Sharp Leads No. 15 Kansas to 30-14 Victory Against Colorado

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas junior Jake Sharp rushed for 118 yards on a career-high 31 carries and scored a personal-best three touchdowns to lead No. 15 Kansas to a 30-14 victory against Colorado at Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium on a sunny Saturday.

The win makes Kansas 5-1 on the season and 2-0 in Big 12 play for the second straight year. A crowd of 49,566 saw the Jayhawks win their 13th straight home game and improve to 9-1 in their last 10 Big 12 contests. Colorado dropped to 3-2 on the year and 0-2 in league play.

Sharp’s 118 rushing yards were a season high for a KU running back and the second highest of his career behind his 127 yards against Toledo last season. His 31 attempts were the most by a Jayhawk since Jon Cornish also had 31 attempts against Nebraska in 2006 and his three touchdowns tied for sixth-best in school history. Sharp has now rushed for 197 yards in his last two games.

Not to be overshadowed by Sharp’s performance was the effort of KU’s defense, which held Colorado to 233 yards total offense, nearly 100 yards shy of its 325 per game average. The defense also came up with two interceptions on the day.

KU quarterback Todd Reesing completed 27 passes on 34 attempts with one touchdown and no interceptions for 256 yards. The junior moved into second on the KU total offense career list, currently with 6,084 yards. Junior wide receiver Kerry Meier caught nine Reesing passes for 94 yards to mark the fourth game this season he has nine or more receptions in a game.

Kansas scored 14 fourth-quarter points on two Sharp touchdowns to extend a 16-14 lead en route to the victory.

Reesing orchestrated a seven-play, 76-yard scoring drive to make the score 23-14 with 13:07 to play. Reesing threw for 33 yards on the drive and rushed for nine, while Sharp ran for 19 yards including the final eight where he fought through CU defenders for his second score for the game.

Following a Colorado punt in which senior Dexton Fields returned the ball 36 yards to the CU 43 yard-line, KU went on a six-play drive in which Sharp covered the final seven yards for his third score of the game to make it 30-16 with 10:29 to play.

Early in the game, Colorado took advantage of great field position to take a 7-0 lead with 3:15 to play in the first quarter. Following a KU interception by senior Kendrick Harper at the CU four-yard line, the Buffs pinned KU deep in its own territory. After a short punt, CU then went 28 yards in five plays and sophomore quarterback Cody Hawkins hit senior wide receiver Cody Crawford on an 11-yard pass to put the first points on the board for either team.

Kansas tied the game at 7-7 when the Jayhawks went on a 76-yard drive in seven plays on a Sharp one-yard run with 8:56 before half. Sharp rushed for 33 yards on the drive, including a 21-yard rush up the middle. Todd Reesing was 2-for-2 in the air on the scoring drive, including a 27-yard strike to Fields which took the ball down to the CU four-yard line.

KU took a 9-7 lead on the next drive when sophomore defensive end Jake Laptad sacked Hawkins for a 16-yard loss in the end zone for a safety with 8:07 left in the half.

Colorado would later mount what would be a go-ahead drive which was halted when junior defensive back Darrell Stuckey intercepted a Hawkins pass at the KU 10-yard line.

On Kansas’ second drive of the third quarter, Reesing hit sophomore wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe at the back of the end zone on a third and goal from the five-yard line to make the score 16-7. KU’s scoring drive covered 78 yards in 12 plays and took 5:25 as Briscoe caught his sixth touchdown of the season.

Colorado’s Josh Smith returned the ensuing kick 59 yards, giving CU’s offense another short field as it drove 41 yards in four plays to make the score 16-14 with six seconds remaining in the third quarter. In the drive Hawkins connected with Cody Smith on a 38-yard pass play to set up a Hawkins one-yard quarterback sneak for the touchdown.

KU hits the road to face Oklahoma on Saturday, Oct. 18. The game from Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium will be televised by ABC and will start at either 2:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. Kickoff will be announced Sunday.

The Kansas Win…
— Is KU’s 20th win in its last 23 games.
— Gives KU a 2-0 Big 12 record for the third time in the 13-year history of the conference (1997, 2007).
— Is KU’s 13th straight home victory and 22nd in its last 24 played at Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium.
— Is KU’s 18th win in its last 19 games against un-ranked teams.
— Improves KU to 9-1 in its last 10 Big 12 games.
— Improves KU to 12-3 in its last 15 games against Big 12 North opponents.
— Is its third straight against Colorado, the first such streak since 1962-64.

Kansas Game Notes
–With Jake Laptad’s sack of Colorado’s Cody Hawkins for a 16-yard loss in the end zone with 8:07 to play in the first half, KU recorded its first safety of the season and first since Maxwell Onyegbule recorded a sack against Southeastern Louisiana last season.
–Held Colorado to 91 yards rushing. Kansas has now held its opponent to less than 200 yards rushing in 33 consecutive games.
–Also held the Buffaloes to 196 total yards of offense, the second-lowest total of the season (FIU, 139).
–With two interceptions in the first half (Kendrick Harper and Darrell Stuckey), KU has now forced 11 turnovers on the season (nine of them being interceptions).
–Todd Reesing connected with Dezmon Briscoe for a touchdown in the third quarter, their sixth TD connection of the season.

RB Jake Sharp
Carried 31 times for 118 yards and three touchdowns, giving him four touchdowns on the season. He is the first KU running back to go over 100 yards in a game this season, and the first since Brandon McAnderson rushed for 132 yards against Oklahoma State in 2007.
His three rushing touchdowns is a career-high, and ties him for sixth place in KU history for rushing touchdowns in a game.
His 31 rushing attempts is a career-high, and makes him the first KU back since Jon Cornish in 2006 at Nebraska to have over 30 carries in a game (31 carries).

QB Todd Reesing
Completed 27 of 34 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown. With 462 career completions, he now needs six completions to move past Franks Seuer (467) for the KU record.
With his 289 yards of total offense in the first half, he passed Chip Hilleary (5,888) for second on the KU career total offensive yard chart (6,084).

CB Kendrick Harper
Intercepted a pass with 6:23 left in the first quarter, his first interception of the season and second of his career.

S Darrell Stuckey
Came up with his second interception of the season and fourth of his career when he picked off a Cody Hawkins pass with 1:04 to play in the first half.

LB James Holt
Recorded 10 tackles to mark his second double-digit tackle game of the season. He had a season-high 13 stops at South Florida.

TE Tim Biere
Had two catches for 26 yards season-highs in both categories.

P Alonso Rojas
Boomed a 77-yard punt in the third quarter, tying for the ninth-longest punt in school history.