Taking Advantage

Jordan Webb is definitely not a Heisman Trophy candidate, but he's progressing just fine in his young KU career and showing the quarterback position is in good hands during the next three-plus seasons.

Jordan Webb, a 6-0, 210-pound redshirt freshman, passed for a season and career-high 249 yards on 17 of 27 through the air in KU's 42-16 victory against New Mexico State Saturday night. He completed his first six passes, threw for one touchdown, connected with eight different receivers, and rushed for a career-best 35 yards.

Perhaps most important, Webb didn't throw an interception.

"Our number one goal every game is ball security," Webb said. "That's huge. ...  Other than that, (I think I did a good job) just getting the ball to the playmakers' hands and managing the game."

It was Webb's best game as a Jayhawk, but he couldn't have done it without his offensive line. He credited the O-line over and over again for protecting him all game and not giving up a sack. KU entered the game last in the Big 12 in sacks against with 12 for 71 yards.

"The offensive line had great protection. It's an awesome feeling," Webb said about not getting sacked. Obviously, I won't be very sore (the next day). ... I know our O-line has taken a lot of heat from the last few games, but I knew they had the ability to do big things, and tonight it just came together for them."

It also came together for Webb, who demonstrated his scrambling ability and passing skills, throwing deep on several occasions.

"We talked about it. The coaches wanted to get us more shots down field," Webb said. "Throughout the week we did a lot of deep balls in practice. We worked on it, and it paid off.

"Every receiver wants the deep ball," Webb added. "The deep ball is something we're going to keep getting better at."

While Gill said Webb needs to get more loft on his deep throws, the KU coach was quite pleased with his overall play against New Mexico State.

"I thought it was a very good performance," Gill said. "I like the way his approach was. I like the way he went about his business. He played with a passion, he played with excitement. He played with self control and poise. And then he executed. That's the bottom line. I like the way he executed the offense."

KU's offense, which had struggled all season, finally came alive Saturday night. The Jayhawks racked up a season-high 26 first downs and 501 yards of total offense — 264 passing yards and  237 rushing yards. Freshman running back James Sims rushed for 115 yards, sophomore D.J. Beshears ran a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and five players had at least 41 receiving yards.

"It was definitely great," Webb said about KU's offensive performance. "We all knew what we were capable of if we came out and executed well. We left a few points on the board, which is kind of disappointing, but overall we played a pretty good game."

Webb loves KU's offensive potential.

"I've said this all along, we've got depth, we got playmakers at every position," Webb said. "We have guys that can do great things with the ball in their hands. It's definitely going to be exciting. ... Coming in here (this season), we're not used to scoring less than 30 or 40 points at least (per game). Todd (Reesing) and that offense, they were great. I think we have the ability to be pretty good."

Webb has pretty good ability himself and is working hard to improve his game and numbers. Through four games (three starts), he's completed 57 of 93 passes for 625 yards and five touchdowns.

After a standout career at Union (Mo.) High School, where he was a two-time all-state first-team selection at quarterback and passed for 3,100 yards and 31 touchdowns while rushing for 1,024 yards and 24 TDs his senior season, Webb is now living the dream starting at Kansas as a young redshirt freshman.

"It's definitely exciting," Webb said. "It's one of the main reasons I came here. I wanted to learn from Todd for the year (last season) and compete for a starting spot. I'm happy with what's happening."

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