Proving It

Following a few days of games when mid-major schools ruffled some Big 12 North feathers, Kansas wasted no time putting away Toledo at Memorial Stadium.

The Jayhawks didn't allow them to come back from an early deficit as Missouri did in its loss to Troy. The Hawks weren't physically dominated like Kansas State was at home against Fresno State. And they weren't as mistake prone as Nebraska was when it fell to Southern Mississippi in Lincoln.

Instead the Jayhawks took control from the opening kick, running out to a 28-0 lead after one period and extending it to a 42-0 lead with 11:57 left to go in the second quarter. From there, the team put it in cruise control, sliding away with a surprisingly easy 63-14 victory.

The Jayhawks excelled in all areas of the game. John Randle, given his first collegiate start, skittered for 104 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while adding three catches for 179 yards and another score in the passing game. Adam Barmann finished the first half 20-24 on his passing attempts and finished with 310 yards and four touchdowns.

The Jayhawks were able to get great field position both from the defense and the special teams as Chris Tyrell continued on his hot punting streak, averaging 45.8 yards per kick, pinning two inside the 14, one at the five-yard line, and booming a 58-yarder.

Johnny Beck blasted all but three kickoffs for touchbacks. The defense added two interceptions and recovered three fumbles, two by defensive end Charlton Keith. One of those fumbles Keith took back 21 yards for the touchdown.

Toledo was a team that many considered as a top-25 tier team before the season started, but the Rockets have suffered back to back drubbings in which the opposing team has put up 63 points.

Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, a dark horse pick for the Heisman trophy, finished with a decent stat line as he connected on 15-28 passes for 215 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. But most of his yardage came when the game was already decided. He was 3-12 for 11 yards passing, while throwing two interceptions and fumbling once, during the time when Kansas built up its 42-point lead.

Receiver Lance Moore, the NCAA returning leader in receptions finished with three catches for nine yards. Toledo's second leading rusher was Nick Kaczur, its left tackle, who scampered 23 yards on a fake punt. Quinton Broussard led the team with 39 yards rushing on 14 carries and Kenny Higgins finished with five catches for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Game Notes:

The receivers really came to play on Saturday. Simmons and Rideau each had six catches, including a touchdown. Gary Heaggans added 45 yards receiving on two catches and a touchdown, and Lyonel Anderson caught two passes for 22 yards. Randle chipped in 79 yards out of the backfield and another score.

Scott Webb kicked the extra points this week to try and bring some balance back to what has been a shaky kicking game. He didn't do too badly, in fact, Webb set a KU single game record with nine PAT conversions.

Ashley had another big game. Following last week's game where Ashley had three tackles for loss, a sack and a recovered fumble, Ashley finished with another sack and two passes knocked down. Again, he was a hassle for interior linemen to block in passing situations.

Gradkowski, often considered to have one of the quickest releases in college football, did have just that. Despite being hit on almost every play, Gradkowski was sacked just twice, once by Ashley and once by defensive end Greg Tyree. It always seemed that he flicked the ball away just before getting hit. The Ashley sack was a vicious hit when Gradkowski faked the handoff, turned to bootleg outside and turned right into the defensive end. The Tyree sack was similar. But when Gradkowski saw the pressure, he was close to unsackable. Minnesota failed to sack him last week.

The field was slick for some reason or another. Players routinely lost their footing and it cost a couple of big plays. Randle slipped a couple of times and Greg Heaggans appeared to have nothing but the kicker in front of him on a kickoff cutback, but slipped to the turf. This "self-tacklization" was surprising because there was no reason for the field to be wet.

Mangino said he was not worried about the Jayhawks getting a big head. In fact, he said, the players were hungry after reading all of the magazines, newspapers and websites over the summer that said they would stink. Never underestimate a team with a chip on its shoulder.

Scoring Summary:

Kansas started off the game with a three and out, then got great field position after a Charles Gordon 31-yard punt return. Randle burst for 18 yards on the second play of the drive and burst into the endzone from two yards out to cap a seven-play 46-yard drive.

The next time Kansas received the ball was at its 49-yard line and Randle added a 23-yard rush to help set up a 17-yard touchdown pass from Barmann to Mark Simmons.

Nick Reid then intercepted a Gradkowski pass and ran it back to the five-yard line. Barmann completed a five-yard fade to Rideau, who leaped over the defender to bring in the score to make it 21-0.

Kansas received the next punt at the KU 45 and on first down, Barmann threw a short pass to Randle, who took it 55-yards to the house to make it 28-0.

Toledo moved the ball past midfield, but Stubbs intercepted a pass and returned it to the KU 49. Barmann found Mark Simmons on first down for 31 yards and completed a 16 yard touchdown pass to Gary Heaggans two plays later. 35-0.

Gabe Toomey forced a Gradkowski fumble on Toledo's second play that popped into the arms of Charlton Keith, who took it in for another touchdown. 42-0.

Toledo moved the ball on its next drive, completing a 31 yard pass to Kenny Higgins, and then taking advantage of sloppy tackling on a short pass that turned into a 51-yard touchdown from Gradkowski to Steve Odom. 42-7.

Kansas would go into its two-minute offense with 1:55 left in the half. Barmann pushed the ball downfield with mostly short passes, several to Mark Simmons. The 11-play 87-yard drive took up 1:38 seconds and was capped by another two-yard Randle run. The score would be 49-7 at the half.

After a KU punt, a Toledo turnover on downs, a Johnny Beck missed field goal, and a Toledo punt, Adam Barmann threw an interception to Keon Jackson at the Toledo 45.Gradkowski completed a 13 yard pass to Scooter McDougle, then a 23 yard pass to Kenny Higgins three plays later and finished the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass on fourth and four to Higgins. 49-14.

Kansas marched right back downfield after Jerome Kemp returned the squib kick 11 yards to the 41. After moving the ball with short runs and passes, Barmann hit Heaggans for 29 yards to the Toledo 12. Austine Nwabuisi pounded his way 11 yards to the one, and then pushed it in on the next play. 56-14.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Charlton Keith recovered his second fumble at the Toledo 33. Jason Swanson hit on a 17 yard pass to Marcus Henry on first down, then gave the ball to Clark Green for four plays and got 15 yards. A busted play led to a loss of one for Swanson on the next play. The two yard touchdown run came from the local product, former Lawrence High standout, fullback Brandon McAnderson who drove in to make the score 63-14.


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