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24 Days Until Kansas Football: Memorial Stadium’s Highest Attended Home Games

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A rundown of the 10 highest attended games at KU’s Memorial Stadium.

Memphis v Kansas Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

I am willing to bet that you’ll never be able to guess the highest attended home game in KU football history - unless of course you scroll to the bottom and cheat.

That said, a quick history lesson. Memorial Stadium opened in 1921 as a monument to KU students who died in World War I. Only six other Division 1 schools play in older stadiums: Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Washington, and Wisconsin. Tennessee and Stanford play in stadiums that were also built in 1921.

The first game in their new stadium saw the Jayhawks defeat Kansas State 21-7 in front of just 5,160 fans, despite a capacity for 22,000. Hmm. Sounds kinda familiar... I digress.

After expansions in 1925 and 1963, Memorial got its first major renovation in 1978. Minor updates and changes occurred throughout the years, and permanent lighting was finally added in 1997. Today, Memorial’s official seating capacity is listed at 50,071.

Top 10 Crowds

10. Nebraska, 2009

Official Attendance: 51,525

Result: LOSS, 31-17

Nebraska picked up its first win in Lawrence since 2003 behind Roy Helu’s 156 yards and three touchdowns. Todd Reesing struggled in his final home game, hitting just 19-41 passes for 236 yards. Big plays allowed by the Kansas defense doomed the Jayhawks for their first five-game losing streak in seven years.

9. Kansas State, 1973

Official Attendance: 51,574

Result: WIN, 25-18

Honestly, I got nuthin on this one. Google couldn’t even give me a box score. I can tell you that this was the senior year for David Jaynes, who would finish fourth in the Heisman balloting at the end of the season. Delvin Williams was KU’s leading rusher in 1973, and Emmett Edwards led the Jayhawks in receiving. K-State was led by QB Steve Grogan, RB Isaac Jackson, and WR Henry Childs.

8. Nebraska, 2005

Official Attendance: 51,750

Result: WIN, 40-15

The 100th meeting between Kansas and Nebraska saw the Jayhawks snap an unbearable 36-game Nebraska winning streak in the series between the two schools. Clark Green and Jon Cornish each had exactly 100 rushing yards apiece, while QB Jason Swanson hit 16-27 passes for 215 yards and 2 TDs. KU held Nebraska to just 138 total yards of offense. The Jayhawks led 17-2 before Nebraska closed to 17-15. A 72-yard run by Jon Cornish with 5:35 to play in the third quarter gave KU a 24-15 lead, and a Kevin Kane pick-6 iced the game with just over five minutes to play.

7. Sam Houston State, 2008

Official Attendance: 51,767

Result: WIN, 38-14

Coming off a crushing loss at South Florida, Todd Reesing connected on 23-38 passes for 356 yards and 2 TDs. Angus Quigley actually led the Jayhawks in rushing, with 62 yards on 16 carries, while Kerry Meier and Dez Briscoe both posted over 100 receiving yards, combining for 13 receptions for 260 yards.

6. Kansas State, 2006

Official Attendance: 51,821

Result: WIN, 39-20

Senior Day 2006 was loads of fun for everyone, probably even Kerry Meier, who struggled at quarterback for KU, hitting just 11-23 passes for 108 yards with 2 INTs. Fortunately, Jon Cornish ran for 204 yards on 25 carries. It also helped that K-State turned the ball over six times - three INTs and three fumbles.

5. Nebraska, 2007

Official Attendance: 51,910

Result: WIN, 76-39

Oh yeah, this game! All I’m gonna say about this game is that 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).

4. Texas, 2008

Official Attendance: 51,930

Result: LOSS, 35-7

Kansas played the visiting Longhorns close for two and a half quarters, but Colt McCoy outdueled Todd Reesing to lead the ‘Horns to victory following a decisive third quarter. Trailing just 14-0 at halftime, Kansas trailed 21-7 with 7:46 left, but by the time the fourth quarter began, Texas had built a 35-7 lead that would end up as the final score.

3. Florida International, 2008

Official Attendance: 52,112

Result: WIN, 40-10

The season opener following the Orange Bowl, Kansas built a 30-10 halftime lead before cruising through the second half. Todd Reesing hit on 37-52 passes for 256 yards and 3 TDs, with Kerry Meier and Dez Briscoe hauling in nine receptions apiece.

2. Kansas State, 2008

Official Attendance: 52,230

Result: WIN, 52-21

Remember that time when KU took a 31-0 lead at halftime on K-State, then cruised to a 45-7 fourth quarter lead before K-State made it look not-as-bad-as-it-really-was 52-21? Cuz I do. Jake Sharp was the man in this one, going off for 181 yards on just 21 carries, taking the ball into the end zone four times. Sharp was also KU’s leading receiver on the day, hauling in five passes for 76 yards. James Holt had two sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.

  1. Northern Colorado, 2009

Official Attendance: 52,530

Result: WIN, 49-3

Coming off back-to-back bowl wins, Todd Reesing completed 13-20 passes for 208 yards to go along with 79 rushing yards as KU demolished Northern Colorado in the 2009 season opener. Jake Sharp went for 123 yards on 21 carries while Kerry Meier turned 5 receptions into 115 yards.