Did he ever.
Todd Reesing led KU to a resounding 52-7 victory over Central Michigan. He showed poise. He showed leadership. He showed sharp passing. And perhaps above all, he showed on this night that he’s ready to guide the Jayhawks to new heights and a very memorable season.
Reesing completed 20-of 29 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Reesing, who actually threw for 217 yards in the first half, surpassed his passing yardage (204) in three games played last year. Sure he made some mistakes, but what first-time starting quarterback doesn’t.
The sophomore was honored by CollegeSportsReport.com as the Division I Performer of the Week. Reesing currently ranks 11th in the nation in pass efficiency (19.098) and 25th in total offense (269 yards).
KU head coach Mark Mangino was ecstatic over Reesing commanding performance.
“He has this competitive spirit about him,” Mangino said. “It’s hard to describe. The kids feel it. The coaches feel it. He’s confident. He makes people around him confident because he is. He made some mistakes, though. He took a sack in the second quarter over by the opponent’s bench when he should have threw the ball to the tuba player, but as soon as he came off the field, he realized he made a mistake. He missed a couple of reads and stuff, but overall he had a big night. I’m pleased with him. We need the quarterback position to be really strong for us.”
After some early game jitters, Reesing looked quite comfortable behind center. He had a field day, connected with multiple receivers for a variety of screen and deep passes, including a 49-yard touchdown throw to Aqib Talib and a 46-yard TD pass to Marcus Henry.
"After the first series, I got a few throws under my belt and I just calmed down a little bit,” Reesing said. “We were just doing what we prepared to do in practice all week. The offensive line did a great job of pass protection and run blocking. The receivers did a great job catching a lot of balls that weren't where they were supposed to be. It was really good to get out there and execute the way we did. It was a good way to start the season off."
And did he surpass his own expectations Saturday?
“You expect the best and prepare for the best,” Reesing said. “I don’t think you can exceed your own expectations. There were obviously a few passes I made that weren’t too crisp and a few reads I made that I should have thrown to someone else, so there’s always something to improve on. But for the first game and first start, I’d say I felt pretty confident. That was a pretty good job.”
This is indeed a confident young man who isn’t afraid of pressure.
“I carry myself at a high level, and I expect a lot from myself,” Reesing said. “In doing that, I expect that I’m going to do what I’m supposed to do so everyone else can do their job even better. If I expect that high level out of myself and everyone else sees myself doing that, then they kind of say, ‘Hey, he’s working hard, if he really wants this, there must be a reason. We got something special going on here.’ I think a lot of the guys see that. ...If we just do what we’re supposed to do and work hard and play with that type of attitude, then there’s no stopping us.”
If Reesing plays every game like he did against Central Michigan, there’s definitely nobody stopping Kansas. Just give the ball to “Sparky” and let him create his magic.
“Starting his first game in Division I, you’d think he did this for 10 years, the way he approached the game, the way he warmed up on the sideline,” Mangino said. “Courage is a good thing to have. He has it.”