Kansas Football Claims 42-21 Insight Bowl Victory Against Minnesota
TEMPE, Ariz. – Todd Reesing threw for 313 yards, while Dezmon Briscoe recorded 201 yards in receptions to lead Kansas football to a 42-21 victory against Minnesota in the 20th Insight Bowl on Wednesday.
Kansas improved to 8-5 on the season, while Minnesota dropped to 7-6. The victory gave the Jayhawks their third straight bowl win in the past four seasons – all under head coach Mark Mangino – as well as their fifth bowl victory in their last six games.
Reesing completed 27 of 35 passes for 313 yards and four touchdowns, while Briscoe pulled in 14 catches for 201 yards and three scores. Kerry Meier added 10 receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown, and also threw for one touchdown.
Briscoe’s 14 catches tied Meier’s school record for a single-game, while his 201 yards rank as the fifth-best day in school history. Meier’s 10 catches tied for the eighth best day in school history as he went over the 100-yard mark for the fifth time this year.
On defense KU’s trio of senior linebackers shined. Mike Rivera matched a career high with 14 tackles, while Joe Mortensen also tied his career best with 13 stops. Linebacker mate James Holt added eight tackles, with four for loss, including three sacks. The three sacks were the most by a Jayhawk since David McMillan had three at Missouri in 2004. Holt finished the year with at least one sack in six straight games.
Briscoe was named the game’s most valuable offensive player while Holt was tabbed the game’s top defender.
Kansas struck first scoring on a 60-yard pass play from Reesing to Briscoe on the game’s opening play from scrimmage. The 60-yard scoring toss was the longest for the Jayhawks since Briscoe scored on a 69-yard reception at Oklahoma back on Oct. 18.
The score was the quickest for the Jayhawks since Greg Heaggans returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against Southwest Missouri State in 2002.
However, Minnesota responded on its first possession, as the Gophers threw a 75-yard pass on their opening play to set up a quick touchdown. The 75-yard pass was the longest allowed by the Jayhawks this season by 20 yards.
Trailing 14-7, in the first quarter, Kansas scored the game’s next 28 points to take a 35-14 lead in the third period.
The Jayhawks scored on four of their first five possessions, while shutting Minnesota down after the Gophers scored the first two times they had the ball. After that UM’s next six possessions results in four punts, a fumble and a drive ended on downs at the one yard line.
Reesing was nearly flawless in the first half throwing four touchdown passes and at one point completing a school-record 14 straight passes. His 14 straight completions beat the old school mark of 12 by two different players – Mark Williams vs. Iowa Sate in 1995 and Mike Norseth vs. Florida State in 1985. He finished the first 30 minutes hitting 19 of 23 passes for 221 yards and the four scores.
In the first half, Briscoe had 10 catches for 147 yards and two scores, while Meier added five receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown. Johnathan Wilson added the other first-half touchdown reception.
The Jayhawks also rushed for 86 yards in the first half, as Jake Sharp had 54 yards on 11 carries and Reesing added 32 yards on six rushing attempts.
KU produced 307 yards of total offense in the first half, while the Jayhawk defense limited the Minnesota offense to 194 yards. Eighty-seven of the Gophers first-half yards came on their first drive of the game.
Midway through the second quarter Briscoe had reached the 100-yard receiving mark for the fourth straight game, setting a new school record for consecutive 100-yard games. The sophomore had two touchdown receptions among his first six catches for 106 yards.
Reesing continued his record-setting career as he threw for a touchdown pass for the 18th consecutive game. He became the school’s all-time pass attempt leader as well, moving ahead of Frank Seurer.
With four touchdown tosses, Reesing finished the year with 32, one shy of his school mark set last season. He also threw for 300 yards for the 13th time in his career and eighth time this season.