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Hawk Talk: Kansas v K-State Tailgate Edition

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News and Notes from the week that was leading up to this weekends matchup...

The Good Guys...

The Bad Guys...

Denver's Take...

Time to put up or shut up.  Kansas takes on rival Kansas State today and if there is to remain any hope of still winning the North it absolutely must begin with a win today.  Eight weeks ago that seemed a near certainty but today that isn't the case.

Kansas has to play more disciplined, with more fire and come together as a group more than they have at any point this year if they want to overcome their struggles of late.  Kansas State probably doesn't have the talent that the Jayhawks have but they certainly appear to have the intangibles at the current moment. 

As I said earlier this week, find me the Todd Reesing fist pump.  Bring back the Dezmon Briscoe that fights for every yard after the catch.  Find me Kerry Meier on 3rd or 4th down for just enough to move the chains.  Give me the Darrell Stuckey lighting up players in the backfield and covering an 80 yard field to make a touchdown saving tackle.  These guys are the leaders of this team and it's time to get back to leading.

Players only meeting this week.  Things were said that everyone on the team knew but they needed to be put out there.  Very positive feel afterward and make no mistake if this team needed any extra motivation to get things back on track, playing Kansas State has provided it.  I do expect some changes in personnel in a few areas and my hope is Kansas can run the ball effectively as they did early in the year, take what they are given in the passing game, avoid turnovers, keep the fire and improvement on defense and lastly do not give up any big plays on special teams. Pretty cliche football talk but at this point Kansas need not worry about executing anything but the cliche's.  Start with that, execute, play fundamental football and then we can think about the next step. 

Sunflower showdown in a few short hours.  Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

More Notes and Things to Look for After the Jump...

KU-KSU SERIES -- Kansas leads the all-time series 65-36-5 as this week will be the 107th meeting all time between the two schools. The Jayhawks have three straight and four of the last five in the series. Prior to the recent KU streak, the Wildcats had won 11 consecutive games in the series.

KU-KSU LAST YEAR
-- Behind a career-high 181 rushing yards and a school-record tying four touchdowns by Jake Sharp, KU defeated Kansas State 52-21 on Nov. 1 at Lawrence, Kan. The 31-point margin
was the largest for KU since it beat KSU 38-7 in 1985 and was the third straight win for KU in the series. Sharp also caught five passes for 76 yards en route to 257 all-purpose yards. KU forced K-State into five turnovers, including two interceptions by then senior DE Russell Brorsen. KU ran up 468 yards of total offense to KState's 355. KU built up a 31-0 halftime lead en route to the victory.

KU-KSU LAST TIME AT MANHATTAN -- WR Dexton Fields pulled in the game-winning fourth quarter touchdown pass with 6:27 left as KU upset then No. 24 Kansas State at Manhattan on Oct. 6, 2007. The victory was KU's first against a ranked team on the road since 1995 and stopped an eight-game losing streak at Manhattan. KU had started the season 4-0 and found itself trailing for the first time on the young season when the Wildcats scored in the first quarter. KU scored to tie it at seven before KSU went ahead again 14-7. The Jayhawks tied it at 14 at halftime and then went ahead midway through the third on a 28-yard pass from Todd Reesing to Dezmon Briscoe. KSU pulled back ahead after a field goal and a touchdown to lead 24-21 with 7:32 left in the game. Fields caught a 30-yard pass and Scott Webb kicked a field goal with 2:21 left for the final scoring. CB Aqib Talib intercepted a pass on KSU's final possession to seal the game. KU had 437 total yards to KSU's 363. The Jayhawks intercepted three passes, as in addition to Talib's pick, DE John Larson had an interception and CB Kendrick Harper picked one off in his first game as a Jayhawk.

KU-KSU SERIES NOTABLE -- KU's 52 points last year were its second most in the series (won 55-0 in 1947)... KU has scored at least 30 points in each of its last five wins in the series (average of 36.6 points in the wins), while scoring no more than 16 in any of the previous 12 losses (average of 8.3 points per loss)... Current KU Head Coach Mark Mangino was an assistant at KSU from 1991-98 and owns an 11-4 record in the series, including a 4-3 mark at Kansas... KU's 106 meetings with Kansas State make it the third-most played series in school history (117 vs. Missouri and 115 vs. Nebraska)... The 98 consecutive meetings makes it the nation's fourth longest uninterrupted series behind Kansas vs. Nebraska, Minnesota vs. Wisconsin and Clemson vs. South Carolina (KU's 97 meetings with Oklahoma rank as the fi fth-longest series).

THINGS TO LOOK FOR AGAINST KANSAS STATE:

  • RB Jake Sharp (2,143) needs 103 rushing yards to pass Jon Cornish (2,245) for ninth place and 106 rushing yards to pass L.T. Levine for eighth place on the KU career rushing yardage list.
  • WR Kerry Meier (1,990) needs just 10 receiving yards to become the fourth Jayhawk in school history to record 2,000 career receiving yards.
  • Meier (16) needs one more touchdown catch to tie for second on the KU career touchdown receptions list.
  • WR Dezmon Briscoe and WR Kerry Meier both have 189 career receptions to tie for the KU career receptions record.
  • Briscoe (3,240) needs just 16 all-purpose yards to pass former Jayhawk All-American Ray Evans (3,259) for seventh on the KU all-purpose yardage list.
  • Briscoe has caught at least seven passes in four straight games, at least four in 11 straight and at least two in 26 consecutive games.
  • DE Jake Laptad (16.5) needs just one sack to move into fifth on the KU career sacks list (Nate Dwyer and Dana Stubblefield both had 17).
  • QB Todd Reesing (9,963) needs just 37 yards to become the fifth player in Big 12 history to throw for 10,000 yards in a career.

COSTLY TURNOVERS -- Kansas committed seven turnovers in the first six games combined, but had seven miscues in the last two games combined. The seven turnovers in the last two contests led directly to
six touchdowns. In addition the two turnovers at Colorado three games ago led to 14 Buffalo points meaning KU's last nine turnovers have led to eight opponent touchdowns. In the first five games, KU's five turnovers only led to one opponent score.

OPPONENTS GIVEN SHORT FIELD -- The opponents have started seven drives on the KU side of the 50-yard line in the last three games and the result has been six touchdown on those seven occasions.  Colorado took possession on the KU three and one yard lines, Oklahoma started a drive on the KU 46, while Texas Tech scored touchdowns on drives of six, 23 and 19 yards. In addition the opponents' defense has scored directly off two KU turnovers in that time with an interception return by Oklahoma and a fumble return by Texas Tech for touchdowns.

GETTING THE QUARTERBACK
-- Kansas has recorded 24 sacks through eight games after registering just 29 sacks in 13 games last season. KU's three sacks per game are tied for 11th in the NCAA. KU has recorded at least five sacks in three different games with six at UTEP and five vs. Duke and five at Texas Tech. Saturday against Tech, KU's five sacks all came in the first half and were by five different players.