As we reach day #76 in our countdown until Kansas football, I can only think about one thing: Nebraska.
At one point, Nebraska had beaten the Jayhawks 36 years in a row, from 1969 through 2004. Most of those games were blowouts. Sure, there were some close calls - 10-9 in 1973, 21-20 in 1993, 24-17 in 1999 - but those were few a far between. Usually, the score was 49-7, or 63-10, or 52-0.
But under Mark Mangino, that began to change. He took a beating his first year, 2002, to the tune of 45-7. In 2003, we thought we had a chance to knock off mighty Nebraska, but three Adam Barmann INTs helped KU to fall in Lawrence, 24-3, in one of the coldest games I’ve ever been to. Then 2004 produced an even more positive result, but it was still a 14-8 setback in Lincoln.
However, by 2005 the Huskers were ripe for the picking. No longer content with 10-win seasons under Frank Solich, Nebraska brought in Bill Callahan who did to the Huskers what Sheahon Zenger did to the Jayhawks. Kansas whooped Nebraska in 2005 by a 40-15 score behind two 100-rushers in Jon Cornish and Clark Green, finally ending the Big Red Curse. But that was nothing compared with what awaited Nebraska in 2007.
I wrote about this last year for the 10-year anniversary of the 2007 season, and oh what a day that was.
For 3 hours and 43 minutes, Kansas football put a hurting on Nebraska that I would contend reverberates to this day (despite the current condition of the KU program). Some fun stats from the game include:
KU punted just once, on its first possession of the game.
KU was 10-10 in the red zone, all touchdowns.
Todd Reesing’s six touchdown passes are still a school record.
Brandon McAnderson tied the school record for rushing touchdowns in a game with 4.
KU was +5 in turnover margin; zero for the Jayhawks, five for the Huskers.
KU converted 12-15 third downs, which included a kneel down at the end of the game, so really, it was 12-14.
KU ran 90 plays to Nebraska’s 73.
Nebraska set three school records that day, all of which still stand: Most touchdowns allowed in a single game (11), Most points given up in the first half of a game (48), and Most points allowed in a single game (76).
It’s a game that I don’t want to ever forget, and anytime I hear the number 76, no matter where I am, I will stop and remember that great Kansas team that hung 76 points on the Big Red N.