Kickers, Part I: Kansas University's Chris Tyrrell averaged 40.5 yards a punt as a red-shirt freshman in 2001, but the Liberty, Mo., product was a backup to Curtis Ansel the last two seasons.
Tyrrell didn't play last season and had to fight off true freshman Kyle Tucker to win his old job back this season. Tyrrell is averaging 43.5 yards per punt through two games.
"A year ago I had a heart-to-heart talk with him," KU coach Mark Mangino said, "and I told him that he really needed to pick it up. I realize he was playing behind a really good punter in Curtis, but I just felt like he kind of stood to the side and said, 'Well I'll just wait my turn.' There's no such thing here as waiting for your turn. You have to earn your turn.
"To his credit, he really picked it up after that and dedicated himself to being in condition."¢
Kickers Part II: Northwestern kicker Brian Huffman is 1 for 6 with all six of his field-goal attempts coming in the Wildcats' 48-45 double-overtime loss to Texas Christian. Huffman made a 41 yarder but missed from 45, 31, 27, 25 and 38 yards.
The Wildcats didn't attempt any field goals in last week's 30-21 loss to Arizona State.
"Special teams are maybe the strongest reflection of your football team as anything," said NU coach Randy Walker. "That could not be any truer Saturday. There was the spectacular and then there was the ridiculous. We had it all. We need greater intensity out there and to lift that aspect of our game up."
Kansas kicker Johnny Beck is 2 for 4 on field-goal attempts with makes from 20 and 51 yards and misses from 43 and 45. Kicker Scott Webb, who was 9 for 9 on extra-point attempts last week, has not yet attempted a field goal.¢
Home-field advantage: Kansas has lost 30 of its last 35 road games, but Northwestern's Ryan Field won't neccessarily be a hostile environment. Northwestern, which doesn't start classes until Monday, drew only 21,939 fans for last week's loss to ASU, and that figure included thousands of ASU fans.
Northwestern officials said they are expecting a crowd of 20,000 to 25,000 again today. Ryan Field seats 47,130.¢
Stats, facts: KU running back Clark Green has caught at least one pass in 26 consecutive games. ... KU junior Jermial Ashley is tied for third in the Big 12 with two sacks, is tied for third with teammate Nick Reid with four tackles for loss and is tied for second in passes defended with four break ups.¢
School ties: Kansas offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Nick Quartaro was an assistant at Northwestern from 1981-85.