Mark Mangino criticized officiating after the game due to an offensive pass interference call on sophomore Charles Gordon. The flag was thrown on a critical possession in which the Jayhawks led at the 2:34 mark of the fourth quarter.
After apologizing for his post game comments, Mangino was ready to shift the spotlight to his players for their tough play against the No. 6 ranked Texas Longhorns.
“As I have said earlier, I have never been more proud of a football team. To overcome the loss of some key players and to play the way they did is just a tribute to some of the young guys in our program. I may never experience again in my lifetime that type of an effort from a bunch of kids who were not expected to do very much in a game,” Mangino said.
The Jayhawks will have to move on and get ready for the much anticipated Border Showdown with the Missouri Tigers. Last year Kansas blasted a No. 23 ranked Missouri team at a sold out Memorial Stadium 35-14. Both teams have struggled this season gaining victories and Missouri will look to snap a four game losing skid.
Mangino said that motivating the team is not a problem against the border rival.
“Our kids understand the rivalry and the history of it. It is the oldest rivalry west of the Mississippi River and is on of the best in the country. Our kids look forward to playing Missouri. There is an extra bounce in everybody’s step around here. The game is a lot of fun. Our kids look forward to it,” Mangino said.
The Tigers received significant hype in the pre-season with a Heisman hopeful at the quarterback position. Brad Smith is just 72 rushing yards short of reaching the 3,000-yard mark for his career. Smith is elusive on the ground and can also make plays in the air. However, the junior has struggled this season and Mangino is quite aware of Smith’s talent level.
“I realize what he has done over the years with his athleticism and we are very much in tune to that,” Mangino said. “We know that Brad is very good on his feet and can throw the ball as well. But I think coaches are always aware of his athleticism – which is always a factor when you play against Missouri.”
The Jayhawks are more than nicked up heading into the Border Showdown. Kansas will have one healthy quarterback in Brian Luke, who will start the game Saturday. Sophomore Adam Barmann may gain medical clearance and could possibly serve as a backup to Luke. John Nielson started the contest against Texas but suffered an injury to his right foot and would only play Saturday in an emergency situation.
Missouri needs the victory to stay bowl eligible and could possibly challenge for the Big 12 North Division title. Kansas will look to improve on its 3-7 overall record and 1-6 record in Big 12 play. With a victory Saturday, the Jayhawks would have beaten its neighbor rivals, Kansas State and Missouri in the same season.