Kansas Rolls Past Northwestern State, 49-18
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Behind a career-high 140 rushing yards from senior Jon Cornish, Kansas opened the 2006 season with a 49-18 victory against Northwestern State at Memorial Stadium Saturday night.
A crowd of 44,025 – the largest home-opening crowd at Memorial Stadium since 1994 – saw KU win its third-straight season opener under Head Coach Mark Mangino. The win was also Kansas’ fifth-straight against non-conference foes and the seventh straight at home. The Jayhawks’ 49 points were the most in a season opener since 1992.
Kerry Meier’s debut as Kansas’ quarterback saw the redshirt-freshman throw for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Meier also rushed for two scores, including 31-yard scamper to end the scoring at 49-18 with 3:46 to play. He also scored on a one-yard plunge earlier in the fourth quarter and finished with 59 yards rushing.
Kansas scored 28 straight points behind two touchdown passes, a punt return and a fumble recovery of a blocked punt to lead Northwestern State 28-6 at halftime.
Trailing 6-0, Kansas sophomore Marcus Herford returned a kickoff 88 yards to set up KU’s first score of the season. Herford’s jaunt was the 10th longest in school history and Kansas took a 7-6 lead on a Kerry Meier 10-yard pass to Marcus Henry with 4:32 in the first quarter. Both the touchdown pass and reception were career firsts for Meier and Henry.
After a three-and-out by the Demons, KU senior Brian Murph returned a punt 70 yards to paydirt to make the score 14-6 with 1:42 to play in the first quarter.
With 8:20 remaining in the half, KU sophomore Dexton Fields blocked a Demon punt in the endzone and it was recovered by junior Jeff Foster to make the score 21-6 in favor of the Jayhawks.
After a fumble recovery by Kansas senior Eric Washington, Meier hit Murph on a 15-yard fade pass to make the score 28-6 with 6:52 remaining before intermission.
KU’s first drive of the second half saw Cornish score on a 69-yard run. The running back went on to post his fifth career 100-yard rushing game and also set a personal high with 156 all-purpose yards.
In its next tilt, Kansas will host Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 9. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. from Memorial Stadium.