'Hawks Hope to Turn Things Around vs. Nubb

Mark Mangino's Jayhawks have a way of turning things around at the end of the season.

Take 2005, when after losing four straight, Kansas won four of its last five games, including the Fort Worth Bowl.

Take 2006, when after again losing four straight games and five out of six, KU finished the campaign winning their last three of four contests.

And take last season, when after losing four of five games, KU won its last two contests against Missouri and then Minnesota in the Insight Bowl.

Now, the Jayhawks (5-4) are hoping for that same late season magic after losing four straight games heading into their Senior Day showdown with Nebraska (6-3) on Saturday in Lawrence.

Kickoff is 2:30 p.m. (CT) on ABC.

KU and NU have split the last four meetings, with the home team winning each time.

Despite the past month's adversity, Kansas is still upbeat with Nebraska coming into town.

"We're not going to get down from losing games," Mangino said. "We're going to find a way to get better, that's the way we do it here. We keep looking for solutions. Nobody is feeling bad for themselves, there is nobody pouting. If you go down the hallway to the coaches' suites, people are working. Players are coming in and asking questions and getting DVDs to watch and things like that. It's business as usual. Our players are strong emotionally."

Mangino said he hasn't been motivating his players any differently during this losing streak.

"I've been down this road before," he said. "Through the years when we've had a tough spell, we've stayed the steady course. We didn't panic, we don't blame players, we don't blame anybody, and it's our own fault that we didn't win. ... We've always stayed the steady course because deep down inside, we believe we can pull out of it."

The Jayhawks hope to pull out of it Saturday against the Cornhuskers, who are coming off a big win against Oklahoma (10-3) last Saturday. The Cornhuskers feature the nation's No. 2 scoring defense. NU actually held the Sooners without a touchdown in a game for the first time since 1998.

"They have a very talented defensive unit," Mangino said. "It starts with their defensive line. They are big, strong and athletic. If they get into a rhythm, they can really halt the run game."

Star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh leads the D-Line.

"He is as fundamentally sound a football player as there is in the conference," Mangino said.

On offense, Nebraska has been "up and down." The Cornhuskers, though, have an impressive running back in Roy Helu, who's rushed for 806 yards this season. At quarterback, Nebraska will use either freshman Cody Green or junior Zac Lee. Green started against OU, but was replaced early by Lee.

"I think Zac is kind of a guy who can manage the game for them, which is probably what they are looking for right now," Mangino said.

As for Kansas, the Saturday contest will mark the final home game for 15 seniors, including captains Todd Reesing, Jake Sharp, Kerry Meier, and Darrell Stuckey. These four have been the heart and soul of the Jayhawks' program. Mangino praised the captains and the entire senior class.

"(The) senior class has meant a great deal to the football program, to the athletic department and to the university," Mangino said. "There are a lot of quality young men in that group who will be successful in life, not only in football. They will be great ambassadors to the university. They have faced challenges and met many of them head on, and been successful. ... I am proud of them. They are a good group of kids."

Of course, this senior class would love nothing more than to erase KU's four-game losing streak with a big win over the Huskers. If recent history repeats itself from 2005, 2006 and 2008, expect the Jayhawks to rebound from adversity and notch their first win since beating Iowa State in the Big 12 opener over a month ago. 

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