KU Football Claims Third Straight Governor's Cup, Downing K-State, 52-21

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Behind a career-high 181 yards rushing and a school-record-tying four touchdowns by Jake Sharp and a stout defense, the Kansas football team defeated state rival Kansas State, 52-21, on a sunny Saturday at Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium.

The win improves Kansas to 6-3 on the season and makes the Jayhawks bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive year. KU kept pace atop the Big 12 North standings improving to 3-2 in conference play. Kansas State fell to 4-5 on the season and 1-4 in league action.

The win marks the third straight year Kansas has won the Governor’s Cup and the 31-point margin of victory was the widest in a KU win over KSU since a 38-7 win in 1985. Additionally, KU’s 52 points was the most for KU against KSU since a 55-0 victory in 1947.

A Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium record crowd of 52,230 saw Sharp’s 152 rushing yards in the first half surpass his previous game career high of 127 rushing yards set against Toledo last season. Sharp was also effective as a receiver with five receptions for 76 yards. For the game he had 257 all-purpose yards in the victory. Sharp became the sixth Jayhawk to score four touchdowns in a game with the last being Brandon McAnderson last season against Nebraska.

In addition to Sharp’s performance, the Kansas defense was solid, forcing a season-high five K-State turnovers, including two interceptions by senior defensive end Russell Brorsen. Kansas amassed 468 yards total offense to K-State’s 355.

Kansas scored the first 31 points of the game, all in the first half, to put the game away. KU took the opening drive 81 yards in 11 plays to take an early lead on a four-yard rush by Sharp up the middle. It marked the first opening drive touchdown of the season for the Jayhawks in 2008. KU junior quarterback Todd Reesing was 4-for-6 on the drive for 45 yards as KU converted all three of its third down tries. Reesing ended the game 14-for-23 yards with one touchdown. He also rushed for a season-high 47 yards and one touchdown.

Up 7-0, Brorsen intercepted a Josh Freeman pass and returned it 13 yards to the KU 48 yard line. Sharp then capped the four-play drive with a 20-yard touchdown run to make the score 14-0 with 6:03 left in the first quarter.

Following a Kansas State punt, KU made the score 21-0 on Sharp’s third touchdown of the game, a 47-yard jaunt to cap a three-play 56-yard drive. Sharp rushed for 118 yards on nine carries with three touchdowns in the opening quarter.

Kansas made the score 24-0 on a 33-yard field goal by freshman Jacob Branstetter early in the second quarter. The field goal capped a nine-play drive that covered 41 yards.

K-State then mounted an 11-play, 60-yard drive and was on the verge of scoring before Freeman fumbled at the one-yard line. KU senior Mike Rivera recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback. On the next drive, KU went 80 yards in 10 plays with Reesing going the final 15-yards on an option to make the score 31-0 with 1:24 left in the half.

Junior safety Darrell Stuckey intercepted a Freeman pass on the final play of the first half. It was Stuckey’s third interception of the season and fifth of his career.

Kansas State notched its first points of the game midway through the third quarter when the Wildcats went 70 yards in nine plays. Sophomore running back Lamark Brown went the final four yards for the score to make it 31-7 in favor of the Jayhawks.

KU scored on the next drive going 78 yards in nine plays to make the score 38-7. Sharp had 70 of the 78 yards with 26 rushing and 43 receiving, including a 44-yard shovel pass from Reesing. Reesing hit sophomore wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe on a three-yard touchdown pass.

After Kansas stopped K-State on fourth down, the Jayhawks went up 45-7 going only 29 yards in two plays with Sharp going the final two yards for his fourth touchdown of the game. Sharp set up his score by catching a 27-yard pass from Kerry Meier on a reverse pass by wide receiver-back up quarterback.

On the ensuing drive, Kansas State made the score 45-14 on an 80-yard, 11-play drive with Brown going the final four yards for his second touchdown of the game.

Following Brorsen’s second interception of the game, Angus Quigley rushed 19 yards for a score in one play to make the score 52-14 with 10:41 to play. Brorsen has three career interceptions, all against Kansas State.

Kansas State scored a late touchdown on a Brown one-yard run capping a nine-play, 62-yard drive with 39 seconds remaining to make the score 52-21.

Kansas hits the road for a league contest at Nebraska next Saturday, Nov. 7. Game time has yet to be determined and will be announced Sunday.

The Kansas win …
–Is its third straight win against Kansas State, marking the first time KU has won three consecutive games over the Wildcats since 1988-90.
–Gives KU a win in four of the last five meetings in the series.
–Makes KU bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive year.
–Gives the Jayhawks at least six wins in four consecutive seasons for the first time since putting together five such seasons from 1902-06.
–Stops a two-game losing streak.
–Makes KU 23-3 in its last 26 home games.
–Makes KU 21-5 in its last 26 games overall.

Game Notes
–KU drove 81 yards on 11 plays to open the game, marking the first time this season that the Jayhawks have scored a touchdown on their opening drive (scored a field goal on the first possession against Louisiana Tech).
–KU’s 31-point victory was the largest margin of victory over K-State since it defeated the Wildcats 38-7 in 1985.
–The Jayhawks’ 52 points against K-State are the second-most by KU in the series. KU defeated K-State 55-0 in 1947 for the most points by a Jayhawk team in the series.
–Kansas improves to 6-0 this season against unranked opponents and has now won 16 consecutive games against unranked teams.
–Junior TB Jake Sharp scored four rushing touchdowns in the game to match a school record. He became the sixth different Jayhawk to score four touchdowns in a game. The last time a KU player accomplished the feat was when Brandon McAnderson reached paydirt four times against Nebraska on Nov. 10, 2007.
–Sharp’s four-touchdown afternoon marks the second time he has scored multiple TDs in a game this season. He also scored three times against Iowa State on Oct. 4.
–Sharp gained 181 yards rushing in the game, marking the third time this season he has gone over the century mark – all of them against Big 12 opponents (Colorado – 118, Oklahoma – 103).
–Sharp’s 181 yards are a career high, surpassing his previous career high of 127 yards against Toledo last year.
–Sharp also had the most rushing yards by a KU player since Brandon McAnderson gained 183 yards against Texas A&M on Oct. 27, 2007.
–Senior DE Russell Brorsen made two interceptions in the game. It marked three INTs by a Kansas defensive lineman this season and the seventh in the last 20 games.
–It gives Brorsen three career interceptions. His other interception also came against K-State on Oct. 6, 2007.
–Brorsen becomes the second Jayhawk to pick two passes in the same game this season, joining teammate Phillip Strozier, who had two INTs against FIU on Aug. 30.
–Kansas’ 280 yards on the ground is a season high, and the most since KU gained 288 yards against Texas Tech on Oct. 6, 2001.
–Junior QB Todd Reesing scored on a 15-yard run in the second quarter, his first rushing touchdown since the Sam Houston State game. It was his third of the season.
–Reesing’s 47 yards rushing were a season high.
–Reesing’s 162 yards passing leaves him 83 shy of the school’s career record for passing yards. He currently sits at 6,328, trailing only Frank Seuer (6,410).
–Sophomore WR Dezmon Briscoe’s touchdown catch in the first half tied Willie Vaughn and Bruce Adams for the KU career TD receptions record (17).
–Briscoe’s TD reception is his 10th of the year and ties Marcus Henry for the KU season touchdown receptions record (set last year).
–Briscoe caught three balls for 40 yards, giving him at least two catches in 15 straight games.
–Junior WR Kerry Meier also made three catches for 40 yards.
–KU’s 31 points scored in the first half are the most in an opening half since it tallied 38 against Nebraska last year.
–The Jayhawks’ defense recovered two fumbles and intercepted three passes marking the first time KU has forced five turnovers since the Nebraska game last season.
–During the last three meetings with the Wildcats, KU has forced 14 turnovers, including six against K-State during the 2006 meeting.
–Junior TB Angus Quigley scored a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, his first touchdown since the Iowa State game.
–Junior S Darrell Stuckey made an interception at the end of the first half, marking his third of the year and fifth of his career.

Kansas Quotes
Kansas Head Coach Mark Mangino:
On things that stand out from the game:
“First of all, our defense played really well today. I liked the plan that we had on defense, but our coaches did a good job of getting our kids to bounce back and play really well. Our pass defense, including our pass rush, put some pressure on the quarterback for the better part of the day, we got some sacks, so I’m really pleased with that aspect. Offensively we noticed during the week that they were giving some opportunities to run the ball, and we felt that they played us on defense the way we expected. Our offensive line did a terrific job of getting off the ball and knocking the defensive line back a little bit, and gave Jake Sharp room, and Jake just had a great day. He not only ran the ball well in space, but he took some viscous hits today and he jumped back up, and like I said before, Jake Sharp is a hard-charger. He’s a tough guy.”

On the improvement of the program:
“Obviously we’ve made great improvement, but I still think it’s a great in-state rivalry (with K-State). This year and the last few years we’ve played very well and I’m proud of the way our kids have played. Our program has made a lot of progress. Our fans are elated that KU is winning some of these games in this Sunflower Series. Overall, the credit goes to the kids. They want to do it, they want to get better, and each and every year we seem to have kids that really play hard, play together, and have great resolve. They are resilient; they bounce back from tough days. I’m very proud of the players that play in this program.”

On the success of the defensive pressure playing a part in the win:
“We put a great deal of pressure on the quarterback, or at least didn’t give him as much time as he would like to have. He’s a talented guy, he can hurt you, he made some very good throws today, you can see that he’s really a talented player. He made some tough throws. There were a couple of times I thought we had good coverage. He put the ball in there. If you give him a lot of time to stand back there you’re going to have a long day, and we’ve learned some lessons about that in the past, so we didn’t want that to happen today.”

On Jake Sharp getting knocked around:
“He has proven to us he is exceptional. Most guys his size cannot. But you cannot measure a guy’s heart. You can measure how fast he runs, how high he jumps, the weights he lifts, but you cannot measure intestinal fortitude. There’s no real measurement for it, and he has it. He’s a tough customer, and he’s a great guy to be around. His teammates like him, he’s proven that he can play at the highest level of college football and be successful at it, and I think there were some people who questioned that at one point in time. I’m glad that we didn’t, because we’re glad to have him in our program.”

Kansas senior center Ryan Cantrell
On the difference between this week and last week’s game:
“Everybody was pumped up and amped up for this game. Anytime it is a rivalry game, guys are going to be amped up. I’m real proud of our guys, because sometimes when you get amped up like that you lose some control, but everybody played within themselves and you saw the result.”

On rushing for 280 yards:
“The results speak for themselves. Before I knew it, I looked up on the stat boards and saw that we had over 100 yards rushing before the end of the first quarter. It was a good feeling. I think we had the right schemes. Jake (Sharp) ran his butt off today. I can’t say enough good things about the way he ran today. I wanted 300 yards (rushing), but we didn’t get that. It’s a good feeling. It makes all the work you put into it, especially in the run game, worth it. It helps motivate you for the next time.”

On the progression of freshmen tackles Jeremiah Hatch and Jeff Spikes:
“Anytime you have young guys and they are both redshirt freshmen, you are going to go through some growing pains. Every week they mature more and more. We’ll go through film each day and see if they had any mistakes. And every week there mistakes get to be less and less.”

Kansas senior linebacker Mike Rivera
On the game:
“Things went a little differently this week. We kept it simple and made it so that we could go out there and fly around. We did a really good job of having high energy today and doing good things.”

On winning three in a row against K-State:
“I can’t tell you how good it feels. It was a great game for us to win, and to win it handily. We did a really good job. Being from Kansas, it is one game that I mark on my calendar each year. I’m glad that we went out there and gave our best effort. We had an awesome game and we put it all together. It’s my second to last game at Memorial Stadium, so it was exciting.”

On winning a game to get back on track after losing two straight:
“It was our sixth win. Our goal is to win the (Big 12) North and this sets us up to have that opportunity at the end of the season.”

Kansas State Quotes
Kansas State Head Coach Ron Prince
Opening Statement:
“They were a good team; a team that needed a win. KU lost a game badly and came back well organized and very well coached and did a terrific job today. On the flip side, we were not well coached today and that is my responsibility and the people of Kansas State deserve better then this. It is about as bad of a loss that I have been associated with, particularly the way we played in the first half. A number of things come to mind. No. 1, the offensive line from an offensive standpoint. Number two on offense, the turnovers continue to plague us. When you look at the number of carries that Lamark Brown was able to get, he had the same carries that Jake Sharp had, but the outcome was tremendously different. KU did a terrific job and we failed to beat blocks and once again tackle. They got big plays and we had very few. Also despite some positive things that could have occurred in the kicking game they did a really good job of limiting any big plays. When you are on the road and fall behind it is very difficult to keep balance in the game from a run or pass situation. We had to get some quality stops in the second half in order to get back into it and we just never got those. So it was a thorough and complete defeat by a very good KU team and my hat’s off to them. It was a very poor one by myself and my coaching staff.”

On the Kansas running game:
“They did a really good job of running the ball inside and then they did a very good job taking the ball to the perimeter on the option. We had some very specific things that we wanted to do to handle the option and we didn’t get them accomplished so therefore we had some plays that really looked uncontested, but they weren’t designed that way. As a coach I have to take responsibility for those.”

On the significance of the game:
“This is a thorough and complete beating and defeat there is no question about it. I’m not one that’s going to try to mince words and try to spin anything. They did a great job, they were very well prepared for the game and it meant a lot to them. We were very well prepared coming into the game, but didn’t execute like we needed to and that’s my job to get my team to do that. The game does mean a tremendous amount to the people of this state and we let them down.”

On the turnovers in the game:
“In the games that we have lost, a lot of things have reoccurred and a lot of that stems from when Josh is harassed in the pocket. Today Lamark had 21 carries and so did Jake Sharp, the numbers on those carries were completely different. The three sacks on the offensive line that we had to juggle around. We just didn’t play well enough to win.”

Kansas State Post Game Player Quote
Kansas State junior wide receiver Deon Murphy
On comments made earlier in the week:
“I knew I was marked man coming in to the stadium. As soon as I stepped off the bus I was a marked man. We didn’t execute well. You can mark me if you want. I want to win.”

On the game overall:
“They game out and were ready to play. They were the better team. They executed well and we didn’t.”

On thoughts on playing Missouri next week:
“I really can’t say. We just have to see how we do in practice this week and go out there to Columbia.”

Kansas State junior quarterback Josh Freeman
On how the team can bounce back from back-to-back losses:
“Coach always says if you want things to change then you have to change. We have to identify exactly who we are as a team. We need everyone to rally and get on the same page. We’ll go into Missouri, it’s going to be a tough one, but I think we’ll bounce back and be ready to play.”

On if everyone on the team is on the same page:
“It’s tough to say, after this score obviously not. From an offensive stand point, early on, I need to get something going when KU was scoring like they were. It’s tough to say where we’re at. KU played a good game.”

Kansas State junior wide receiver Brandon Banks
On team’s mindset heading into the game:
“Our mindset was to come in and execute and win the game, but unfortunately today we came out and didn’t execute on both sides of the ball. KU came out with a good game plan and executed.”

On what the team can do to get ready for next week:
“Just like last week, we need to make some corrections. Hopefully we can get it corrected and come out with a different mindset than we did that last couple of weeks.”

On if the team will take anything from this game:
“We just leave it here. The past is the past. Next week we need to look forward to a big win and come and execute like we didn’t this week.”

Kansas State senior linebacker Reggie Walker
On preparations for the game:
“We just wanted to play well and win the game. We wanted to show everyone what we can do, but we obviously didn’t do that.”

On if they will take anything from the game:
“I think we’re just going to leave it all here. A game like this you can’t take it with you. We still have a lot of the season left. We can’t go anywhere, but up from a game like this.”

On if he was surprised Kansas recorded almost 300 yards rushing:
If you don’t do your assignments like you’re supposed to do it, of course they are going to put up 300 yards. Every time we made a mistake they capitalized on it.”