A look at news and notes from this week about the Jayhawks and their upcoming game....
The Good Guys...
- Steven Foster may have found a home at defensive end.
- The Springer Twins, Justin and Jeremy, will face off this week.
- Jake Laptad a coaches dream.
- Tanner Hawkinson successful through one game at protecting Todd Reesing's blind side.
- The Jayhawks look for a better result in their first road game of the season in 2009 vs. 2008.
- UDK piece on everybody's favorite head hunting kicker, Jacob Branstetter.
- Bill Miller brings experience to a young defensive staff.
- Change has been a good thing for Brad Thorson.
- UTEP's passing game will look to test the Jayhawk secondary.
- Chris Harris looks to have regained some of his 2007 confidence.
- KC Star Game Preview
The Bad Guys...
- UTEP looks to cut down on penalties after a tough first game with the zebra's.
- QB Trevor Vittatoe looks to be a threat through the air and on the ground.
- Miners focused for this years biggest home game.
- El Paso Times piece on Reesing and the rise of the Jayhawks
Last week the Jayhawks put together a convincing win against an inferior opponent. A new found running game and a more balanced attack met the Jayhawks to start 2009 although much of that might be attributed to Northern Colorado's focus on limiting the pass. Regardless of how well things looked though, the Bears did expose some potential chinks in the armor.
On the other sideline, on all accounts UTEP played pretty poorly for at least half a game last week and ultimately it ended up costing them. The question is whether they can rally against a big time opponent and make things difficult in their own backyard.
My thought is this, Kansas defense will still be looking to find itself a bit but I just don't think that alone will be enough for UTEP to upset the Jayhawks. This one might get up and down but Kansas' offense has now shown they will be very difficult to stop. Throw Dezmon Briscoe back in the mix and it will take a pretty big UTEP defensive effort to stop the Jayhawks attack.
In terms of the Kansas defense, I don't look for things to settle here and I'm expecting a few changes on the depth chart in this one across the board. With that said, we'll get closer but the Jayhawks will still be vulnerable. In the end though Kansas stops UTEP more than the UTEP stops Kansas and the Jayhawks will win the turnover battle with some fairly savvy defenders running around and making plays.
My final thought is this, look for Kansas to go for the jugular early with a big play on the opening drive. From there Kansas keeps their foot on the gas and surprises many with a relatively easier win than expected.
Final Score: Kansas 42 UTEP 24
Supplemental Notes and more things to look for after the jump...
DID YOU KNOW? -- While Kansas has never played UTEP, the Jayhawks have played in the school's home stadium - the Sun Bowl. The Jayhawks met Pittsburgh in the Sun Bowl on Christmas Day to cap the 1975 season. The Jayhawks lost 33-19 to the Panthers as Tony Dorsett rushed for 142 yards for Pittsburgh. Kansas was led by Laverne Smith, who rushed for 118 yards and Nolan Cromwell, who added 99 yards on the ground. Nearly 4,000 KU fans made the trip to El Paso for the game and were part of a then-Sun Bowl record crowd of 30,272.
DID YOU KNOW? -- Sure its only after one week, but Kansas is tied for the national lead in four NCAA offensive statistical categories including fewest tackles for loss allowed (1.00), fewest sacks allowed (0.00), fourth-down efficiency (100.0 percent) and red-zone efficiency (100.o percent). KU was two of two on fourth downs and scored on all six of its trips in the red zone against Northern Colorado last week.
This Week's Game
KU-UTEP SERIES -- Kansas and UTEP will be meeting for the first time in school history. In fact, each of KU's four non-conference games this year are first-time meetings.
KU VS. CONFERENCE USA -- Kansas owns a 16-9 record against current members of Conference USA all time. The last time the Jayhawks played a member of the league was its 42-13 victory against Houston
in the 2005 Fort Worth Bowl. The last regular season meeting against a Conference USA opponent was a 21-3 victory against Tulsa to open the 2004 campaign.
KU AND THE STATE OF TEXAS -- This will be the first of three trips to the state of Texas for the Jayhawks, who will also play at Texas Tech on Oct. 31 and at Texas on Nov. 21. KU's last trip to the state was
a 19-11 win at Texas A&M in 2007. KU is 2-5 in the state in the Mark Mangino era with a win against Houston in Fort Worth in 2005 and the win at Texas A&M in 2007.
TEXAS JAYHAWKS -- Kansas features 35 players on its roster from the state of Texas. That figure is the most of any state as KU has 23 players from its own state, 11 from Oklahoma and eight from Missouri for its biggest areas. KU starters from the lone star state include WR Dezmon Briscoe (Dallas), LB Drew Dudley (College Station), OC Jeremiah Hatch (Dallas), DE Maxwell Onyegbule (Arlington), CB Daymond Patterson (Mesquite), QB Todd Reesing (Austin), LB Justin Springer (Los Fresnos) and LB Arist Wright (Houston).
KU-UTEP CONNECTIONS -- KU LB Justin Springer's twin brother Jeremy is a LB at UTEP... In addition to the 35 players KU lists from the state of Texas, several KU coaches have ties to the state: KU LB coach Bill Miller played at Texas-Arlington and coached one year at his alma mater... KU WR coach David Beaty was a successful high school coach in the state at several schools before coaching wide receivers at Rice in 2006-07... KU RB and special teams coach Louie Matsakis was on staffs at Texas Tech and Texas State-San Marcos.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR AGAINST UTEP
- KU is looking to start a season 2-0 for the sixth consecutive season.
- KU has won three straight games dating back to last season.
- KU has recorded three sacks in each of its last three games dating back to last year.
- QB Todd Reesing (8,392) needs 30 total yards for ninth on the Big 12 career total offense list.
- Reesing has thrown a touchdown pass in 19 consecutive games.
- RB Jake Sharp (1,933) needs 38 yards to move past Kerwin Bell (1,970) for 10th on the KU career rushing
- Sharp (20) needs one rushing touchdown to tie three others for sixth on the KU career rushing touchdown list and two to tie David Winbush (22) for fifth.
- Sharp (54) needs three receptions to pass Robert Miller (56) for third on the KU career receptions by a running back list.
- WR Kerry Meier (129) needs five receptions to pass Willie Vaughn (133) for third on the KU career receptions list.
- Meier (10) needs one touchdown reception to tie for ninth on the KU career touchdown receptions list.
- Meier has caught at least two passes in 22 consecutive games.
- S Darrell Stuckey (7) needs one interception to tie Richard Bertuzzi (8) for 10th on the KU career interceptions list.
- DE Jake Laptad (12) needs three sacks to move past Nick Reid (14) for ninth on the KU career sacks list.
- WR Dezmon Briscoe has produced four straight 100-yard receiving games.
- Briscoe (7) needs one 100-yard game to tie Willie Vaughn for first on the KU career 100-yard receiving games list.
- Briscoe has caught at least two passes in 19 consecutive games.
- Briscoe (1,903) needs 95 yards to pass Richard Estell (1,997) for third on the KU career receiving yards list.
DID YOU KNOW? -- The Kansas at UTEP game features two of the nation's top active passers in Jayhawk Todd Reesing and Miner Trevor Vittatoe. Vittatoe ranks fourth (264.3) and Reesing fifth (259.5) among active quarterbacks in career passing yards per game. Reesing's 70 career touchdown passes are sixth among active players behind Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Tim Hiller, Dan LeFevour and Nate Davis, but ahead of such seniors as Tim Tebow, Max Hall, Zac Robinson, Matt Grothe and Juice Williams.
FIRST-TIME STARTERS -- Seven Jayhawks made their first career starts in the season opener including LT Tanner Hawkinson, LG Brad Thorson and RG Sal Capra on offense and DE Maxwell Onyegbule, DT Patrick Dorsey, LB Drew Dudley and CB Anthony Davis on defense.
FRESHMEN SEE PLAYING TIME -- Against Northern Colorado 11 freshmen saw action including three true freshmen in WR Bradley McDougald, LB Huldon Tharp and RB Toben Opurum. Redshirt freshmen who played for the first time included QB Kale Pick, S Lubbock Smith, CB Greg Brown, OL Trevor Marrongelli, OL John Williams, OL Tanner Hawkinson, DE D.J. Marshall and DT Duane Zlatnik.
OFFENSIVE NOTES -- KU rushed for 334 yards vs. Northern Colorado, the first 300-yard rushing game for the Jayhawks since 2001... KU produced 553 yards of total offense vs. UNC, its most in its last 15
games... KU did not commit a turnover against UNC (had two games last year without a turnover - Louisiana Tech and Colorado)... KU scored touchdowns on all six of its trips into the red zone... Three Jayhawks scored two touchdowns each against UNC including QB Todd Reesing, RB Jake Sharp and RB Toben Opurum... KU had two 80-plus yard scoring drives against UNC... KU had two 10-plus play drives against the Bears... KU scored on seven of its 10 possessions and punted just twice against UNC... KU converted eight of 12 thirddown
attempts against UNC... Four different Jayhawks had runs of 20 or more yards, including both quarterbacks... KU had only one play that lost yards against Northern Colorado, a team rush that lost six yards.
DEFENSIVE NOTES -- KU allowed just three points, the fewest its allowed since shutting out Louisiana Tech in the second game of last year... UNC's 246 total yards were the fewest allowed by KU since limiting Colorado to 233 in the sixth game of last year... KU allowed two 10-plus play drives by UNC, but neither resulted in points (both punts) and the two drives combined for only 51 yards... UNC reached KU's 20-yard line just twice in 10 possessions and scored one field goal... KU allowed only two plays of more than 20 yards by UNC.