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Archive for Sunday, September 19, 1999

BUFFS THROTTLE JAYHAWKS

September 19, 1999

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Kansas managed only 172 yards and nine first downs Saturday against Coloardo.

Boulder, Colo. -- Kansas University's football team hoped to send a message in its Big 12 opener.

The Jayhawks did, but it wasn't the most flattering dispatch.

Kansas gained just 172 total yards, earned a mere nine first downs and had four turnovers -- and Colorado capitalized in a 51-17 rout of the Jayhawks on Saturday at Folsom Field.

"We thought we could come in and make a statement," KU wide receiver Michael Chandler said. "Now we don't know who we are. But we know we're not very good. As a captain, I'm supposed to help this team bounce back, but I'm struggling myself. I'm so disappointed. I'm embarrassed for everybody involved with this program."

The Jayhawks (1-2 overall, 0-1 Big 12) couldn't catch a break. In a game marred by seven turnovers, just about every bounce seemed to favor the Buffs (2-1, 1-0).

To wit:

* Kansas' David Winbush lost a fumble on KU's first offensive play. Winbush, who rushed for 268 yards in the Jayhawks' surprising victory over CU last season, finished with just 12 yards on 11 carries Saturday before leaving with a left ankle sprain.

* On successive plays in the second quarter, QB Dylen Smith -- who played in place of potentially deposed starter Zac Wegner from the second quarter on -- hit umpire Joe Darden with a fourth-down conversion attempt deep in CU territory, then officials ruled an apparent lateral from Mike Moschetti that was batted down actually was a forward pass. Thus, CU kept possession and went on to score the TD that made it 24-0.

* The Jayhawks knocked Moschetti out with a left knee sprain just before the half, but they couldn't stop his replacement, Zac Colvin, either.

* KU scored two touchdowns in two minutes to make it a game, 33-17, with 4:52 left in the third, but couldn't score again. Those TDs came courtesy of a fumbled punt return and a punt blocked by Tim Bowers that Greg Erb recovered in the end zone.

* And, as the final ignominy, Carl Nesmith returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 97 yards to the CU three-yard line. After a two-yard run by HenrÃ- Childs on first down, Childs was hit on second down and fumbled at the four. CU's dangerous return man, Ben Kelly, scooped up the ball and returned it 96 yards for the final TD.

"It was such a bizarre game," said Terry Allen, who remained winless in conference road games in his two-plus seasons as KU's coach. "It was such a mental yo-yo. Are we any good, or are we just that bad?"

On Saturday, at least, it was the latter.

Kansas rushed 25 times for just 26 yards. It gained just three yards per offensive play. It lost three of four fumbles.

In short, it couldn't do much of anything.

"Whenever we threw the ball, they were there," Chandler said. "Whenever we ran, they were there, too."

The offensive offense had Kansas flummoxed, especially since it came against a team that, through two games, ranked last in the league in just about every defensive category.

"A lot of people say Colorado doesn't have a good defense," KU running back Mitch Bowles said. "They really showed us something today. They really gave it to us today.

"They stuck it to us. I couldn't believe that, because I know what we're capable of. I can't give a legitimate reason. I'm not flashy. I like to lead by showing. But we didn't show anything, so I can't say anything."

Allen, an offensive-minded coach, took the outcome especially hard.

"They came after us," Allen said. "They got after us and beat us. They beat us across the board defensively. We couldn't sustain the rush. We couldn't capitalize on any opportunities. They won virtually all the one-on-one battles. We got manhandled."

Now, Allen said, comes the real test, when Kansas plays host Saturday to San Diego State.

"It's gut-check time," Allen said. "This was a game we weren't expected to win. Let's come back and make some things happen."

"This says something about us," Bowles added. "That first game with Notre Dame and this game here, those are the games that count to me. We gotta work a whole lot. We're a D-I school like they are. " I just keep waiting and waiting for it to happen. I know once we get on a roll, we'll be unstoppable. I hope we keep flowing like the ocean. Never let it stop."

-- Andrew Hartsock's phone number is 832-7216. His e-mail address is ahartsock@ljworld.com.

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