A scintillating start
Here’s how Todd Reesing’s numbers stack up in the Big 12 and in the NCAA:
Category Number Big 12 rank National rank Passing yards/game 315.8 2nd 5th Total passing yards 1,579 2nd 9th Passing efficiency/QB rating 157.6 2nd 12th Total offense 336 yds/game 3rd 5th
Mark Mangino said before his Kansas University football team’s season began that fans shouldn’t expect to see any type of “Todd Reesing for Heisman” campaigning on behalf of the school.
But that didn’t stop Kansas’ eighth-year coach from making a brief plug for his senior signal-caller during Monday’s Big 12 coaches teleconference.
“We’ve only played five games, but he certainly — and this is an opinion — he certainly merits the right to be a part of the Heisman conversation,” said Mangino, whose Jayhawks are 5-0 and 1-0 in the Big 12 heading into Saturday’s 6 p.m. road matchup with Colorado (FSKC Sunflower Broadband 36, 236). “When you look at him statistically, you're impressed, but I think the true way you judge Todd Reesing is you have to see him play.
“If you watch him play, the way he just has great leadership, the way he’s in control, the way he can take what looks to be a minus-yardage play and turn it into a gain or a big gain, the real appreciation you have for Todd Reesing is after you watch him play. It’s not fair to just look at his statistics.”
At the same time, the statistics aren’t exactly hard on the eyes.
Following Saturday’s 442-yard, four-touchdown performance in a victory over Iowa State, he ranks in the top 12 nationally in passing yards (1,579, tied for ninth), passing yards per game (315.8, fifth), total offense (336, fifth) and passing efficiency (157.6, 12th) — numbers that compare favorably to the three players hyped as the Heisman favorites during the preseason: former winners Tim Tebow of Florida and Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Texas’ Colt McCoy.
Tebow and Bradford have missed time with injuries this season, while McCoy has had, by his standards, a sub-par year statistically.
Reesing, meanwhile, has quietly and successfully gone about his business, taking advantage of standout receivers Kerry Meier (43 catches, 477 yards, five touchdowns) and Dezmon Briscoe (30 catches, 517 yards, three scores) and an inexperienced offensive line that, to this point, has proved to be a pleasant surprise.
And the result has been a soft rumbling of mid-season Heisman talk surrounding the Jayhawks’ diminutive star.
“I’ve kept my word — we're not having any Heisman campaigns, and we're not going to do any of that,” Mangino said. “But I think when you watch him play, whether you're an opposing coach, an opposing fan, a broadcaster or a journalist that covers the game, you walk away saying, ‘That kid's a pretty doggone good football player.’”
Colorado starting Hansen over struggling Hawkins
After a 1-4 start — and the ensuing scrutiny that came with it — Colorado coach Dan Hawkins officially benched his starting quarterback — son Cody — this week in favor of red-shirt sophomore Tyler Hansen.
The younger Hawkins, who has struggled greatly early on, had led the Buffaloes to a surprising 14-10 halftime lead over then-No. 2 Texas on Saturday, but was benched in favor of Hansen after throwing two second-half interceptions that allowed the Longhorns to pull away for a 38-14 victory.
Following the game, Dan Hawkins and Colorado offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau indicated that Hansen will be the team’s starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, meaning the Jayhawks will spend the week preparing for a relative unknown.
“I see it as a small challenge,” said Mangino, who declined to offer his assessment of Hansen until he’d seen more film. “But I think we go back and look at last year and we know a little bit about Tyler Hansen and his background and what his really strong suits are. So it’s a challenge, but it’s not anything that’s overwhelming.”