Archive for Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kansas only half bad

KU undefeated, not invulnerable

Kansas University defenders Drew Dudley (49), Justin Thornton (46), Arist Wright (41) and Jake Laptad (91) converge on Iowa State running back Alexander Robinson. Robinson rushed for a career-best 152 yards, and the Cyclones amassed 512 total yards, but the Jayhawks escaped with a 41-36 victory Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas University defenders Drew Dudley (49), Justin Thornton (46), Arist Wright (41) and Jake Laptad (91) converge on Iowa State running back Alexander Robinson. Robinson rushed for a career-best 152 yards, and the Cyclones amassed 512 total yards, but the Jayhawks escaped with a 41-36 victory Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

October 11, 2009


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Kansas University is the worst undefeated Football Bowl Subdivision team in the nation. Do you consider that: 1) a compliment, 2) an insult, 3) reality, 4) all of the above, 5) false?

Unless you believe Kansas is better than South Florida and answered 5) — not a ridiculous opinion — then the only honest response must be 4) a compliment, an insult and reality.

It’s a compliment to the KU offense that a team so defensively challenged can remain undefeated. It’s an insult to the KU defense that a team with such a skilled, precise, explosive offense can come so close to losing at home to a team coming off a Farmageddon loss to Kansas State.

Thanks to Todd Reesing dealing and banking on an offensive line and a running back who protected him superbly and a pair of historically great Kansas receivers showing why they’ll be remembered forever, the Jayhawks survived Iowa State, 41-36, and advanced with an unblemished record.

On a cold, gray, windy day, the pregame atmosphere brimmed with a big-time feel. Tailgates buzzed. Yet, the student crowd again showed it’s not there yet. Many left at the half of a game Kansas led, 20-12. That would be 16th-ranked Kansas. Unbelievable.

Nobody could blame the students for wanting only to watch half the game, but there was a way to do so without missing the suspense attached to the outcome. They could have watched when Kansas had the ball and closed their eyes when Iowa State had it. That way, they would have left thinking they had a team capable of contending for a national title and had twice as good a time wherever it was they went after leaving Memorial Stadium.

The offense looked that good. Reesing said it was the best protection he has received at Kansas. Coach Mark Mangino said Reesing was “phenomenal” and added it was “one of the finest jobs of pass protection that I think I’ve ever been associated with in a single game.”

Reesing threaded a beauty to Briscoe for a 23-yard, third-quarter score in the left corner of the end zone, a play made possible when running back Toben Opurum halted a blitzer dead in his tracks. That Reesing-Briscoe connection paled when compared to the bomb Reesing threw into the wind for a 46-yard score on which the ball traveled 53 yards. Briscoe stretched his arms out to catch it on his finger tips.

“I put all I had into it to get it there into the wind, and Dez made an unbelievable catch,” Reesing said.

The degree of difficulty?

“That’s about a 10 out of 10,” he said. “That’s one of the better throws I probably ever made in college because of how long it was and the small margin of error. ... Those are throws you might get one or two out of 10 on.”

It’s troubling to think such a great play was needed to beat Iowa State, but to think that means Kansas will get blown out by the likes of Oklahoma and Nebraska would be a mistake, just as it would foolish to think because Kansas has such a dynamite offense it’s a given the Jayhawks will win Saturday in Boulder. The offense looks good enough to score on anyone, the defense vulnerable enough to get exposed by any Big 12 offense.

Prepare for a season packed with exciting, gut-twisting shootouts.


yankeevet 6 years, 1 month ago

I was at the game; and Reesing was great; calm; cool headed; and led his team too victory; however they are getting ready too play some tougher teams; and i just don't think the KU defense is up too it. This is just my opinion; and I hope KU wins all their games.

Rickyonealku 6 years, 1 month ago

Well Tom a win is a win is a next week at Colorado will be very very tough look what the Buffalo's did at Texas the first half???

Anyway great great win Kansas just keep taking it one game at a time.

Rock Chalk Jayhawks... I like this 2009 TEAM.

Rickyonealku 6 years, 1 month ago

Reesing could be a Heisman top 3 or 4 pick if Todd keeps this numbers all year long.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 1 month ago

The defense has been exposed all year. I've attended all home games, and either are defenders are often confused about their responsibilites, or they are very slow, or both. If the ISU receivers were routinely three to five yards open, what kind of space will our dbacks be giving UT, TT, and OU? We're going to be giving up 50+ points against ranked teams. And MU.

You can bet that Mangino is taking a long look at his recruiting methods. If we don't get average defensive players in here next year, we're back on our way down.

slowplay 6 years, 1 month ago

I don't know if it's the athletes or the defensive coaches. I've never seen so many blown assignments. Players were out of position on so many big plays. In any event Mangino better have a heart to heart talk with with everyone on the defensive side. That said, if they are going to make a serious run at a BCS game, it was better to expose this weakness now than later.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 1 month ago

Our defensive cry Rip His F Head Off was actually amusing the first time it was yelled, but if this continues, and truly becomes a tradition, then KU is a second class school and has nothing to say about MU.

If Mangino has the kind of commitment to character that I've read about, then he'll go to the officials and tell them what the cheer is, (like they don't have ears), and ask them to assess a 15-yard unsportmanlike each time it happens. He can announce this just before kick off. It would stop immediately. This has reached a point of inexcusability. We cry here on the board about the actions of a few kids, and then 10 thousand people yell this cry? Hypocrites.

Snoop 6 years, 1 month ago

jkilgore (Anonymous) says…

The defense has been exposed all year. I've attended all home games, and either are defenders are often confused about their responsibilites, or they are very slow, or both.


If you want a clearer idea of just how bad the defense is, if any of you recorded the game just take a close look at the linebackers particularly #49 Dudley, I do want to pick on a specific kid but #49 clearly has no idea what he is doing on the field. Paying close attention to him throughout the game I watched as he constantly was looking at other players for defensive assigments, seemed confused and more often than not never reads a play correctly and on a couple of ocasions had his entire body turned away from the play.

Any offensive corrdinator worth a damn would fill his call sheets with plays designed to involve the TE, delays off the line, screens, dive plays because he can be fooled at will. I agree with what jkilgore said but other defenders at least have the skills to read a play and react quickly to the play, however they a woefull slow, no athletes on defense but the linebacking crew is the key.

What is more disturbing to me is the defense (as Mangino pointed out in his post game interview) plays with NO intensity, NO heart, they don't flow to the ball, they don't gang tackle, even players not involved in the play don't even bother pursuing towards the ball AGAIN particularly #49. Linebackers are suppose to be the most intense players on the field, #49 more times than not won't even bother to inflict even token punishment on the opposing players.

If this defensive ineptitude can be so glaring to me in the stands and if I see this again against Colorado then clearly the defensive coaches are not doing their jobs preparing these kids.

Oh and the comment on the fans, too bad you can't move the team to play in a location when fans give a damn. I mean seriously... if you can't fill a stadium on homecoming and stay for a game that was this tight throughout then don't bother coming. Each prior game should have set attendance records but nooooo it was too cold for the crowd especially the students. Not being able to fill a stadium when you are #16 in the country have the greatest QB in Kansas history playing, two great receivers and a measure of hope to big things to come it is just embarrassing. Lawrence should never be viewed as or mentioned as a "top college sports town." ever!

Alabamastreet 6 years, 1 month ago

Sports writers, like athletes, have good and bad days. Tom you missed the mark a bit on some of the fight stories and lost some credibility. But you nailed this column. So good work today.

My time in Lawrence is only a couple of years more than your time here, but I can say the sports coverage is better on average since you and Dugan arrived. So more kudos there.

One suggestion, why don't you send a reporter out to talk to some of the students who leave and find out what their reasons are. I know your budget doesn't allow you to throw any more resources at a home game than you do, but surely the news desk could loan you someone for one Saturady afternoon.

Probably a story that has to wait until next year as I'm figuring during the last two home games the crowd will stick around unless it is a blowout, in which case reasons for leaving will be different than earlier this year.

Thanks Tom.

Alabamastreet 6 years, 1 month ago

One additional comment re my comments above, if Chuck is going to work on Saturdays, put him on the KU beat as well. I care about Haskell too, and I'm sorry about the shape it is in. However, an intern can cover those games, or a very cheap stringer, on days when Haskell and KU both have home games. Chuck can provide some additional color on the KU home coverage.

It is clear Chuck prides himself on covering some things no one else would ever cover. He seems to wear it as a badge of sportwriter honor. But resources are limited, put him on something that matters, or use those resources to pay someone else to add to your KU coverage and let Chuck have selected Saturdays off.

Markstaff 6 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, what is the deal with so many students leaving the game at the half? I would like to know their reasons. The wide areas of empty seats in the student section were embarrassing and sad.

heybluekc 6 years, 1 month ago

Why are you able to leave at halftime and then come back in anyway. No other school been to (OSU and O )the last two years on road trips allow that. Besides the student body sucks anyway. No one has a clue what is going on in a football game. They only look forward to kicks to yell obscene gestures. They are pathetic.

Armen Kurdian 6 years, 1 month ago

You don't come to a sportig event and leave before it's over. Period. Unless you genuinely have to be somewhere, that's just lazy. The team needs a full stadium for 60 minutes. Maybe some loud DE-FENSE chants might have helped the D a bit. Granted, that's not their biggest problem right now.

Jason Bailey 6 years, 1 month ago

To everyone wondering where the students were: I sit in Section 23 and was getting some concessions at the half under near the student section. Heard dozens of students talking about some party that was going on a little later. Most of them were "off to get some beer" or other statements like that.

Sounds like it was a mix of the cold + the super-party of the decade that was on tap for later that evening. At least, that's what I heard.

Gregory Newman 6 years, 1 month ago

come on you guys get off the kids. Its a Midnight Madness Itch jayhawks dribblin in the pants so they had to dance-up out of there to get a private scratch. Then you drink to the likes of 7-0; 6-11; 6-9; 6-9; 6-8 and they all can run. Sorry football I can't wait and the kids couldn't either.

truman1902 6 years, 1 month ago

From my perspective, tight end Tim Biere was the key to sustaining crucial offensive momentum..Iowa State did not have an answer to Biere's presence once he became Todd Reesing's safety outlet under pressure..Look for Tim's role to expand well into the Big 12 season..Nothing quite like watching a receiver with Tim's size grab the ball and lumber down the field repelling defenders ..The defense will have its act together in Boulder..QB Hawkins is nowhere near the athlete as the Cyclone's Arnaud!! The SACKS are coming!!

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