Jayhawks Hit the Road to Face Northwestern

Sept. 15, 2004

LAWRENCE, Kan. — After opening the season with back-to-back wins at home, the University of Kansas (2-0) football team makes its first road trip of the season on Saturday afternoon as the Jayhawks head to Evanston, Ill., for a matchup against Northwestern (0-2). Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. from NU’s Ryan Field.

“Northwestern is deceiving at 0-2,” said KU head coach Mark Mangino. “We think Northwestern is a good football team. They are very physical on the offensive and defensive lines. Their quarterback is outstanding. This will be the third week in a row that we are playing against a top notch quarterback.”

Northwestern enters the game against the Jayhawks on a two-game losing streak after falling to Arizona State 30-21 last week at home and at TCU 48-45 in overtime in the season opener. The Wildcats were 6-7 in 2003 and return 19 starters from last year’s Motor City Bowl team that lost to Bowling Green 28-24 in Detroit, Mich.

The Kansas defense has led the team all season — holding Tulsa to just three points in the season opener and forcing five turnovers last week against Toledo (two INTs, three fumbles). Senior safety Tony Stubbs leads the Big 12 with an average of 10.5 tackles per game and junior linebacker Nick Reid checks in fourth with an average of 9.0 stops per contest.

“It (good defensive play) comes from believing in one another. I think that unit is becoming a close-knit bunch of kids. They have confidence in each other now, and I think our coaching staff has done a great job of preparing these kids. We are more athletic and better on defensive than at any time since we’ve been here.”

Facing the Wildcats, the Jayhawks will be looking for their first 3-0 start since the 1997 season when the team opened the year with consecutive victories over UAB, TCU and Missouri.

Fans can listen to the play-by-play of the game on the radio by tuning in to any of the Jayhawk Radio Network affiliates. KU’s pre-game show, the Crimson and Blue Line, begins at 11:50 a.m.