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Archive for Saturday, September 15, 2007

KU shines on kickoffs; Toledo doesn’t

September 15, 2007

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Jayhawks looking for revenge against Toledo

After losing to Toledo in overtime last season, the Kansas Jayhawks are out for revenge this Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Enlarge video

College football's biggest statistical mismatch will be tested today at Memorial Stadium.

When Kansas and Toledo kick off at 6 p.m., it's about a 50-50 chance that the Jayhawks will be receiving the opening boot. And stat geeks everywhere will like KU's chances if that happens.

Kansas is the top-ranked team in the Bowl Subdivision in kickoff returns, averaging 41.3 yards per return. Toledo, meanwhile, is ranked 118th - second-to-last - in kickoff-coverage defense, allowing opponents to 35.1 yards per return. Only Troy is worse.

KU's success has hinged on the legs of return-specialist Marcus Herford, who was the Big 12 Conference's co-special teams player of the week last week after returning a free kick 74 yards for a touchdown against Southeastern Louisiana.

"We've done a good job on that unit of getting a hat on a hat, getting good leverage and finishing blocks," KU coach Mark Mangino said.

¢ Never good enough: A KU defense that has allowed seven points in two games has to be pretty satisfied, right?

Ha.

"It should've been zero," free safety Darrell Stuckey said. "Many times, we made many mistakes. We can go back to the Central Michigan game. Even though we don't like to look in the past, we've got to learn from that. It should've never been that close. They should've never been in the red zone."

¢ Full circle: The schedules of Kansas, Central Michigan and Toledo have rotated around in almost bizarre fashion this month.

Kansas beat Central Michigan, 52-7, in Lawrence the first week, while Toledo lost to Purdue, 52-24.

Central Michigan then beat Toledo, 52-31, in the second week.

Now, Kansas plays Toledo today while Central Michigan travels to play Purdue.

"We're not going to get into comparative scores," Mangino quipped. "That's a slippery slope, my friend."

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