Friday, January 4, 2008
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Journal-World KU reporter Jonathan Kealing is covering the fans in and on their way to Miami for the Jayhawks' first ever BCS bowl game. Check out some pitstops and potholes on the way to Miami and keep up with Journal-World Orange Bowl coverage from Miami on our interactive road trip map.
¢ Kansas University offensive tackle Anthony Collins said after Thursday's game that there will be a press conference, probably on Monday in Lawrence, with him and cornerback Aqib Talib regarding the players' decisions on the NFL.
The two juniors are contemplating skipping their senior seasons to go pro, and both could be high draft picks.
"I was supposed to go home to Beaumont (Texas), but I decided I was going to have a press conference," Collins said. "I'll let you know then."
Talib insisted he was undecided, but did agree that a 12-1 season would be a nice swan song.
"If I did make the decision to go," Talib said, "that would be a great way to go out."
¢ Kansas donned the red jerseys at Thursday's Orange Bowl, a surprise twist for perhaps KU's most visible game in school history. The Jayhawks, knowing Virginia Tech was wearing whites, packed both the traditional home blue and the alternate home reds for the trip. KU coach Mark Mangino said the team didn't know about the decision to wear the reds until showing up in the locker room Thursday.
With the victory, the Jayhawks are now 6-0 wearing red since the jersey was introduced in 2005.
¢ The Jayhawks are Orange Bowl champions for the first time in school history. Kansas lost Orange Bowl battles in 1948 and 1969.
¢ Junior cornerback Kendrick Harper returned from his November injury, but did not start Thursday. Harper played on the punt-return unit and as the No. 3 cornerback behind Talib and Chris Harris.
Junior safety Patrick Resby, who missed most of November with an injury, did not play.
¢ Virginia Tech linebacker Vince Hall did start at linebacker Thursday. He was considered questionable earlier in the week because of a knee injury suffered during the team beach party on Sunday.
¢ Senior wide receiver Marcus Henry became the third player in KU history to record 1,000 receiving yards in a season. He finished with 1,014 yards this season. Bob Johnson (1,144 in 1983) and Richard Estell (1,109 in 1985) were the other two to surpass 1,000 receiving yards.
¢ Todd Reesing's 13-yard touchdown pass to Henry in the second quarter gave him 36 career touchdowns throws, breaking David Jaynes' school record for career touchdown passes. Reesing needed just 16 games to set the mark.
¢ Talib executed a rare play when he returned a missed field goal 39 yards in the first quarter.
VT kicker Jud Dunlevy attempted a 48-yard field goal that was on line but short. Talib caught the ball in the back of the end zone and, within the rules, returned it. He broke a tackle but was squeezed out of bounds at the 39-yard line. He gained eight yards KU wouldn't have had if the kick wasn't returned.
¢ Talib and Justin Thornton each intercepted a pass Thursday, finishing tied for the team lead with five picks.
One of them nearly had another pick when they both went up for a jump-ball near the Virginia Tech end zone. Thornton appeared to come down with it, but lost control when he hit the ground, and the ball actually ended up in the arms of VT tight end Greg Boone for a 37-yard completion.
¢ Kansas is one of four schools in the nation to have a 3,000-yard passer (Reesing), a 1,000-yard rusher (Brandon McAnderson) and a 1,000-yard receiver (Henry). The other schools are Boise State, Kansas State and Tulsa.
¢ Thursday's game was the 74th edition of the Orange Bowl and the third in which Kansas has played. It was the 11th time the game was played in Dolphin Stadium, after being played for decades at the Orange Bowl stadium.
¢ KU senior Kyle Tucker blasted a 63-yard punt in the third quarter, turning potentially bad field position into no problem at all.
¢ A power failure at Fox, which televised Thursday's game, caused the second-half kickoff to be delayed three minutes.
¢ Attendance was announced at 74,111, though many empty seats were seen in the upper deck. Virginia Tech was about 2,000 tickets short of selling its allotment, but those tickets are considered purchased.
¢ Temperature was, by Miami's standards, a chilly 59 degrees at kickoff under cloudy skies. Winds were blowing out of the north-northwest at 15 mph. A light rain fell at times throughout the night.