Kansas Topples Florida International, 55-3

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore quarterback Todd Reesing accounted for 415 yards of total offense and two scores, while junior corner back Aqib Talib highlighted the night with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown as Kansas cruised to a 55-3 victory over Florida International Saturday evening at Memorial Stadium.

The Jayhawks improved to 4-0 for the first time since the 1995 season, while FIU dropped to 0-4.

Reesing and fellow sophomore quarterback Kerry Meier led the team to 615 yards of total offense, KU’s largest offensive output since posting 641 yards against Jacksonville State in 2003. Reesing was responsible for 415 yards of offense himself, throwing for 368 yards on 28-of-37 passing, while rushing for 47 yards on eight carries.

Senior fullback Brandon McAnderson gained 105 yards on 13 carries and two scores, while senior tight end Derek Fine had a career-high seven catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. For McAnderson it was his second 100-yard rushing effort of the season.

However, KU’s most impressive score of the evening came early in the fourth quarter when Talib picked off a Wayne Younger pass in the Kansas end zone and followed a convoy of blockers up the field for the longest interception return in Jayhawk history. The score was Talib’s first defensive touchdown of the season and fourth overall.

KU’s special teams got the team on the board in the opening minutes as Raymond Brown blocked a punt in the Florida International end zone and freshman Dakota Lewis recovered it to put the Jayhawks in front 7-0. It marked the third touchdown scored by the Kansas special teams this season.

After the teams traded field goals midway through the first half, KU took a 17-3 lead in the second quarter on a nine-yard scramble by Reesing. On second-and-goal from the FIU nine, Reesing took a snap out of a shotgun formation and ran up the middle to give the Jayhawks a 14-point advantage with 8:33 remaining in the half.

Senior kicker Scott Webb added a 37-yard field goal late in the first half to extend the lead to 20-3. Webb connected on a pair of field goals Saturday evening.

Kansas took a commanding lead early in the third quarter when Reesing found Fine with a 19-yard touchdown strike. Less than two minutes later, sophomore runningback Jake Sharp found the end zone on a one-yard run around the far end as KU stretched its lead to 34-3.

The win marked the third time this season that KU has cracked the 50-point plateau. Prior to this season, the Jayhawks had scored 50 points in a game just one other time since 1999.

The Jayhawks will take on Sunflower Showdown rival Kansas State Oct. 6 in Manhattan, Kan. Kickoff time will be announced Monday following the Big 12’s television selections.

Postgame Notes
Kansas’ win against Florida International…
…Gives Kansas a four-game winning streak for the longest such streak since the 2003 season.
…Makes KU 4-0 for the first time since 1995 and just the second time in the last 26 seasons.
…Gives Kansas a perfect non-conference regular season record for the second time in the last nine years as the 2005 team went 3-0 in regular-season non-Big 12 games and later advanced to the Fort Worth Bowl.
…Is KU’s sixth straight home win dating back to Oklahoma State last year.
…Gives Kansas 14 straight home wins against non-conference opponents.
…Is KU’s seventh win in its last eight games dating back to last year.
…Improves Mark Mangino to 29-35 in his sixth season as a head coach, all seasons at Kansas.
…Make’s Kansas 546-537-58 all time.

–Kansas is one of four Big 12 teams to remain undefeated in 2007 – Missouri, Oklahoma,Texas are the other three. Texas A&M and Texas Tech each suffered losses this week.
–Kansas recorded 615 yards total offense which ties for fifth best in school history (615 vs.Kansas State in 1950) and the first 600-plus total offense game since 641 against JacksonvilleState in 2003. KU has recorded 500-plus yards total offense in every game this season. KU entered the day ranked seventh nationally averaging 532 yards per game.
–KU has scored 40-plus points in four straight games for the first time since the 1991-92 seasons (53 vs. Missouri in the 1991 season finale and the first three games of the 1992 season).
–Kansas entered the week fourth nationally scoring 53 points per game.
–KU has scored at least twice in 14 of 16 quarters this season, including all four tonight.
–Kansas has scored three touchdowns via special teams this season – kickoff return, punt return and blocked punt with a recovery in the end zone.
–KU has scored at least 20 points in every first half this season and in all but one half in 2007.
–After not forcing a fumble through the first two games, KU has now recovered four fumbles in the last two contests.
–Kansas has scored first in all four games this season. KU opponents scored first in the final five games of the 2006 season.
–Kansas is 5-0 in wearing red uniforms under Mark Mangino.
–Tonight’s attendance of 42,134 marked the 14th time in the last 15 home games the Jayhawks have drawn 40,000-plus in attendance.
–Florida International’s field goal in the first quarter were the first points scored against KU in the opening quarter this season. KU has outscored its opponents 43-3 in the first quarter this season. It was also FIU’s first points of the first quarter this season.
–Junior Aqib Talib’s 100-yard interception return was the longest in school history. His 100 yards set the single-game interception return yards record as well.
–Talib has six catches this season with three of those going for touchdowns.
–Sophomore QB Todd Reesing became the sixth Jayhawk to record 200-plus passing yards in at least four straight games (the last was Adam Barmann in 2004). He’s the ninth Jayhawk to throw for 200 yards in four games in a season.
–Reesing’s 368 yards passing rank ninth on the single-game list at Kansas. He has now thrown for 300-plus yards in three of four games this season.
–Reesing’s 415 yards of total offense rank fifth best in KU history.
–Reesing’s touchdown in the second quarter was his first rushing TD of the season and third of his career. Reesing has now accounted for 12 touchdowns this season (11 TD passes, 1 TD rush).
–Reesing had 81 attempts this season before his first interception.
–Junior Dexton Fields’ 35-yard reception in the first quarter was a season long for him.
–Fields has at least two receptions in 15 straight games.
–With seven PATs tonight, senior Scott Webb became KU’s all-time PAT record holder with 120. He also became the school’s all-time PAT attempt leader with 124. He passed Dan Eichloff (116 made, 119 attempts).
–Webb has made 10 of his last 11 field goal attempts (2-for-2 tonight and 5-for-6 this season). Webb moved into tie for fifth on the KU field goals attempts list — Mike Hubach (1976-79) who had 48.
–Sophomore Kerry Meier’s six-yard reception was the second of the season and third of his career. He had one catch for no yards against Central Michigan Sept. 1 and one reception for five yards against Louisiana Monroe last season.
–Senior TE Derek Fine caught his second touchdown pass of the season in the third quarter. Fine has eight TD catches for his career.
–Freshman Bradley Dedeaux’s tipped catch was the first reception of his career. Dedeaux became the 12th different Jayhawk to catch a pass this season. Eight of those individuals have multiple catches.
–Junior Marcus Herford became the third Jayhawk to record 1,000 yards in kick return. He has 1,021 career yards.
–Senior RB Brandon McAnderson rushed for 105 yards to mark his second 100-yard rushing game of the season and career (110 vs. Central Michigan).
–Senior TE Derek Fine’s seven catches were a career high and his 70 yards receiving were a season high and rank second best for his career. Fine’s TD catch was his second this season and eighth of his career.
–Herford’s 42-yard kick return was the third-longest of the season and marked the fourth time this season he has returned a kick 30 or more yards.
–Junior Raymond Brown’s blocked punt that led to a freshman Dakota Lewis touchdown in the first quarter was the first blocked kick of Brown’s career and the first career TD for Lewis.
–Junior Joe Mortensen recorded a career-high 13 tackles and became the first KU player to record double digit tackles. It marked the second time in his career he has recorded double figure tackles (12 at Missouri last season).
–Mortensen’s forced fumble in the second quarter was his first of the season and second of his career (at Nebraska last season).
–Junior John Larson’s forced fumble was his second this season and career.
–Sophomore Darrell Stuckey’s fumble recovery from Mortensen’s fumble caused was his first of the season and second of his career (at Iowa State last season).
–Senior OL Cesar Rodriguez started a team best 32nd game (18th straight). James McClintonstarted a team-best 23rd consecutive game (26th overall).

Kansas Quotes
Head Coach Mark Mangino

On Brandon McAnderson:
“That’s the key thing, he bounced back. (The fumbles) were uncharacteristic of Brandon, and its unfortunate. Nobody feels worse than he does. That shows you the kind of competitor he is, he put it behind him, and played well the rest of the game. That’s all we look for. The next play is the most important one, and Brandon responded.”

On Todd Reesing:
“He’s doing the things that we’re asking him to do. He’s managing the football game well, managing the offense well. He’s doing a lot of positive things. We knew that he was a talented player and he seems to improve every week. When he does have an area that needs work from week-to-week he seems to get it rectified. He spends a lot of time with his position coach, trying to learn the game. He’s a good student of the game.”

On Aqib Talib’s interception return:
“That’s one of the best plays I’ve seen from a defensive performer in my career. I’ve had the good fortune to be around a lot of quality defensive players, All-Americans and first round draft picks. I’ve got to tell you that’s one of the most impressive plays I’ve seen. For the people that were in the stadium tonight, they got to see a real treat. It was an awesome play, and you don’t get to see that every day in college football.”

On being 4-0:
“No question we accomplished a lot of the goals that we set for ourselves in non-conference. Number one is to win, and we accomplished that. We needed some good work on defense with some of the veteran guys working with young guys. I think we’ve gotten that. We were in-sync except for early in the game tonight. We had some things occur that should not have, a couple of turnovers and penalties in key situations. I want to clean that up. I feel good. Like I’ve said all along, there’s a lot of people that wish they were 4-0, there are a lot of people that were supposed to be 4-0 that aren’t. Bottom line is we are and we have to get ready for conference play.”

Junior Cornerback Aqib Talib
On his interception:
“When I caught it in the end zone, I already had a wall formed. I had some great blocking. I saw four really great blocks, and I know I probably missed a couple. There was some real good blocks on my return. When I made the last cut, I figured I had one guy left to beat. I knew I caught it in the end zone, but I didn’t know how far. When I catch it, I am bringing it out.”

“It was a nice play, but I am not sure if it was the best I’ve ever seen. It was a pretty tight play – I am excited about it. I was out of gas after that play. I didn’t play another play the whole game. Coach (Mangino) told me to take a knee (next time). As soon as I caught the ball, I told myself I’ve got to score.”

On his dropped pass that lead to an FIU interception:
“I kind-of got alligator arms, because I felt (the hit) coming. I turned before I caught the ball, and he was able to put a good hit on me.”

Senior Tight End Derek Fine
On KU’s new offense:
“It is obviously pretty fun lining up in all of these formations and getting to be a part of it. I need to pick up my role a little bit, but it is nice to come out each week and have the opportunity to put up numbers.”

On Kerry Meier playing receiver:
“I was telling coach (Brandon) Blaney how excited I was that Kerry was increasing his role in the offense. He is too good of a player and of an athlete not to be one field. The more we can incorporate him into the offense, the better.”

Junior linebacker Joe Mortensen
On his performance in tonight’s game:
“I took a couple bad angles on the quarterback. He was running around. There was definitely some stuff I can improve on, but they ran the ball a lot and I like teams that like to run.”

On his touchdown that was called back:
“It would have been nice if they would have given it to me. It looked like a fumble to me. I thought it was a touchdown. I heard them blow the whistle when I was at about the two-yard line and I knew they couldn’t challenge it. But overall it was a good day. We scored a couple touchdowns on defense.”

On teammate Junior Linebacker Mike Rivera:
“Yes, it’s fun playing outside (linebacker). I know they’re out there making plays and they’re knocking people out. It’s fun when we are playing downhill, playing hard.”

Sophomore Quarterback Todd Reesing
On his overall thoughts on the game:
“I think we played a lot better on offense. We were moving the ball great in the first half.We just weren’t able to keep the ball in the end zone a few times, but that’s alright. We came out in the second half and played a lot better of finishing our drives. We had a lot of big plays. The line did a great job blocking. The running backs ran real hard. The receivers were open. We had a lot of guys getting open on pass plays. We missed a few and had a few drops, but that happens. I’m definitely a lot more pleased this week.”

On accomplishing what he wanted for himself and the offense in these first four games:
“I think we’ve had a lot of confidence grow from these last four weeks. We know where we’re at as an offense. We know what we can do, where our strengths are and we have to be able to build on that and continue to execute our plays. If we continue in this direction we’ll continue to do fine on offense.”

On Sophomore Quarterback Kerry Meier and the diversity of the offense:
“We want to get our best players on the field and Kerry Meier is a great athlete. We want to find a way to get him on the field. Tonight he made a couple of big plays and we’re going to continue to use him because he’s a threat with his size and speed. Just the knowledge of things we can do on offense is really unlimited.”

Florida International Quotes
Head Coach Mario Cristobal

On the game:
“It was a very humbling experience. Kansas is obviously an excellent football team. They played better, they coached better and they took it to us. We felt pretty good in the first quarter and thought it would be a good football game. Then their depth and execution took control and they ended up playing a great ballgame against us.”

On what FIU learned:
“We can learn that if you don’t jump on a team as good as Kansas early, and if you turn the ball over early like we did you dig yourself a whole against an offensive machine.”

On going into conference play:
“We were getting better every week up until this point. Today we took a step backwards, but it certainly wasn’t out of lack of effort. We’ve got to match up and do things correctly mentally.”

On the Kansas defense:
“They are an excellent defense. They are very physical up front. They do a great job stopping the run. They really mixed up their pressure well.”

On how KU compares to the teams FIU has faced:
“The way they execute their offense is very difficult to prepare for. They turned it over a couple of times as well. So they could have done a couple of things better, but they truly are a machine and they have a lot of talent.”

Sophomore Safety Ashlyn Parker
On the Kansas offense:
“They have a great offense. They have talented quarterbacks, receivers and everything.They did a great job preparing for our defense. They did a good job of completing the ball, they hit the open receiver every time.”

On the KU defense:
“They did a great job of playing harder than we did. They are all-around great job from their front four to everybody.”

Junior Running Back A’mod Ned:
On how KU compares to other teams FIU has faced:
“Their defense was like any other defense. They played hard and we didn’t execute, but they played great on defense. I don’t get into rating teams, but I know they are a great team. They handed it to us in every phase of the game.”

On the blocked punt in the first quarter:
“It’s just part of the game. We have to learn to overcome things like that. You have to make plays. We didn’t make enough plays and they made all the right plays.”