News and Notes, KU-Florida International

The 14th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks kick off the 2008 season at 6 p.m. this Saturday at Memorial Stadium against Florida International of the Sunbelt Conference. Some notes while chomping at the bit, waiting for Saturday...

  • KU will open its 88th season of play on what is not known as Kivisto Field, making it the 7th oldest Division I facility in the country.
  • KU has a nine-game winning streak in the friendly confines and has won 18 of their last 20 at home. KU also won nine-straight at home in 2005-06, but this group is still chasing the 15-game streak set by the 1908-1910 teams.
  • Head coach Mark Mangino begins his seventh season on Mount Oread with a 37-36 record – 35-26 since his second season. He is the first KU coach to lead the Jayhawks to three bowl games. Five Jayhawks have been named 1st-team All-Americans under his tutelage.
  • KU opens the season in Walnut Grove for the sixth straight year and has a four-game winning streak in season openers. They are 8-1 over their last nine home openers and have a 14-game win streak over nonconference foes at home.
  • KU has won 15 of their last 17 games dating back to the 2006 season.
  • KU has beaten their last six noncom opponents since losing in double overtime to Toledo on the road in 2006.
  • KU enters the 2008 season ranked – just the fifth time Kansas has been ranked to start a season.
  • Last year, KU beat FIU in the final noncon game, 55-3. That game is best remembered for Aqib Talib’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown, but other Jayhawks had good nights, as well. Todd Reesing and Kerry Meier led the Hawks to 615 total yards. Joe Mortensen led the team with 13 tackles while Mike Rivera had nine tackles and recovered two fumbles. Brandon McAnderson rushed 13 times for 105 yards, and Derek Fine made seven catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.
  • KU is 1-0 all-time against Florida International and 7-0 against current Sunbelt schools.
  • KU returns 40 letter winners and 15 starters from the Orange Bowl champion 2007 squad. A peek at the two-deep says that KU has 14 seniors (nine of whom start); nine juniors (six starters); 14 sophomores (five starters); five redshirt freshman (three starters); and four true frosh (none of whom start).
  • Redshirt freshmen Jeremiah Hatch, Jeff Spikes and Richard Johnson, Jr., are all slated to make their first career starts Saturday.
  • Two KU players – punter Alonso Rojas and WR Tertavian Ingram – are from Florida. KU assistant John Reagan played for Miami of the Arena Football League in 1994, and assistant Steve Tovar was a Miami Dolphins assistant in 2006.
  • Florida International assistant Greg Laffere was born in beautiful, scenic Basehor, KS.
  • Get your buzz on early and head to the ball yard to pick up a season opener commemorative t-shirt, courtesy of Jack Ellena Honda and the good folks at Adidas. Top Stories