Kansas Rolls Over Central Michigan 52-7 In Season Opener
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas offense was firing on all cylinders in its season-opening game as the Jayhawks dominated Central Michigan 52-7 before a crowd of 46,815 at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. The win gave the Jayhawks a season-opening victory for the fourth-straight year.
A pair of Jayhawk running backs notched 100-yard games for the first time since 2005 as senior Brandon McAnderson and sophomore Jake Sharpe each eclipsed the century mark for the first time in their Kansas careers. McAnderson finished the game with 110 yards on 16 carries, all of which came in the first half. Sharp handled the load in the second half and finished the game with 106 yards on 15 rushes.
McAnderson powered his way down the field on Kansas’ second possession, collecting 51 yards on eight carries, before sophomore quarterback Todd Reesing tossed the first of his four touchdown passes to senior tight end Derek Fine. Fine’s three-yard reception put KU up 7-0 with 7:21 left in the opening frame.
Freshman wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe hauled in the first TD of his career on a 16-yard pass from Reesing with 3:25 to go in the first quarter to push the Jayhawk lead to 14-0.
The two teams traded punts on back-to-back possessions to open the second quarter of play, but a high snap sailed over CMU punter Tony Mikulec’s head on the Chippewa’s second punt giving the Jayhawks excellent field position. On the ensuing possession, Reesing picked up a first down on a 12-yard rush and then connected with senior wide receiver Marcus Henry for a 46-yard score extending the lead to 21-0.
With the Kansas defense forcing the CMU offense to punt for the sixth time in the game, KU sophomore Raimond Pendleton made the score 28-0 when he returned a punt 77 yards to pay dirt. The 77-yard return tied for the 11th longest in school history.
Reesing closed out the half by hitting junior Aquib Talib on a 49-yard touchdown pass for a 35-0 halftime lead. The TD catch was the second of Talib’s career.
Sharp was the ground force for the Jayhawks in the second half. He carried the ball five times on Kansas’ opening possession of the third quarter, tallying 52 yards and a touchdown as the Jayhawks went ahead 42-0. Senior kicker Scott Webb made it 45-0 by knocking through a 34-yard field goal, his only attempt of the game.
Central Michigan avoided the shut out with a seven-yard pass from Dan LeFevour to Kito Poblah to close out the third quarter of play.
Sharp picked up 30 more rushing yards on the first possession of the final quarter, before sophomore quarterback Kerry Meier competed a 21-yard pass to Pendleton for the final points of the game.
Kansas piled up 538 yards of total offense on the evening, with six different players scoring touchdowns. Reesing finished the game completing 20 of his 29 pass attempts, good for 261 yards and four TDs.
Henry led the Jayhawk receiving corps with seven receptions for 103, both career highs. Fine hauled in five passes for 30 yards, while junior Dexton Fields had four catches for 49 yards.
The Jayhawk defense held Central Michigan to 294 yards of total offense and just seven points with junior linebacker James Holt and freshman cornerback Chris Harris leading the way with nine tackles a piece. Junior linebacker Joe Mortenson added eight tackles, including one sack for minus-10 yards.
LeFevour was 19-for-37 for the game for the Chippewas, amassing 172 yards and one TD. He also rushed nine times for 26 yards. Justin Hoskins led the CMU rushing attack with four rushes for 27 yards, while Bryan Anderson was the leading receiver with seven catches for 62 yards on the night.
Kansas will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 8, when they play host to Southeastern Louisiana. Game time is slated for 6 p.m., at Memorial Stadium.