“I have to be honest with you,” Mangino said. “We have taken a whole new mentality on offense. We are going all out. We aren’t holding anything back at any time. Our kids like it that way; they like to play like that.”
But the game didn’t start off quite according to plan.
Kansas offensive coordinator Ed Warinner has said repeatedly that he would like to be able to pass to set up the run. But it was the run that opened things up for the pass. On Kansas’s second drive of the game, Brandon McAnderson took the ball for five yards. Four plays later, it was 14. The next play netted seven yards. Then seven again. And four plays later, Kansas was on the scoreboard with a Todd Reesing three-yard touchdown pass to Derek Fine.
McAnderson finished the drive with seven carries for 51 yards.
It would be all the opening that Reesing would need. On the next drive, Reesing was
3-4, including a 34-yard completion to Dexton Fields and a 16-yard touchdown pass to freshman wideout Dezmon Briscoe, who held on to the ball before he was clocked near the sideline.
But Reesing wasn’t finished. He would connect with two long touchdown passes in the half, a 46-yard touchdown to Marcus Henry and a 49-yard score to Aqib Talib. The two scores were separated by a 77-yard punt return touchdown courtesy of Raimond Pendleton.
And just like that, the Jayhawks took a 35-0 lead into the half on 351 yards of total offense. Reesing finished the half 15 of 21 for 217 yards and four touchdowns, while McAnderson had already eclipsed the century mark with 110 yards on 16 carries.
The Jayhawks would continue to roll in the second half, with running back Jake Sharp putting the Jayhawks up 42-0 with a three-yard jaunt. Scott Webb would add to the lead with a 34-yard field goal before the Chippewas finally got on the board, but by that point, it was too late.
Jake Sharp picked up the rushing work load in the second half, and finished with more than 100 yards himself, with 106 on 15 carries.
It marked the first time the Jayhawks had two 100-yard rushers in one game since Jon Cornish and Clark Green passed the 100-yard barrier against Nebraska in 2005. Not to be outdone, Marcus Henry finished with seven catches for 103 yards.
Meanwhile, the defense didn’t allow a score until the fourth quarter, and held CMU quarterback Dan LeFevour to 19 of 37 through the air for 172 yards, much of it after the game was decided.
That’s a big step up for a defense that gave up more passing yards than any other team in Division 1-A last year.
“I’m really pleased with our pass defense, not only from a coverage standpoint, but with pressure,” Mangino said. “We were able to get some pressure with a four-man rush, with some blitzes. To be able to do that against their quarterback is quite an effort by our kids on defense.”
On the flip side, Reesing finished the game 20 of 29 for 261 yards and four scores.
“We wanted to go out and make a statement and say, ‘this isn’t the Kansas of old,’” Reesing said. “We are not going to be six and six any more. We are not going to settle for that.”
The large scoring margin allowed Kansas to work with some of its backups as well … Kerry Meier came out on the field to start the fourth quarter. He would also captain a scoring drive, capping it off with a 21-yard pass to Pendleton. Six true freshmen also saw the field: Briscoe at wide receiver, Chris Harris at cornerback, Jake Laptad at defensive end, Justin Springer on special teams, Drew Dudley at linebacker and Carmon Boyd-Anderson at running back
“Obviously, when you can beat a good football team by that type of score, you feel pretty good for your players,” Mangino said. “It’s a good way to start the season.”
The Jayhawks will continue their season next week at home against Southeastern Louisiana. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
KU-Derek Fine 3 pass from Todd Reesing (Scott Webb kick), 7:21 1Q
KU-Dezmon Briscoe 16 pass from Reesing (Webb kick), 3:25 1Q
KU-Marcus Henry 46 pass from Reesing (Webb kick), 6:38 2Q
KU-Raimond Pendleton 77 punt return (Webb kick), 6:08 2Q
KU-Aqib Talib 49 pass from Reesing (Webb kick), 3:07 2Q
KU-Jake Sharp 3 run (Webb kick), 9:48 3Q
KU-Webb 34 FG, 2:42 3Q
CMU-Ryan Anderson 16 pass from Dan LeFevour (Andrew Aguila kick), 14:55 4Q
KU-Pendleton 21 pass from Kerry Meier (Webb kick), 10:10 4Q