Monday, September 24, 2007

Talib’s INT return one for the ‘books


Aqib Talib's 100-yard INT return

Aqib Talib's 100-yard INT return

For more video footage: Tune into 6News Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. and check Wednesday morning for Aqib Talib's breakdown of that play, plus what other Jayhawks thought as it developed.

It took just four games for Aqib Talib to create something that can already be coined as the benchmark play for the 2007 KU football season.

On Saturday, in the fourth quarter of a 55-3 smashing of Florida International, he picked off a deep ball from Wayne Younger a couple yards into his own end zone. Always the showstopper, Talib opted to bring the ball out and brandish his freakish athleticism.

From there, it was a blur of decleating blocks, streaks down both sidelines and screams from the crowd. College rules only allow the play to go in the books as a 100-yard interception return, but in reality, it was more like 102 or 103.

In the end, it was the fifth straight game in which Talib had found paydirt one way or another.

Either way, it broke John Hadl's previous school record of 98 yards as the longest pick runback.

Here's what some have had to say about the play:

KU coach Mark Mangino: "That's one of the best plays I've seen from a defensive performer in my career. I've had the good fortune of being around a lot of quality defensive players, you know, All-Americans, first-round draft picks. I've got to tell you, that's one of the most impressive plays that I've seen. For the people that were in the stadium tonight, they got to see a real treat, it was an awesome play, and you don't get to see that everyday in college football."

KU defensive tackle James McClinton: "Did you see the clip? The clip says it right - that was awesome, man...I'd say that's the longest INT I've ever seen. I was getting up off the ground, though. I didn't really get to see it...Had to jog down there and celebrate."

KU quarterback Todd Reesing: "I told Aqib, you know, he kind of owed that to me to make up for what happened with the interception. But we were just kidding around. That was a great play, and it just really shows Aqib's athletic ability and really the rest of the defense, how hard they were playing getting blocks for him."

KU tight end Derek Fine: "Aqib's incredible to watch. How many times has he touched the ball and scored? Give that kid the ball."

Aqib Talib himself: "As soon as I caught it, I said 'I gotta score.' I was in the end zone, I said 'I gotta score.' So we made it happen. Good blockin' on that defense...That's probably the best play I've ever made in my career, including everything - high school, junior high - period...I know I was dog-tired after it though."

Ryan Wood, Journal-World KU football beat writer: "I thought the play was as exciting as any I've seen in years. It wasn't just Talib, who covered about every inch of the field and showed tremendous vision and speed. But the other 10 defenders instantly became blockers for him, and they did a phenomenal job on the fly. It was just one of those special plays you'll remember for a long time."

Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor: "While John Hadl was in the elevator so that he could watch the rest of the game from the sideline, Aqib Talib was making thousands in the stadium think or say, 'That's one of the most remarkable plays I've ever seen,' and it's not the first time this season he's triggered that mass response. Talib broke Hadl's 1959 interception return record of 98 yards and in doing so provided one more highlight for the TV shows about first-team All-Americans. Look for him to be named the all-purpose player on the first team."

Kevin Romary, 6News sports director: "It's hard to erase John Hadl's name from the record books. But, Aqib made it look easy on Saturday by running that thing back 100 plus yards. Thanks to Mr. Talib, Hadl's 98 yarder against TCU in 59 is now only good enough for #2 on the all time list."

Ryan Greene, editor: "Aqib Talib's 100-(really 102)-yard interception return? Most thrilling KU defensive play I can recall having seen. He really covered more like 140 yards of turf on the highlight-reel gallop."


bmcmich1 15 years, 2 months ago

That play was indeed awesome--a little treat for all of us who stayed for the whole game!

sevenyearhawk 15 years, 2 months ago

WOW! sorry I missed the whole game, I was in Emporia that weekend for grad class ...

First home game I've missed in four seasons!

Alan Halvorsen 15 years, 2 months ago

yeah only 42k there from where i was standing i thought maybe 47 more like 46. I guess i was way off.

JayCeph 15 years, 2 months ago

It'd be nice if KU was on TV once in a while.

Carter Patterson 15 years, 2 months ago

That was awesome! Great Job Talib!

(was that a block in the back on the 8 yard line? surely not).

prairie_dog 15 years, 2 months ago

I'm dreamin' about this team. This could get very interesting!

It's been a very long time in coming.

86finalfour 15 years, 2 months ago

Great play but i have to say the camera work is awful here. The camera misses talib's interception catch and, more importantly, the camera is zoomed too much in on to Talib and so you can't see what's going on around him, such as critical blocks. It look so strange having the camera follow him through all the chaos. But we can't really can't see the chaos. Anyway...amazing play though.

Dirk Medema 15 years, 2 months ago

Hopefully, this will be the first of several (NU, MU, ?TAM?, ...) games for TV the rest of the season. It'd really be nice if it started a trend for the future.

Jeremy LeMaster 15 years, 2 months ago

Carterpatterson... I noticed the same thing... Thornton was flying up the field! I don't think it was a block in the back, it looked like Thornton was surprised by getting knocked off his horse.

Great play! I can't wait to see the Hawks on TV in a couple weeks.

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