Cornerback Duo to Represent Jayhawks in Super Bowl 50
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the second time in three years, the Jayhawks will be represented at football’s ultimate stage as cornerback duo Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, Jr., helped the Denver Broncos stymie a Tom Brady led New England Patriots’ offense with a 20-18 win Sunday afternoon at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.
This is Harris’ second trip to the Super Bowl after clinching the National Football League’s (NFL) AFC title for the second time in three years, while Talib is making his first trek in just two years with the Broncos. Unfortunately, due to an injury in the AFC Divisional round in 2014, Harris, was unable to play in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Much like their Orange Bowl days in 2007-08, the dynamic duo combined for 11 tackles and played lockdown coverage to aid in a pass rush that sacked Brady four times and forced two interceptions in the win.
Harris, a five-year veteran in the NFL, finished the regular-season with 58 tackles, six passes defended, two interceptions (one for a touchdown) and two forced fumbles. He let his presence be known Sunday afternoon leading the Broncos with six tackles and was the third-leading tackler on the day for both squads.
In his ninth season in the NFL, Talib posted 45 tackles during the regular-season, defended 13 passes, hauled in three interceptions and returned two of those for a pick six. Sunday saw much of the same from the veteran cornerback as he posted five tackles and tipped a crucial Brady pass to force an interception on the Patriots’ two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game with 12 seconds left in the second half.
Harris lettered at KU from 2007-10 and was part of two KU bowl wins in the 2008 Orange Bowl and the 2008 Insight Bowl. He finished his Kansas career with 290 tackles, which ranks third all-time among defensive backs. As a freshman in 2007, he earned Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors and was a Sporting News Freshman All-American and All-Big 12 Freshman Team honoree.
Talib lettered in the Crimson and Blue from 2005-07 before being drafted in the first round (20th pick) of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He finished his KU career with 138 tackles, 9.5 tackles-for-loss, 13 interceptions and 43 pass breakups. In 2006 he was named to the All-Big 12 First Team and was a Second-team All-American in 2007.
Harris and Talib await the outcome of Sunday night’s NFC Championship game between the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals to see who they will play Sunday, Feb. 7, at Levi’s Stadium in Super Bowl 50. That game can be watched live on CBS at 5:30 p.m. CST.
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