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Archive for Sunday, October 27, 1996

S FUTURE UNCERTAIN

October 27, 1996

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— June Henley, the Kansas University football team's primary offensive weapon, might not return to the arsenal for the Jayhawks' next game.

Henley, a senior running back, was suspended on Thursday by KU coach Glen Mason after Henley was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence and other charges. Henley did not make the trip to Lincoln, Neb., where the Jayhawks lost to No. 5 Nebraska, 63-7, on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Mason wouldn't say whether Henley would be available for the Jayhawks' trip to Iowa State next Saturday.

"I don't know," Mason said after the Henley-less Jayhawks managed just 21 rushing yards and 209 total yards against the Huskers. "I'm not trying to dodge a tough question. I had to deal with it and I dealt with it. I talked to him and I told everybody I wasn't going to think about it one bit until this game was over.

"I'm an emotional guy. I didn't want to make a decision and make an announcement and change it later."

Mason's comments were his first since the announcement of Henley's suspension came in a press release on Thursday.

"It didn't have a demoralizing effect on me," Mason said. "I wouldn't say demoralizing. It was very disappointing. Anytime any of my guys acts inappropriately, I don't like it. I take full responsibility. I had to deal with it appropriately. But it's not the same as if it was my own kids."

Offensive guard Cleve Roberts said he wasn't affected by Henley's absence.

"It didn't matter," Roberts said. "Eric (Vann) is a good runner. Eric came out and ran hard. I don't think it (the suspension) had anything to do with what happened out there today."

Vann, a junior, gained 22 yards on 10 carries. The rest of the Jayhawks combined managed minus-one rushing yard.

KU's primary weapon Saturday was the pass, where Matt Johner and Ben Rutz combined to complete 14 of 27 passes for 188 yards with their only touchdown and two interceptions, both charged to Rutz.

"They thrive completely on putting pressure on the quarterback," said Rutz, who signed with NU out of high school and stayed two years in Lincoln before transferring away. "Obviously, they did that well today. And they stopped the run completely."

Rutz and Johner -- the starter for the seventh straight game -- rotated again Saturday. Johner started, Rutz relieved late in the first half, Johner started the second half and Rutz finished.

Johner was knocked dizzy on the first possession of the second half and was advised not to return.

"It was enjoyable, besides the score," Rutz said of his return to Memorial Stadium. "It was nice coming back. I enjoyed coming back up here again."

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