A victory would give KU a 4-0 start for the first time since 1995 and just the second time in the last 26 seasons.
“It’s going to be another tough game,” said KU coach Mark Mangino. “They went toe-to-toe with Miami (Fla.) last week and they’ve played another tough opponent in Maryland. Also, being at Penn State in their first game and the first game with a new coach, in front of 107,000 fans, they did a formidable job. Overall, we are just looking to finish up our non-conference schedule strong.”
KU hasn’t done much wrong the last three games. While it’s still September, the Jayhawks are on pace to break school records for passing yards per game and total offensive yards per contest. Also, senior wide receiver Marcus Henry can make history Saturday night with 100 receiving yards, becoming the only player in school annals with four straight 100-yard receiving games.
And KU’s defense hasn’t been too shabby, either. After finishing last in the country in pass defense in 2006, Kansas currently ranks No. 10 nationally, giving up just 121 yards per game through the air. Moreover, KU has allowed the fewest points (20) in a three-game stretch since the first three games in 1997.
Now, KU just wants to keep the momentum going after last week’s win over Toledo.
“It is a chance for us to get better, get our fourth win, stay undefeated and get one more win closer to bowl eligibility,” said sophomore quarterback Todd Reesing. “It is our final tune-up before Big 12 play and it gives us a chance to make corrections and further improve our team. It is a big game and we are excited to get back out there and play again and continue this little streak we are on.”
Reesing has been on a little streak of his own with three straight games of over 200 passing yards. Only five Kansas players have ever thrown for 200-plus yards in more consecutive games. Reesing, who is averaging an eye-popping 277 passing yards per game and thrown for 10 touchdowns with no interceptions, set a KU sophomore record last week against Toledo when he passed for 313 yards.
The rising star disagrees with KU’s critics who’ve said Kansas hasn’t been pressed the last three games.
“I think we have been tested,” Reesing said. “The teams we have played have thrown a lot of blitzes and different looks at us. From that perspective, we have had to adjust to a lot of different schemes. ... I think we have been tested, but I think the level of competition will continue to rise throughout the season as we play further into the Big 12 season and games get closer. We have faced some good competition so I have to be pleased with where we are at right now.”
Of course, Reesing and his teammates will be even more pleased with another sound performance by the Jayhawks on Saturday night. While Florida International brings a 15-game losing streak to Lawrence, KU has no sympathy for the Golden Panthers.
“If they are down, we need to keep them down,” said freshman cornerback Chris Harris. “That is basically what we are trying to do to every opponent we play. We are just trying to get better as a team and get ready for the Big 12 Conference.”