Kansas And Minnesota To Kickoff In Insight Bowl Wednesday
Dec. 31, 2008
TEMPE, Ariz. – Gameday has arrived for the Kansas Jayhawks football team, which after a 32-day layoff will meet Minnesota in the Insight Bowl on Wednesday. The game will kickoff at 5 p.m. and will be televised on the NFL Network, as well as on WDAF (Fox 4) in Kansas City.
Kansas and Minnesota both finished the regular seasons with identical 7-5 records, while the Jayhawks posted a 4-4 record in Big 12 play and Minnesota was 3-5 in Big 10 games.
The Jayhawks enter the game with one of the nation’s most prolific passing games, as the team ranks eighth in the nation averaging 302 yards per contest through the air. That figure is a school record. Minnesota’s passing defense ranks 89th in the nation giving up 231.6 yards per game.
Junior quarterback Todd Reesing has produced another record-setting season for KU, as he has thrown for 297 yards per game and ranks in the top 10 in the nation in completions, passing yards and total offense.
His main targets this season have been two more record-setting wide receivers in Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier. Briscoe’s 1,206 yards receiving and 12 receiving touchdowns this season are both school records, while his 78 catches are second all-time at KU, only to Meier, who has pulled in 87 balls this year. Meier has 932 yards and seven scores to his credit.
Defensively, the Jayhawks will be tested by another spread offense in the Gophers. Behind quarterback Adam Weber, Minnesota has averaged 216 yards passing and 106 yards rushing per game. UM wide receiver Eric Decker has 76 receptions for 925 yards and six touchdowns.
KU’s defense has been led by safety Darrell Stuckey, who was an All-Big 12 First-Team selection, and linebacker James Holt, and All-Big 12 Second-Team pick. Stuckey has made 94 tackles and leads the team with five interceptions, while Holt leads KU with 97 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. He also leads the nation in fumbles forced with six this season.
The Jayhawks, who are making bowl appearances in consecutive years for the first time, will be looking for their 20th win in the last two seasons combined, a feat which has never been accomplished in school history.
Kansas has won four of its last five bowl games and enters the Insight Bowl with a 5-6 all-time bowl record. Under Mark Mangino, Kansas lost in the 2003 Tangerine Bowl before winning the Forth Worth Bowl in 2005 and the Orange Bowl in 2008.
Minnesota’s six-game turnaround – from a 1-11 record in 2007 – is the best improvement in the country this year. UM’s last bowl game was the 2006 Insight Bowl when it fell to Texas Tech 44-41.