For the #8 performance of 2009 we head back to the non conference slate and a trip to El Paso Texas to play in the Sun Bowl. Headed into the season UTEP in El Paso appeared to be a fairly decent test for the Kansas Jayhawks as many viewed the Miners as a decent opponent and a potentially tough place to play.
In this one Kansas clicked fairly well on all cylinders. The Jayhawk defense would turn some heads in what proved to be a bit of a misleading performance. The Kansas offense would also put up some impressive numbers with over 575 yards of offense despite struggling at times in the red zone.
At this point in the season the balance of the Kansas offense was also one of the more positive discussions surrounding the 2009 Jayhawks. A running game to go with the passing attack looked very likely, and that's exactly where our #8 performance of 2009 comes from.
Jake Sharp came into the UTEP game as the clear cut number one running back after earning the job in the offseason. In the first game of the season Sharp saw plenty of carries against a division 1AA team and put up numbers to match. Against UTEP, a team more well thought of, Sharp would again impress by carrying the load for the running game
Sharp would carry the ball 16 times against the miners for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns. His 6.5 yards per carry average would be the tops for a Kansas running back all season. Sharp would also contribute in the passing game with 6 receptions for 29 yards and a touchdown.
Sharps first touchdown would come on a pretty simple one yard run out of the shotgun. Sharp took the ball and after a nimble spin move found his way acrsoss the goaline.
Sharps second touchdown would come on a reception from Reesing late in the 2nd quarter. Sharp would run the wheel route out of the backfield and make a nice catch over the shoulder just across the goaline.
Jake's final score would come in the middle of the third on a three yard carry putting the Jayhawks up 27-0 at which point Sharp would see minimal action for the remainder. This would be Sharps last full game at full strength with Kansas and his injury certainly factored into the struggles of the Kansas offense for 2009.
Still the performance against UTEP was an impressive one as Sharp looked like a senior back prepared to be a focal point for his team in his final season. Jake Sharp vs. UTEP, #8 on the countdown of top 10 performances for 2009.