Reesing, Jayhawks Down Sam Houston State, 38-14

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas junior quarterback Todd Reesing threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns to lead the No. 19 Jayhawk football team to a 38-14 victory against Sam Houston State here Saturday night.

The victory was KU’s 12th straight at Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium as KU improved to 3-1 on the season. Sam Houston State dropped to 1-1 on the year.

In a battle of quarterbacks, Reesing went 23-for-38 for 356 yards and two touchdowns to outshine SHSU’s Rhett Bomar, who went for 26-for-46 for 340 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. The three KU interceptions led to 21 of Kansas’ 38 points.

For Reesing, it marked his third-straight game of 350-plus passing yards this season. Additionally, the junior from Austin, Texas, broke the school record for most 200-yard passing games with 14 for his career, including all four games in 2008.

For the second straight week, one of Reesing’s favorite targets was junior Kerry Meier, who had eight catches for a career-high 136 yards, surpassing his career best of 120 receiving yards set at South Florida on September 12. Jayhawk sophomore wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe had his second 100-yard receiving game of the year with 124 yards on five catches. Both Meier and Briscoe were recipients of Reesing touchdown throws in the game.

Kansas’ defense allowed a season-low 45 rushing yards on 16 attempts for the Bearkats as the Jayhawks outgained SHSU 528 to 385 in total offense.

After a scoreless first quarter, Kansas pinned SHSU deep in its own territory. KU junior Darrell Stuckey intercepted a Bomar pass with 10:27 to play in the second quarter and returned the ball 14 yards to the SHSU one-yard line. Reesing then scored on the next play, a one-yard plunge, to give KU a 7-0 lead. For Reesing it was his second rushing touchdown of the season and seventh of his career.

On the ensuing possession, SHSU drove to the KU 18-yard line before Jayhawk redshirt freshman Isiah Barfield picked off a Bomar pass and returned it 16 yards to the KU 34. Three plays later Reesing hit Meier on a 68-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-0 in favor of the Jayhawks at the 7:02 mark. The 68-yard pass was the longest for KU this season and the second longest in the last four years for Kansas (Marcus Henry’s 82-yard TD catch at Oklahoma State last year).

Sam Houston State used a short field for its lone score of the half, a Bomar eight-yard quarterback draw to make the score 14-7 in favor of KU with 1:57 before intermission. The Bearkats only had to drive 36 yards as KU failed on a fourth and inches.

KU then used its two-minute offense to end the first half scoring when Reesing connected with Briscoe on a 57-yard touchdown pass. On the play, Reesing scrambled out of numerous Bearkat would-be tacklers before finding a streaking Briscoe behind the SHSU secondary.

Kansas took the second half kickoff and drove the ball 44 yards in five plays to up its lead to 28-7 on a Jocques Crawford two-yard score. On the ensuing drive Sam Houston State covered 79 yards in four plays with Bomar hitting Justin Wells on a 46-yard strike to make the score 28-14 with 12:58 to play in the third quarter. Later in the period KU freshman kicker Jacob Branstetter connected on a 24-yard to end an 11-play drive for the Jayhawks to make the score 31-14.

In his first career start, KU junior Angus Quigley made the score 38-14 on a one-yard run up the middle to cap an 11-play, 79-yard drive which ate up 6:51 off the clock. Quigley led KU with 61 yards rushing on 16 carries for the game. The drive was set up when KU junior Justin Thornton intercepted a Bomar pass with 1:15 left in the third quarter.

Kansas will take a week off before opening Big 12 play at Iowa State on Oct. 4. Game time from Jack Trice Stadium is to be announced.

Kansas Quotes
Kansas Head Coach Mark Mangino Quotes:
On the team’s performance today:
“First of all, I thought that Sam Houston State did a good job of coming here and being prepared, and they played really hard and really well. I thought we played okay. I don’t think there was anything that was remarkable about our play tonight. I think we got a win, which is a key thing, but we still have areas that we must improve in before Big 12 Conference play.”

On the success of third-down conversions:
“That was a bright spot. That was something that we did well. We still have to be able to put ourselves in situations where we’re not in a lot of third-down situations. We get ourselves in a lot of third-down situations that I don’t like.”

On Reesing’s pass to Briscoe:
“I think Todd did make some plays happen tonight, and I think he’ll be the first to admit that he flushed the pocket on several occasions where there was protection. He threw off his front foot, jumping in the air and throwing it, and I talked to him about it. I just want him to play quarterback, and I don’t want him to think that he has to do everything. Obviously he believes that somewhere, somebody told him that he needs to be the whole show. He doesn’t. He has a good supporting cast there, and he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself to make too many plays. He flushed the pocket several times when he didn’t have to. He told me he realized it and he settled down in the second half.”

On offensive blocking:
“I thought the perimeter was better in the run game. I think the offensive line still needs work, and we’re not just talking about the freshman guys here. We’re talking about veteran guys, and I told some of those guys that they need to get it moving, or we’re going to have to find some younger kids that will get in there and create some creases in the run game. We ran the ball decent in the beginning, and then we didn’t run as well as I’d like to. The running backs did an adequate job tonight, but in the offensive line we’ve got to get better at creating some creases and finishing blocks in the run game. That’s an urgent need for us.”

Kansas Player Quotes
Junior Quarterback Todd Reesing
On Kerry Meier’s play at wide receiver:
“It’s really unbelievable what he does on the field, because of the amount of time he spends working with the wideouts is not much at all. He still has to be ready as a quarterback if he has to play in certain situations. His work at wideout is limited, so for him to go out there and make the plays he does game after game is unbelievable. You can’t coach that and you can’t teach that. It’s just his ability to make plays as a receiver.”

On the 57-yard TD pass to Dezmon Briscoe:
“I guess I just pulled a rabbit out of the hat there. I just kept running around, and I picked up some good blocks from my offensive line who stayed with the play. They know when I’m back there, they never know what will happen. They get a little upset about it sometimes, but they stayed with the play and Briscoe found a way to get open. We made a big play there.”

On trying to do too much:
“We don’t want to be scrambling around too much. We want to be able to sit in the pocket and execute our offense. The main thing is knowing when there is a chance to make a big play through scrambling and when to just tuck the ball and get what I can. On the fumble that I had, I tried to do a little too much and I bobbled it. I should have tucked it and taken what I could have got. But that’s how I play, I’m going to go out there and try and make a play every time. I just need to know when I have a chance to make one and when not to force things.”

On the running game:
“I thought we did a good job. We got the run established early. We hit some big plays, so we didn’t have a chance to get a drive going through running plays. We bounced back in the end and did some good things in the running game. I thought Angus and Jocques both ran the ball well. I thought we did a better job, but we still have a lot of improvement to make.

Junior Running Back Angus Quigley
On his first start as a Jayhawk:
“It was fun. It was a little different. I’ve worked hard and I’m just happy to have gotten that opportunity.”

On trying to become the team’s featured back:”We’re just going to continue to work. Whatever the coaches go with, then that’s what I’m going to go with. We’re just trying to get this run game going and get these numbers up.”

On the shake-up in the starting lineup:”I’ve been playing a little more in these past few games. I guess Coach figured that I could help the team out, so I got my first career start tonight. I was happy about that, but I know we’re going to just keep trying to improve.”

Junior Wide Receiver Raimond Pendleton
On getting the start:
“I was told that I would be starting on Thursday after meetings. I brought a lot of intensity in practice and I felt like I blocked well this week. Blocking was an emphasis all week in practice. We were supposed to block until we heard the whistle. I thought I did a good job of blocking tonight.”

Junior Safety Darrell Stuckey
On the defense making the first big play of the game:
“It felt good to be on the field and play together as a defense. It was nice to come up big and put our offense in the position to score. We did a great job tonight and I think we came together as a defense.”

On wanting to get into the end zone after his interception:
“I wanted to get in the end zone pretty bad. I beat myself up pretty bad about it, but it happens.”

On the Sam Houston State offense:
“Their offense played hard and they have a lot of heart. Rhett (Bomar) is a great quarterback. He played very well and put balls where they needed to be. He did a lot of great things, scrambling-wise and reading coverages. He did a lot of good things and kept us on our toes all night. I respect him a lot.”

Sam Houston Quotes
Sam Houston State Head Coach Todd Whitten Quotes
His thoughts on the game:
“We need to be cleaner in a lot of areas. I think that we will be. I think that we have a good receiving core, but we are not as clean as we should be.”

On what he said to the team after the game:
“I told them that I was proud of their effort and I appreciated the way they played. I thought that they played hard. We really got a handle on some things and know what we need to work on. We have to play better on third down and improve the kicking game.”

On whether or not the loss was acceptable because of the division difference:
“I don’t know. There might be some of that in there. Any time you lose it is tough. The bad stuff and the kicking game are just irritating me now.”

Sam Houston State Player Quotes
QB Rhett Bomar
On the game:
“I took a lot of positives out of this game. We hadn’t played in more than three weeks because of the hurricane and everything like that. We came out on fire in the first half and shot ourselves in the foot. I thought as a whole we went up against a good team. I just came out and played with them. They have a good offense. A few times you have to go out and try to make a big play and they had a few interceptions. They have a real good team defensive-wise. I thought we played well against them.”

On playing against Kansas:
“I’ve played in the Big 12 and I thought we came out and played really well against Oklahoma State last year. We couldn’t score like we did today against Oklahoma State, otherwise, that would have been a completely different ballgame. I’ve played these guys before. It’s not like I was scared. I thought (the 2006) team was very solid defensively. They struggled on offense. Now they have both offense and defense.”

On if he could move the ball at will:
“I wouldn’t say I could move it at will. We pulled off some good plays and executed well for the most part – getting the ball out quick and avoiding the pass rush. I thought in the first half we moved it at will. We just made a few mistakes and you can’t do that against a team like this.”

LB Nolen Bucek
On the performance of the Bearkat defense:
“It felt good to keep the score close. I think defensively we played pretty well. Kansas is not a big run team but we shut down the run pretty well. I think what killed us was mistakes and Reesing’s ability to scramble and get guys open. It was a lot like sandlot ball.”

On building confidence:
“It was a very competitive game and should bring us a lot of confidence going into the next game.”

On Reesing’s scramble:
“It wasn’t the killer but it definitely hurt our morale. We felt very confident but I saw some of the guys’ heads go down after that play. We did a good job picking each other up and stayed strong throughout, but that was a pivotal point.”