Kansas Crushes Northwestern State, 49-18

Sept. 2, 2006


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Behind a career-high 140 rushing yards by senior Jon Cornish, <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas opened the 2006 season with a 49-18 victory against NorthwesternState at Memorial Stadium on 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 games’ 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 NorthwesternState 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.