques to make us successful. Coach Young is a master of his game, you could say."
Todd Reesing on the offense's balance: "I think we left a lot of points on the field, there was a lot of opportunities we had to get more points, but we got enough to win and that's all that matters...People are going to play us differently, and we have to be ready to adjust during the game to however they're going to play us. And if the running game's open, then we're going to run the ball all night. If we don't throw it for any yards and run it for 400 and get a victory, that's all that matters."
Todd Reesing on Brandon McAnderson's play: "He played unbelievable, and a lot of that goes to the offensive line. They blocked awesome tonight. If teams want to take away the pass game, then we have the ability to run the ball. Brandon did a great job, and he had maybe 10 yards a carry almost, and the offensive line blocked great, so having that kind of balance and knowing that we can run the ball is something that's really good on offense.
Brandon McAnderson on his offensive line's play: "Our offensive line was excellent. They've been working every week on getting up to people on the second level, and as a running back crew, we were talking about leaving yardage on the field, me and Jake (Sharp), and we've done that several times. And I felt like our o-line did what they had to do, and they played well and we found some of those holes."
Brandon McAnderson on the offensive gameplan turning largely towards the run: "It's always a part of our strategy. We didn't come here thinking we were going to throw all over these guys, or we're going to run all over these guys. We're going to be a balanced team and do both."
Mark Mangino on his team's defensive philosophy Saturday: "Well, we knew we had to play the run well, and we did. And we felt like in order to beat us, they'd have to throw the ball. And that's not their comfort zone. But you've got to give some credit to Stephen McGee - he threw the ball pretty decent. I mean, he can throw the ball when he needs to, but our defense played well, made plays when they had to, and that's kind of the bottom line."
Mark Mangino on his team's mindset at the break, tied 0-0: "We felt good at halftime. We felt like our offense was moving the ball really well, we just needed to punch it in. We felt like our defense was playing extremely well. And we just thought it was just a matter of time, we moved the ball so well, we'd get it punched in and get some scores. We didn't think the defense was gonna give up a bunch of scores in the second half, and they didn't."
Mark Mangino on his team's ability to break school records each week: "As we've gone here at Kansas the last five or six years, every time I turn around there's one of these milestones. And that's what happens sometimes when a place maybe hasn't been consistent winners over the last century. And I'm proud that our kids were able to do that, but we really don't pay much attention to that."
KU has an eight-game winning streak for the first time since the school won 18 straight from 1907-09...KU has a 4-0 conference mark for the first time since 1992...KU has four conference wins for the first time since the 1995 team posted a 5-2 record in the final year of the Big Eight Conference...KU won a game in Texas for the first time since a 34-31 overtime win against Texas Tech on Oct. 6, 2001...KU now has achieved an eight-win season for just the 12th time in school history (including bowl games)...KU has held four straight opponents under 100 yards rushing...Big 12 foes are averaging just 60.25 yards rushing per game against KU this season...Todd Reesing moved up the single season passing yards list to ninth place with 1,985 yards...Brandon McAnderson's run of 40 yards and game total of 183 yards were both career-bests...Dezmon Briscoe's six receptions were a career-high...Marcus Henry and Derek Fine now both have 82 career receptions, which ties them for 16th on the all-time school list...Scott Webb is now second in the school's record book for extra points made in a single season with 39. The record belongs to Bill Bell, who made 48 in 1968...The announced attendance of 85,341 was the second-largest crowd to ever witness a KU football game. The largest was 100,118 in a 1979 game at Michigan.