Jayhawk Comeback Attempt Falls Short As Nebraska Edges Kansas 31-17
Nov. 14, 2009
Tharp Anchors Kansas Defense In 31-17 Loss
Reesing Played With Confidence on Senior Day
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After a low scoring three quarters, a fourth-quarter scoring flurry led to a 31-17 Nebraska victory against Kansas on Senior Day at Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon. The loss dropped KU to 5-5 overall and 1-5 in Big 12 Conference action.
A 30-yard run by NU’s Roy Helu, Jr., on third and 10 from the Nebraska 37-yard line kept the chains and the clock moving as Nebraska held the ball for the final 5:15 of the game and carved the 14-point Cornhusker win. Helu carried the ball seven times for 64 yards as Nebraska slowly, but surely ran the clock out and Helu tacked on the final touchdown on a 14-yard scamper.
Kansas senior quarterback Todd Reesing found junior wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe wide open in the middle of the field and Briscoe ran it in for the score from 21 yards out to give Kansas its first lead of the day at 17-16 with 7:34 left to play. The Jayhawks’ scoring drive amassed 89 yards on 10 plays capped by KU’s first passing touchdown of the day.
Nebraska would not trail for long though. After a 44-yard kick-off return by Niles Paul, Nebraska quickly responded as Helu punched it in from 20 yards out just over a minute later. Nebraska quarterback Zac Lee then found Paul for the two-point conversion to push the `Huskers back into the lead at 24-17 with just over six minutes remaining.
Nebraska opened the game with an impressive scoring drive as Helu picked up a Lee fumble in the end zone less than three minutes into the game to give the Cornhuskers to a 7-0 lead. NU used only six plays to go 58 yards after a 40-yard kick-off return by Tim Marlowe put the `Huskers in excellent field position.
The two teams traded punts for the remainder of the first quarter before Nebraska produced a field goal at the 10:47 mark in the second quarter. NU moved the ball 76 yards on six plays capped by a 25-yard field goal by Alex Henery, gave the `Huskers a 10-0 lead.
Kansas answered back with a five-yard Reesing rushing TD. KU rode freshman running back Toben Opurum down the field as the Jayhawks covered 80 yards in 13 plays with Opurum tallying 22 rushing yards, including two critical fourth down conversions, as KU closed the gap to three points at 10-7 with 4:58 left in the half.
The KU defense returned the ball to the Jayhawk offense with 3:37 remaining before the break. A 33-yard field goal by Kansas kicker Jacob Branstetter with four seconds remaining in the first half knotted the score with Nebraska at 10-all at the half.
Kansas opened the third quarter of play where they left off in the second period, driving from their own 23 yard line to the Nebraska seven before a fumble by senior wide receiver Kerry Meier left the Jayhawks empty handed. Nebraska then took the ball from its own seven yard line and drove to the KU 17 before the Kansas defense held the `Huskers to a 40-yard Henery field goal and a 13-10 NU lead.
Henery added his third field goal of the day with a 38-yard boot with 11:53 remaining in the game to give Nebraska a 16-10 edge and start the fourth quarter scoring.
Reesing finished the game 19-of-41 passing for 236 yards and one touchdown. He also turned in 42 yards rushing and a second touchdown. Meier led the Jayhawks in receiving with 10 catches for 127 yards, while Briscoe had four catches for 77 yards and a TD. Opurum recorded 43 yards on the ground on 15 carries.
Freshman linebacker Huldon Tharp was one of three Jayhawks to record double figures in tackles as he posted 13, including six solos. Senior safety Darrell Stuckey had 11 tackles and junior cornerback Chris Harris added 10, including 1.5 tackles for a loss.
Helu led the Cornhusker attack with 156 yards rushing on 28 carries. He also netted three touchdowns. Lee added 53 yards on the ground and connected on 13-of-21 passes for 196 yards. Paul caught four passes for 154 yards and also gained 72 yards on two kick off returns.
Kansas will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 21, when it travels to Texas. Game time is slated for either 2:30 or 7 p.m., with a live telecast on ABC.