Kansas cruises to 9-0

Kansas running back Brandon McAnderson races into the end zone for the Jayhawks' final touchdown against Nebraska. McAnderson tied a school record with four rushing TDs, and KU set a handful of other records in a 76-39 rout of the once-mighty Huskers on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Holy Husker, Batman! What on earth was THAT?

Kansas University’s football team didn’t just win Saturday. It trampled the Memorial Stadium end zones to near-death. When the smoke cleared – if it ever did, or ever will – Kansas had a 76-39 victory over Nebraska. The same Nebraska program that unmercifully pounded the Jayhawks many, many times in the last 40 years.

Seventy-six. That’s 11 touchdowns with one missed point-after – a day the historians will work overtime to sort out.

“I looked up at the scoreboard,” linebacker Mike Rivera said, “and it was hard to believe.”

Consider a sliver of what was achieved on Saturday:

¢ Kansas never has scored more points in a conference game.

¢ Nebraska never has allowed more points in ANY game.

¢ The 115 combined points are the most ever in a contest involving KU.

¢ Quarterback Todd Reesing’s six touchdown passes are a school record.

¢ Brandon McAnderson’s four touchdown runs tie a school record.

¢ Even when the Huskers were a national power a generation ago, they never put more than 70 on the lowly Jayhawks. KU was almost there in the third quarter Saturday.

The milestones go on and on and on – enough reason to take the KU record book and smash it to bits with a sledgehammer. It’s worthless now.

Lost in the shuffle, somehow, was the fact that No. 8 Kansas improved to 9-0 overall and 5-0 in Big 12 Conference play. Which raised the question to KU coach Mark Mangino: What if someone would’ve told you three months ago that you’d win your first nine?

“I’d ask them what they’re drinking,” Mangino replied, “and see if I could get some of it.”

Yet here the Jayhawks are, three games left in the regular season and still holding a round zero in the loss column. It really is remarkable.

“I’m not going to stand here and tell you that I knew we were going to be 9-0. That’s foolishness,” Mangino said. “But I thought we had a chance to have a really good team.”

Not only are the Jayhawks good, they’re good everywhere. After the defense carried KU to victory at Texas A&M last week, the offense had a day for the ages Saturday back at home.

Kansas went three-and-out on the first drive of the game, then scored touchdowns on its next 10 possessions. Reesing managed the machine brilliantly, completing 30 of 41 passes for 354 yards and six touchdowns.

More impressive, though, was the efficiency of the entire unit the entire day. Kansas ran 90 offensive plays, compiled 572 total yards and had one penalty, no fumbles and no interceptions. Oh yeah, and 76 points.

Really, can it get much better?

“Obviously, a lot has to go right,” Reesing said. “We were moving the ball pretty good there. Running the ball, passing the ball – having a good mix.”

Defensively, Kansas was caught off-guard by the pass-heavy game plan of Nebraska (4-6, 1-5). NU quarterback Joe Ganz, as a result, ended up throwing for 405 yards and four touchdowns.

But KU’s five takeaways – and the offense’s Zeus-like effort – made it a moot point. Heck, Ganz probably could’ve thrown for 1,000 yards and not overshadowed KU’s work on the other side.

“Unbelievable,” said Mike Wall, a representative for the Fiesta Bowl who was in attendance. “This offense is one of the most exciting I’ve seen.”

Some of the 51,910 in attendance (a Memorial Stadium record) surely were a bit dizzy when it was all over. A 76-39 score isn’t so shocking for a Kansas-Nebraska showdown – in basketball.

But in football, it’s an unprecedented beatdown. One that will surely be talked about for years to come.

“I had conversations throughout the game with our offensive coaches,” Mangino said. “We just said, ‘Just keep running the offense. Let’s keep rolling, run our system. Let the kids see if they can make some plays.’

“Now, I didn’t think we were going to score 76 points today. But the kids played really well. They played smart, sharp football.”

The Jayhawks are continuing to keep it business-like, even as the victories pile up on top of one another. Mangino said the locker room after Saturday’s game was “happy, joyful, but there wasn’t any wild celebration.”

With more work to do, the Jayhawks won’t be spending time patting their own backs. But rest assured, at least a few of them recognize the magnitude of what they pulled off against the Huskers.

It was, to sum it up in one word, historical.

“This is one of those games,” Reesing said, “that you’re never going to forget.”