The Kansas Jayhawks took their fourth game out of the last five against
the Kansas State Wildcats with a 52-21 victory, including the last
“Three games in a row against these guys is very big for our
program,” said Russell Brorsen, defensive end. “For
a long time, before I got here, we had to hear about how Kansas would
get killed by Kansas State every year. So the tide may have finally
swung in the favor of Kansas, and three in a row is big.”
Kansas State Coach Ron Prince would say after the game that it was a
poor performance “by myself and all my coaching
“This is a thorough and complete beating and defeat; there is
no question about it,” Prince said. “I’m
not one that’s going to try to mince words and try to spin
anything. They did a great job, they were very well prepared for the
game and it meant a lot to them. We were very well prepared coming into
the game, but we didn’t execute like we needed to, and
that’s my job to get my team to do that.”
It didn’t take the storm long to start, with the Jayhawks
taking the opening kickoff and marching 81 yards on 11 plays, capped by
a Jake Sharp four-yard touchdown run. After picking off Kansas State
quarterback Josh Freeman, the Jayhawks took it the short field, with
Sharp again supplying the exclamation point with a 20-yard touchdown
run. Sharp scored his third touchdown of the stanza slightly more than
three minutes later, taking a Todd Reesing pitch 47 yards to paydirt.
“Our offensive line did a terrific job of getting off the
ball and knocking the defensive line back a little bit and gave Jake
Sharp some room, and Jake just had a great day,” said Kansas
Coach Mark Mangino.
Kansas added two more scores in the second quarter, a 33-yard field
goal by Jacob Branstetter and a 15-yard Reesing touchdown run when he
kept the ball on an option play. Kansas State blocked another field
goal attempt to keep the game at 31-0 at the half.
Kansas State scored its first points of the game with 8:04 left in the
third quarter when LaMark Brown ran in from four-yards out.
Kansas responded immediately with a 78-yard drive in nine plays. The
touchdown came on a three-yard pass from Reesing to Dezmon Brsicoe.
The Wildcats was so beaten at the half that they tried to go for it on
long fourth down plays twice from inside their own 30. Meanwhile, the
Jayhawks were having some fun. Up 38-7, they ran a reverse pass from
receiver Kerry Meier to Sharp for 27 yards, taking the ball to the two.
Sharp dove into the endzone on the next play.
Kansas State scored twice in the fourth quarter on Brown touchdown
runs, while Angus Quigley added another touchdown for the Jayhawks.
The Kansas’s 31-point margin of victory was the biggest win
for the Jayhawks since a 38-7 win in 1985. The Jayhawks have now won 16
consecutive games against unranked opponents.
“I can’t tell you how good it feels,”
said Kansas linebacker Mike Rivera. “It was a great game for
us to win, and to win it handily. We did a really good job.
“Being from Kansas, it is one game that I mark on my calendar
each year,” Rivera said. “I’m glad we
went out there and gave our best effort. We had an awesome game and put
it all together.”
Sharp had 152 yards rushing on 15 carries and three touchdowns by
halftime. As a team, the Jayhawks posted 198 yards rushing at the half,
which is more than Kansas had gained in any game this season. Sharp
finished with 181 yards on 21 carries and four touchdowns. He also led
the team with 76 yards on five catches.
“He not only ran the ball in space, but he took some vicious
hits today and he jumped back up,” Mangino said.
“Like I said before, Jake Sharp is a hard-charger.
He’s a tough guy.
“He has proven to us he is exceptional,” Mangino
said. “Most guys his size cannot (be a feature running back).
But you cannot measure a guy’s heart. You can measure how
fast he runs, how high he jumps, the weights he lifts, but you cannot
measure intestinal fortitude. There’s no real measurement for
it, and he has it.”
Kansas State linebacker Reggie Walker was blunter about it.
“If you don’t do your assignments like
you’re supposed to do, of course they are going to put up 300
yards,” Walker said. “Every time we made a mistake,
they capitalized on it.”
Todd Reesing had 162 yards passing and 47 yards rushing in a little
more than three quarters of work. He passed for one touchdown and ran
for another and managed the game well – the Jayhawks were
eight of 12 on third downs.
On the other side, Josh Freeman continued his trend of turning the ball
over against the Jayhawks, throwing three interceptions and losing a
fumble. He finished with 207 yards passing and 27 yards rushing. Brown
rushed for 68 yards and all three Kansas State touchdowns, but was held
to 3.2 yards per carry. Brandon Banks had nine catches, but for just 70
yards. Tight end Jeron Mastrud led the Wildcats with 74 yards receiving.
After the game, Freeman was asked whether everyone on the team was on
the same page.
“It’s tough to say, after this score, obviously
not,” Freeman said. “From an offensive standpoint,
early on, I need to get something going when KU was scoring like they
were. It’s tough to say where we’re at. KU played a
Just a week after allowing 63 points to Texas Tech, the Kansas defense
held tight, forcing five turnovers and sacking Freeman three times,
while hurrying him on three other plays. Linebacker James Holt led the
charge with five tackles, including three in the backfield, two sacks,
two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He also defended a pass.
The Wildcats had just 234 yards through three quarters of play, and
“We put a great deal of pressure on the quarterback, or at
least didn’t give him as much time as he would like to
have,” Mangino said. “He is a talented guy, he can
hurt you, he made some good throws today, you can see that
he’s really a talented player.
“If you give him a lot of time to stand back there,
you’re going to have a long day, and we’ve learned
some lessons about that in the past,” Mangino said.
“So we didn’t want that to happen today.”
The victory gave Kansas six wins (6-3, 3-2), meaning the Jayhawks are
bowl-eligible for the fourth consecutive year. The Jayhawks were held
out of a bowl game with a 6-6 record in 2006.
“It was our sixth win,” Rivera said. “Our
goal is to win the North and this sets us up to have that opportunity
at the end of the season.”
Kansas State fell to 4-5, and 1-4 in the conference, with the loss.
“The game does mean a tremendous amount to the people of this
state,” Prince said, “and we let them
Kansas will next travel to Lincoln to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
News and notes
- Jake Sharp’s four touchdowns tied a Kansas record
for rushing touchdowns in a game. The last player to hit that mark was
Brandon McAnderson last year against Nebraska. Sharp’s 181
rushing yards were also a personal career high.
Two other players will also be on record watch for
next week. Reesing’s 162 yards passing leaves him just 83 shy
of the school’s career record of 6,410, held by Frank Seuer.
And Dezmon Briscoe tied the school career record for receiving
touchdowns with 17. He shares the mark with Willie Vaughn and Bruce
Adams. The touchdown catch also tied Briscoe with Marcus Henry’s season mark of 10 receiving touchdowns.
- Defensive end Russell Brorsen continued his Kansas State
killing ways, picking off two passes. In three career games against the
Wildcats, Brorsen had 16 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks,
three interceptions, two fumbles recovered and two quarterback hurries.
One of the fumbles he recovered was for a touchdown.
Brorsen had half a sack and intercepted a pass in
Manhattan last year, and the 2006 game in Lawrence may have been the
best of Brorsen’s career. Brorsen, then a sophomore, finished
the game with 10 tackles including three in the backfield and two
sacks. He also had a quarterback hurry and recovered two fumbles, one
in the endzone for a touchdown.
- The Jayhawks stuck with several personnel changes from the
Texas Tech game. Former safety Justin Thornton started at one
cornerback spot, while former receiver Daymond Patterson started at the
other. Phillip Strozier earned the start at free safety, while usual
cornerback starter Chris Harris rotated in at the safety spot. In the
post game, Mangino also cited the work of redshirt freshman Anthony Davis as an up-and-comer who could supply depth.
- Linebacker Justin Springer was taken off the field with an
injury early on, and Mangino revealed in the post-game press conference
that he will be out for the season.
Kansas – Jake Sharp 4 run (Jacob Branstetter kick), 10:55 1Q
KU – Sharp 20 run (Branstetter kick), 6:03 1Q
KU – Sharp 45 run (Branstetter kick), 3:00 1Q
KU – Branstetter 33 FG, 11:56 2Q
KU – Reesing 15 run, 1:24 2Q
Kansas State – LaMark Brown 4 run Brooks Rossman kick), 8:04
KU – Dezmon Briscoe 3 pass from Reesing (Branstetter kick),
KU – Sharp 2 run (Branstetter kick), 1:54 3Q
KSU – Brown 11 run (Rossman kick), 13:18 4Q
KU – Angus Quigley 7 run (Branstetter kick), 10:41 4Q
KSU – Brown 1 run (Rossman kick), 0:39 4Q