"Northern Colorado came in here and I think they were expecting us to put up big numbers in the passing game. They played some zone, and well, we can run the ball," said Kansas Coach Mark Mangino. "I'm pleased with the way they did what they had to do given the circumstances."
The Jayhawks started early, scoring on their first possession when Todd Reesing faked a pitch on the option and darted inside for a one-yard score.
The Jayhawks scored three touchdowns in the second quarter, starting with Reesing's second touchdown run, this one from 13 yards out. The Jayhawks scored again less than four minutes later on a 10-yard shovel pass from Reesing to Jake Sharp. The quarter's third score came courtesy of a 16-yard touchdown pass to Tertavian Ingram.
The Bears scored next when Michael York knocked in a 29-yard field goal before the Jayhawks closed strong. Sharp ran for a one-yard touchdown, followed by Toben Opurum touchdown runs of 10 and 26 yards.
Reesing finished 13 of 20 for 208 yards and two scores in the air. He also rushed for 79 yards on 13 carries. Sharp and Opurum added to Reesing's damage on the ground, with the former rushing for 123 yards and a touchdown and the latter finishing with 79 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries.
Backup quarterback Kale Pick also received some snaps and rushed for 47 yards on three carries.
Kerry Meier was Kansas's leading receiver with five catches for 115 yards, while Bradley McDougald added two catches for 49 yards. Ingram and Sharp both caught Reesing touchdown passes.
Kansas was also impressive defensively, holding Northern Colorado to 246 yards and pressuring UNC quarterback Bryan Waggener, sacking him three times. Two of those sacks belonged to defensive end Jake Laptad, with the third coming from linebacker Drew Dudley. The Jayhawks also recovered three fumbles. But there were some struggles as well. The Jayhawks had four pass interference calls, with three of the decisions going against Anthony Davis. The Jayhawks began then to give a little more cushion, and Waggener took advantage, completing 12 of 19 passes in the second half for 99 yards.
Dezmon Briscoe, Jamal Greene, Raimond Pendleton and Jeff Wheeler all missed the game because of suspension. Mangino said after the game that Briscoe and Greene were serving suspensions that dated back to the spring, while Pendleton and Wheeler violated team rules.
After the game, Mangino said the Jayhawks "took care of business."
The Jayhawks will next travel to face the University of Texas at El Paso.
Kansas — Reesing 1 run (Jacob Branstetter kick), 10:10 1Q
KU — Reesing 13 run (Branstetter kick), 13:42 2Q
KU — Jake Sharp 10 pass from Reesing (Branstetter kick), 10:03 2Q
KU — Tertavian Ingram 16 pass from Reesing (Branstetter kick), 3:01 2Q
Northern Colorado — Michael York 29 field goal, 12:27 3Q
KU — Sharp 1 run (Branstetter kick), 14:17 4Q
KU — Toben Opurum 10 run (Branstetter kick), 4:38 4Q
KU — Opurum 26 run (Branstetter kick), 0:33 4Q
- The Jayhawks employed a four-man rush on passing situations, with Steven Foster and Quinton Woods acting as the defensive ends, and defensive ends Jake Laptad and Max Onyegbule bumping down to rush from the inside.
- Three true freshman saw time Saturday night: Bradley McDougald, Toben Opurum and Huldon Tharp. Newcomers Quinton Woods, Vernon Brooks and Calvin Rubles also saw extended time, with Rubles assuming a spot with the number one defense when Anthony Davis was repeatedly flagged for pass interference.
- The listed crowd of 52,530 set a new single-game record for home attendance, surpassing the crowd of 52,230 that was on hand for Kansas's 52-21 victory over Kansas State last season. The Jayhawks have played in front of four straight sellout crowds at home.
- Nickel back Chris Harris played an especially active game Saturday. Harris was in on seven stops, with five of them solo, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Harris also forced a fumble and broke up a pass.
- Kansas quarterbacks weren't sacked at all during the game, and Northern Colorado was only able to grab one tackle for loss. By comparison, Kansas piled up seven tackles in the backfield and three sacks.