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Slipping away :

Jayhawks suffer costly setback

With a sea of red-clad Nebraska fans as backdrop, Kansas University quarterback Todd Reesing leaves the field after throwing a fourth-quarter interception. Though Reesing threw for 304 yards, the Jayhawks suffered a 45-35 loss to the Huskers on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

With a sea of red-clad Nebraska fans as backdrop, Kansas University quarterback Todd Reesing leaves the field after throwing a fourth-quarter interception. Though Reesing threw for 304 yards, the Jayhawks suffered a 45-35 loss to the Huskers on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

November 9, 2008

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Jayhawks suffer costly setback to NU

The last time the Kansas football team was victorious in Nebraska was 1968. The stakes were high for the Jayhawks on Saturday and conditions were on the chilly side in Lincoln, Nebraska. Enlarge video

Audio Clips
2008 KU-Nebraska football
Spodcasters

Spodcasters Postgame: Nebraska

The guys (Tom Keegan, Jesse Newell) tie up loose ends following the Jayhawks' 45-35 loss to Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb. The two discuss KU's disappointing play Saturday on the offensive and defensive lines and also wonder what changes are next with the Jayhawks' secondary. The two also discuss whether fans should be clamoring for defensive coordinator Clint Bowen's job.

Going Deep

Eyes of Texas on KU

In this week's edition of Going Deep, Matt Tait and Eric Sorrentino speak with Daily Texan beat writer David Henry. Does the infamous "dollar signs" game from 2004 still mean something to fans in Austin? Plus, Henry breaks down UT's recent rushing attack struggles and gives a prediction on one KU player who could have a huge game next week in Lawrence.

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Go figure

2 Sacks recorded by Kansas (for a loss of 23 yards)

5 Sacks recorded by Nebraska (for minus-42 yards)

3.0 Kansas' average yards per rush (on 39 carries for 118 yards)

4.8 Nebraska's average yards per run (on 35 carries for 167 yards)

2 Punts by the Huskers, all in the first half

+2 KU's turnover advantage

3 of 12 KU's success on third-down conversions

6 of 14 NU's success on third-down conversions

8 of 8 Success by both teams combined on red-zone scoring chances

1968Last time KU won in Lincoln, Neb.

— Entering Saturday's game against Nebraska, Kansas University's football team understood that a victory was a necessity in order for the Jayhawks to keep pace in the race for the Big 12 North title.

And following Saturday's 45-35 loss to the Huskers, during a blustery day at Nebraska's Memorial Stadium, the Jayhawks understood the consequences of their defeat.

"Coaches told us this is a game (where) we're playing for championships," said KU sophomore receiver Dezmon Briscoe, who caught six passes for 176 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort. "And we fell short of it."

Just a year after scoring more points than any team ever had against the Huskers in a 76-39 victory in Lawrence, Kansas couldn't piece together a similar effort this season, falling to Nebraska for the 20th straight time in Lincoln that acted as a significant blow to the team's goal of a North title.

Of the three areas in which Kansas coach Mark Mangino hoped his team would excel heading into the game - limiting Nebraska's run game, establishing the Jayhawks' own ground game and tackling well - none came to fruition.

The Huskers rushed for 167 yards despite playing much of the game without their top running back, preseason All-Big 12 selection Marlon Lucky. Jayhawks running back Jake Sharp, meanwhile, failed to reach 100 yards for the first time in three games, and Kansas' defense played as if the Huskers' jerseys were coated in vaseline.

The result? The Jayhawks' first loss to an unranked team in 17 tries.

"I knew this was going to be a battle," said Mangino, whose team fell to 6-4 (3-3 in the Big 12) this season. "And we could not afford to make any mistakes. They made a couple and still overcame it, so credit to them."

Despite winning the turnover battle four to one and managing to enter halftime tied with the Huskers at 14, Kansas couldn't stop an opposing offense that proved to be significantly more potent than Kansas State's a week ago. Nebraska scored on five of its six second-half possessions, turning a 14-14 tie into a 45-28 lead midway through the fourth quarter, and seemed to have its way with the Jayhawks' struggling defense.

Quarterback Joe Ganz led the way for the Huskers, completing 28 of 37 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns, and running back Roy Helu Jr., finished with 115 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, including a 52-yard burst at the start of the fourth quarter that gave the Huskers their biggest lead - 31-21 - to that point.

Even defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who finished with a team-high 12 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 4 tackles for loss, got in on the offensive blitzkrieg, catching a two-yard touchdown pass from Ganz with 5:58 remaining in to give the Huskers a 38-28 lead.

And any questions whether the Huskers were still smarting from last year's 37-point walloping at the hands of the Jayhawks were quickly answered Saturday.

Said Ganz, "It just feels so good to come back and redeem ourselves from what happened last year."

Adding injury to insult, meanwhile, Kansas also might be forced to deal with a setback to its top offensive player.

Quarterback Todd Reesing, who set 21 school records and earned All-Big 12 second-team honors as a sophomore last season, limped through the final stages of Saturday's game and was being evaluated by the team's medical staff following the game, according to coach Mark Mangino.

"He's getting some treatment," said Mangino, who doesn't disclose the specifics of player injuries. "Hopefully it's nothing real serious. I don't think it is, but the trainers are looking at him now. I think he'll be OK."

Reesing appeared to be shaken up midway through the second half, although he remained in the game until its conclusion and managed to scramble for a 15-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter.

On the Jayhawks' final drive of the game a minute later, however, he was tackled following a three-yard run and remained on the ground for a while before leaving the field under his own power.

Kansas now will look to regroup for a final regular-season push, although - based on Saturday's events - the team's immediate future isn't exactly brimming with light.

The Jayhawks started the weekend on the brink of the Top 25 and in position to battle for their first outright Big 12 North title in school history.

They return to Lawrence with a bruised psyche, a hobbled quarterback and a remaining schedule that features two top-15 opponents in their final two regular-season games - the first of which comes Saturday in Lawrence against No. 5 Texas.

"That's why this one hurts the most," cornerback Justin Thornton said. "It wasn't because Nebraska beat us. It's the fact that we can't reach that Big 12 North (title) now. In a way, it can still happen still. But we're not in control of our own destiny at this point.

"So it hurts."

Comments

greenworld 5 years, 5 months ago

Reesing still passed for over 300 yards/35 points and looked good to me. Ku's offense didnt give up 45 points so I believe we definately scored enough points to win the game. I hope it's below 35 degrees next Sat and those Tx boys wont want to come out of that locker room. I guarantee you one thing our team will be ready. Intimidation is just all in your head. Time for Tx to lose. Horns down when I show up.

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Danimal 5 years, 5 months ago

This defense is really terrible, and the O-line isn't much better. Reesing got hammered all day long. For those of you that are calling for someone else as the starting QB, you're retarded. Reesing is already the greatest passing QB in the history of KU football. Mangino needs to get this team back in order. I could make peace with a 7-win season, but if we finish with 6 this year and finish at .500 next season I think we can declare Magino as being back on the hot seat. I know he won a BCS bowl last year, but this was supposed to be the year we beat a few ranked opponents and continued to make progress, not prove that last year was a fluke. This program also needs to instill some loyalty in its players. Right now, as soon as a KU player has an All American season and is eligible they bolt for the NFL Draft. I can't blame them for chasing dollars, but I can for turning their backs on a program that gave them a shot when it needed them most. Maybe I'm just too old school though.

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brett conrad 5 years, 5 months ago

Bill Young did not teach Bowen his full bag of tricks because this defense sucks.

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lionbacker 5 years, 5 months ago

hawk fans, just enjoy, 6-8 wins, whats wrong with that, hell all mizzou fans want each year is to win against kansas, KANSAS EXPECTS TO WIN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!!!!!!! HEY MU, ONCE OUR BITCH, ALWAYS OUR BITCH!!!!!!!!

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Thats_messed_up 5 years, 5 months ago

Anonymous userSAJH (Anonymous) says:"Congrats jayhawks fans for a magical 2007 season in which you parlayed arguably the easiest schedule in the country to a 12-1 record and a national champ:.oh wait, no, a big 12 conference champ:..oh wait, no a big 12 north champion:oh wait, no:..the greatest season atKU in the last 50 years and you won exactly nothing, oh except a meaningless orange bowl against a crappy ACC team. You had to play somebody this year and the wheels are about to fall off, I guess you are a basketball school again and basketball season is right around the corner, get used to it."SAJH this is an excellent post! lol

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red_devil 5 years, 5 months ago

LooPerkinsucks (Anonymous) says:'Well:atleast all you bandwagon jumpers still have basketball:. I thought this was a footballl school though:."Funny, I've never heard anyone say that.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 5 months ago

Trying to find the logic behind some of the hate, and coming up short. Must be the result of empty personal lives.

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pity2bu 5 years, 5 months ago

You really didn't think they had a chance did you. Last year was a flash in the pan / one and done!Go Hawks finish strong with that losing streak. The State of Mizzou and The Lone Star State will be your next worst enemies. Fire the QB......and Mangino, get rid of all of them!!!! FLASH in the PAN! Its time to simmer!

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Gaius_Baltar 5 years, 5 months ago

Prior to the Husker game, none of the losses were big surprises. The S Florida game was winnable, but the OU and TTU games were predictable. You guys obviously don't have the D you had last year, and let's face it - last year's schedule should have given you guys some caution entering this season. But, be that as it may, you should have won this game. This is the first game this year where KU surprised me. Big 12 North is still doable, but you need a huge favor from ISU, which probably won't happen. Don't worry though, even if you lose to MU, they probably get smoked in the CCG.

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Camron Flanders 5 years, 5 months ago

It looks like you can blame our defensive scheme, we are playing way too soft in the secondary. I don't think losing 2 players, albeit 2 great players, had as big an impact as losing our great defensive coordinator. We need to play more aggressive in the secondary, it's costing us -- OU/TT put up huge yardage on us through the air. Our line is getting better, when our line gets in their QB's face you see things happen, just look at what we did against KSU last week, and even the first quarter yesterday against NU.When the defense isn't operating, it puts pressure on our offense (can't win if you don't score), and as much as Todd creates (if we didn't have him, you can remove a lot of TDs this season...example, yesterday he takes a massive hit and throws to Meier for 6), we can't pull the goalie and hope the other team will do the same.Now, our offense has things to work on, clearly our O-line needs to gel, but we can't win if we give up every 10-15 yard pass, causing us to forget about the run, and then give up a 50 yard run up the middle because we didn't want to give up yet another 15 yard pass. Vicious cycle.

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SAJH 5 years, 5 months ago

Congrats jayhawks fans for a magical 2007 season in which you parlayed arguably the easiest schedule in the country to a 12-1 record and a national champ....oh wait, no, a big 12 conference champ.....oh wait, no a big 12 north champion...oh wait, no.....the greatest season at KU in the last 50 years and you won exactly nothing, oh except a meaningless orange bowl against a crappy ACC team. You had to play somebody this year and the wheels are about to fall off, I guess you are a basketball school again and basketball season is right around the corner, get used to it.

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yankeevet 5 years, 5 months ago

The Longhorns and Tigers will demolish these jayhawks; so hold on to your tailfeathers.....................

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trvlronda 5 years, 5 months ago

hello fair weather fans! The PPV was a Nebraska decision, as the big red is the only action in the state.Losing sucks, but it's all part of building. Last year's magical season was to build momentum. We still have Texas and the tiggers left.....victory is still possible. Orange bowl? Probably not..... Big 12 North title--perhaps. This season's schedule is about as tough as one gets in the Big 12. Our weaknesses are evident, and Mangino will fill our holes to make us that much better next year. I just hope our bowl destiny is a sunny and warm destination.... Much love to the gridiron jayhawks

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LooPerkinsucks 5 years, 5 months ago

Well...atleast all you bandwagon jumpers still have basketball.... I thought this was a footballl school though....

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nobody1793 5 years, 5 months ago

The reality is that KU did overachieve last year, thanks in part to the easier schedule. If they get up and avenge the mizzou loss, a 7-win season is what most people would have predicted at the start of the year. Five years ago,

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lawrencechick 5 years, 5 months ago

So glad I didn't pay $30 to watch it.....maybe now KU will come off it's high horse and stop price gouging it's fans because of one season.

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Write2Know 5 years, 5 months ago

We also lost a great D-coordinator.

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rtwngr 5 years, 5 months ago

Easy. They lost two starters to the pros. One on the defensive line and one at cornerback. The defense is young and inexperienced. Not to mention undersized along the line. The long and the short of it is they can't stop anybody with a quality offense.

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jhawkjjm 5 years, 5 months ago

Thank you defense for killing any chance of a Big XII North title, a halfway-decent bowl game, and any and all momentum gained from last year.

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yankeevet 5 years, 5 months ago

Why is it KU did so well last year; and now they are not doing so well......what say you?

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