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Archive for Sunday, October 20, 2002

KU offense struggles

Sacks, drops hurt Jayhawks, Whittemore

October 20, 2002

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Bill Whittemore did it all for Kansas University on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

He just couldn't do enough.

KU's junior quarterback passed for 187 yards, ran for 27 and even caught one pass for 16 yards, but his 230 all-purpose yards couldn't prevent Texas A&M from rolling to a 47-22 victory.

"I really admire him," A&M coach R.C. Slocum said. "He's a courageous young man and makes some great plays. I thought our team did a good job of containing him until late in the game."

A&M pressured Whittemore all day, sacking the Fort Scott Community College transfer five times. He entered the game averaging a team-leading 70.7 yards a game, but netted only 27 yards on 21 carries.

"The sacks kept coming," Whittemore said. "It wasn't all the offensive line's fault. Some of them were coverage sacks. I've got to get rid of it."

In other words, KU's receivers had a hard time getting open against A&M's secondary despite the fact that All-Big 12 cornerback Sammy Davis was injured early and was never a factor.

Whittemore completed 21 of 41 passes with one interception and two touchdowns. At least seven of his passes were dropped, a problem that has plagued KU much of the season.

"Our quarterback threw strikes, and we dropped them," KU coach Mark Mangino said. "Good football teams don't let that happen. We worked on that, and I thought we had it under control a few weeks back. We've been catching a lot of balls in practice. We have focused on it. We just have to keep at it."

Perhaps the best catch of the night was Whittemore's shoe-top reception on a pass from fullback Dan Coke.


For more coverage on the game, including post game audio and game pictures, visit KUSports.com

The low pass had some observers wondering if the ball hit the turf.

"I caught it. Come on," Whittemore said with a smile. "It was close."

That play set up Whittemore's 12-yard touchdown pass to Byron Gasaway early in the fourth quarter. The quarterback connected with the senior receiver on the same corner route for a pair of scores, and Gasaway finished with six catches for 63 yards.

Whittemore refused to criticize his receivers after a tough outing.

"We have a good receiving corps," he said. "If a different guy steps up each week, that's fine. Last week it was Marcellus Jones. This week it was Gas."

Despite the fact that A&M had an insurmountable lead in the fourth quarter, Mangino left his starters including Whittemore in the game. Whittemore capped KU's scoring with a one-yard touchdown run in the final minute.

"I'm banged up, but no worse than last week or the week before," he said. "We're just out there trying to get things going. We need all the plays we can get. We're just trying to get as much practice as we can and start executing. The more reps the better it will be."

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