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Huskers Prepare for Joust with Jayhawks

By NU Athletic Communications
Senior I-back Cory Ross and the rest of the Huskers turn their focus to the Kansas Jayhawks this week.
Senior I-back Cory Ross and the rest of the Huskers turn their focus to the Kansas Jayhawks this week.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Nebraska (5-3, 2-3)
Kansas (4-4, 1-4)

Saturday, Nov. 5, 2005 
Lawrence, Kan.
Memorial Stadium (AstroPlay)
TV: None
Nebraska Radio: 55-station Pinnacle Sports Network
Jim Rose–Play-by-Play; Adrian Fiala–Analyst; Randy Lee–Booth; Matt Davison–Sideline
Internet: Live Radio on Huskers.com
Satellite Radio: Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 123
Series Record: NU leads, 87-21-3 (100th Consecutive Meeting, Nation’s Longest Continuous Series)
Last Meeting: Nebraska 14, Kansas 8, Oct. 2, 2004, in Lincoln

Huskers, Kansas Set to Meet for 100th Consecutive Year
Nebraska and Kansas renew one of the longest-standing series’ in college football this Saturday, when the Huskers travel to Lawrence, Kan., to match up with the Jayhawks in a Big 12 Conference North Division matchup. The Nebraska-Jayhawk series is tied for the third-longest in Division I-A history, with this week’s matchup marking the 112th meeting. The annual matchup is the nation’s longest continuous series, with Saturday’s game marking the 100th straight year Nebraska and Kansas have met on the gridiron, dating back to 1906.

The Huskers will travel to Lawrence looking to end a two-game slide. After a road loss at Missouri two weeks ago, Nebraska’s comeback effort against Oklahoma fell short, as the Sooners escaped Lincoln with a 31-24 victory. The loss dropped Nebraska to 5-3 overall and 2-3 in Big 12 Conference play, two games behind North Division leader Colorado.

Kansas picked up its first conference victory last Saturday with an impressive defensive performance in a 13-3 victory over Missouri in Lawrence. The win improved the Jayhawks to 4-4 overall and 1-4 in league play. The KU defense has been one of the nation’s best throughout the year and enters Saturday’s game ranked in the top 20 nationally in three defensive categories, including second against the run.

Nebraska will put a 36-game win streak against the Jayhawks on the line in Saturday’s contest. The last Kansas victory against NU came in Lincoln in 1968. The Huskers have also won 18 straight against KU in Lawrence.

Oklahoma Holds Off Husker Comeback
Nebraska fell behind Oklahoma by 21 points early in the third quarter and a furious Husker rally fell short in a 31-24 setback to the Sooners in Lincoln. Playing in front of the 274th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium, Nebraska twice pulled within a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but could not overcome a 24-3 deficit.

Oklahoma took control of the game from the outset. After forcing a punt on Nebraska’s first possession, the Sooners needed just three plays to get on the scoreboard. Running back Adrian Peterson scored from 36 yards out to put OU ahead 7-0 less than three minutes into the game. Oklahoma struck again early in the second quarter, as Peterson put the exclamation point on a 12-play, 55-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run to give the Sooners a 14-0 lead.

Nebraska responded on its next possession, as Marlon Lucky returned the ensuing kickoff 34 yards to put the Huskers near midfield. Six plays and 30 yards later, Jordan Congdon put the Huskers on the scoreboard with his 40-yard field goal to trim OU’s lead to 14-3. Nebraska kept momentum when freshman Barry Turner ended a Sooner scoring threat by blocking a Sooner field goal attempt. However, Oklahoma stunned the Memorial Stadium crowd just before halftime. With Nebraska driving and hoping to slice the OU lead,quarterback Zac Taylor was intercepted by Chijioke Onyenegecha who raced 63 yards untouched into the end zone for a 21-3 halftime lead. OU pushed its lead to 24-3 early in the third quarter, as Garrett Hartley booted a 50-yard field goal after a Dusty Dvoracek interception for the Sooners on NU’s first drive of the second half.

Then Nebraska began to rally. The Huskers drove 80 yards on 16 plays in 6:07 capped by Taylor’s three-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Nunn to trim the OU edge to 24-10 with 5:17 to play in the third quarter. NU’s special teams then came up with a big play on a Sooner field goal attempt, as a mishandled snap on a 52-yard field goal attempt bounded into OU’s half of the field to set the Huskers up at the OU 48.

The Husker offense capitalized, driving 48 yards for a touchdown capped by Taylor’s 25-yard pass to Nate Swift on the opening play of the fourth quarter to cut the Sooner lead to 24-17. Nebraska dominated the third quarter, outgaining OU, 107-6, while maintaining possession for 11:14 in the quarter.

The Sooners answered with an 85-yard touchdown drive on their next possession that culminated with a 17-yard Kejuan Jones touchdown run with 10:58 left. Jones’ touchdown run followed a successful fake field goal attempt, as Hartley picked up six yards on fourth-down-and-three. But the Huskers kept it interesting to the end by flying 70 yards in just four plays on the next drive, highlighted by an 18-yard touchdown pass from senior I-back Cory Ross to Swift with 5:56 left in the game.

The Blackshirts then came up with a defensive stop to give the offense the ball back at the NU 27 with 2:37 left in the game. But after picking up one first down, the Sooners shut the door on Nebraska’s comeback hopes.

For the game, Nebraska amassed 283 yards of total offense, including 249 yards passing yards from Taylor, who completed 25-of-45 attempts with two touchdowns. Oklahoma produced 337 total yards, including Peterson’s 146 yards and two touchdowns rushing on 24 carries.

Noting Game Eight..Oklahoma 31, Nebraska 24

  • Nebraska redshirt freshman wide receiver Nate Swift topped the 100-yard receiving mark for the second consecutive game. Swift caught nine passes for 116 yards against Oklahoma after making nine catches for 135 yards against Missouri. Swift is the first Nebraska player to post back-to-back 100-yard receiving games since Irving Fryar accomplished the feat against Minnesota (2 catches, 138 yards) and UCLA (6, 100) in 1983.
  • Swift had a pair of touchdown catches in the fourth quarter, a 25-yarder from Zac Taylor and an 18-yard TD from Cory Ross. Swift has caught 28 passes in five Big 12 Conference games, after not having a reception in the Huskers’ first three games. Swift has three games with five or more catches (Iowa State, Missouri, Oklahoma).
  • Nebraska sophomore MIKE linebacker Corey McKeon recorded eight tackles, including two tackles for loss, totaling 11 yards. McKeon leads the Huskers with 68 total tackles, including 15 tackles for loss, totaling 71 yards, the third-most tackles for loss ever for a Nebraska linebacker, trailing the linebacker record 21 TFLs by Demorrio Williams in 2003 and 18 TFLs by Barrett Ruud last season.
  • NU junior defensive end Adam Carriker recorded a six-yard sack, marking his team-leading eighth sack of the season. Nebraska finished the day with one sack, marking the first time this season Nebraska has not had at least four sacks in a game. The Huskers entered the game with a nation-leading 38 sacks.
  • Nebraska senior I-back Cory Ross connected with Swift for an 18-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. The touchdown pass was the first pass attempt of Ross’ career and was the first touchdown pass thrown by a non-quarterback at Nebraska since Mike Stuntz threw a 63-yard touchdown pass to Eric Crouch in a 20-10 Husker victory over Oklahoma on Oct. 27, 2001.
  • Freshman place-kicker Jordan Congdon connected on a 40-yard field goal in the second quarter, marking his seventh straight made field goal. Congdon has connected on 13-of-16 field goal attempts this season. His 13 field goals are tied for seventh on the Husker single-season list, and just one field goal shy of the freshman record of 14 field goals shared by David Dyches (2003) and Josh Brown (1999).
  • Nebraska senior I-back Cory Ross caught four passes and is tied for the team lead with 28 receptions this season. Ross’ 28 receptions are the most by a Nebraska back since Jeff Kinney’s running back record 41 receptions in 1969. Ross now has 56 career receptions, trailing only Kinney’s 82 receptions among Nebraska running backs.
  • Nebraska freshman defensive end Barry Turner blocked a second-quarter Oklahoma field goal attempt, marking NU’s fourth blocked field goal of the season and its fifth blocked kick overall. Turner and fellow freshman Zach Potter combined to block a field goal against Pitt, while Adam Ickes blocked field goals against both Pitt and Texas Tech. Nebraska’s fifth blocked kick came at Missouri when Daniel Bullocks blocked a punt.
  • Nebraska junior quarterback Zac Taylor passed for 249 yards, completing 25-of-45 passes. Taylor now has 1,757 yards passing this season, moving him into fifth place on the Nebraska single-season passing list. Taylor is 243 yards from posting the fifth 2,000-yard passing season in school history and 317 yards from the NU single-season record of 2,074 yards set by Dave Humm in 1972.
  • Taylor threw two touchdown passes against OU, marking his fifth straight game with two touchdown passes.
  • The loss marked the Huskers’ second straight home loss, coupled with a 34-31 setback against Texas Tech on Oct. 8. This marks the first time Nebraska has lost back-to-back home games since dropping the 1984 season finale against Oklahoma and the 1985 home opener against Florida State. The loss handed Nebraska back-to-back home losses in the same season for the first time since the 1968 season, when NU lost three straight at home against Kansas, Missouri and Kansas State.
  • Oklahoma’s victory ended a six-game Nebraska winning streak against the Sooners in Lincoln and marked OU’s second straight win in the series. This marks the first time Oklahoma has defeated Nebraska in consecutive meetings since winning four straight against the Huskers from 1984 to 1987, including three victories in Lincoln.

Nebraska-Kansas Meeting for 100th Straight Season
Nebraska and Kansas are two of the nation’s oldest rivals. Saturday’s meeting will be the 112th all-time between the two schools, and the 54th all-time meeting in Lawrence.

  • The 112 meetings between the two schools makes NU-Kansas the third-longest series in Division I-A, trailing only Minnesota-Wisconsin (115 games) and KU-Missouri (114 games)
  • Saturday’s game marks the 100th straight year the two schools have met, making the NU-KU series the longest continuous series in the country. The schools have met every season since 1906.

NU Owns Remarkable Run of Success vs. Jayhawks
Nebraska will look to extend its winning streak against Kansas to 37 games with a victory on Saturday in Lawrence. The Huskers’ 36-game win streak against the Jayhawks is the second longest in Division I-A, trailing only Notre Dame’s 41-game win streak over Navy.

The Huskers have dominated Kansas during the 36-game win streak, with the Huskers scoring 40 or more points in 26 of the 36 games in that stretch. Conversely, the Blackshirt defense has limited Kansas to single digits 24 times in the 36-game win streak, including 10 shutouts. The Jayhawks have scored just 25 combined points in the last four meetings with Nebraska.

Kansas’ last victory over Nebraska was a 23-13 victory in Lincoln in 1968. KU’s last win in Lawrence was a 10-0 shutout over the Huskers in 1967. Nebraska has won 18 straight meetings with the Jayhawks in Lawrence.

Scouting the Kansas Jayhawks
The Kansas Jayhawks enter Saturday’s contest with a 4-4 mark on the year after picking up their first league win of the season last week with a 13-3 home victory over rival Missouri. The Jayhawks, which have one of the top rush defenses in the nation, limited MU to 33 net yards rushing, including holding dual-threat quarterback Brad Smith to just 38 yards on 20 carries. Smith also completed just 14-of-37 pass attempts for 141 yards, as the Tigers were outgained 298-180 in total offense for the contest.

Kansas’ rush defense ranks second in the Big 12 Conference and second nationally this week by allowing just 69.5 rushing yards per game. The Jayhawks have not allowed an individual to rush for 80 yards in a game this season. Only two teams (Appalachian State and Colorado) have rushed for more than 100 yards as a team against KU, while four opponents have been held to less than 50 net rushing yards.

Linebacker Nick Reid and defensive end Charlton Keith lead the way with 15 tackles for loss apiece while Reid paces the Jayhawks with 83 tackles and two forced fumbles. Keith is among the league leaders with seven sacks this season and has added 37 tackles and a team-best six hurries. Banks Floodman also has double-figure tackles for loss with 11, while two other Jayhawk defenders have added nine stops behind the line.

Offensively, the Jayhawks have struggled to find consistency. Three players have attempted at least 30 passes at quarterback this season, with the offense producing just 179 passing yards per game.

Brian Luke has seen the most action at QB after playing in seven games, but has just 852 yards while completing 48 percent of his pass attempts. Adam Barmann has picked up just 118 yards passing in four games. Jason Swanson was the only Jayhawk to attempt a pass in the win over Missouri, as he went 12-of-19 for 90 yards while tossing two interceptions. Jon Cornish and Clark Green have combined for more than 110 rushing yards per game and nine touchdowns on the ground, but KU ranks 106th nationally in total offense (293.3 ypg).

The Jayhawks are solid on special teams, ranking in the top 35 nationally in net punting and punt returns. Charles Gordon is third in the conference and 27th in the country with 11.3 yards per punt return, while punter Kyle Tucker ranks 18th in the nation and fifth in the league by averaging 43.4 yards per punt.

Kansas Head Coach Mark Mangino
Coach Mark Mangino is in his fourth season guiding the Jayhawks and owns a 16-28 overall record, including a 4-4 mark this season, matching KU’s win total from last season. The Jayhawks won six games under Mangino in 2003 while reaching their first bowl game in eight years after picking up just two victories in his first season in Lawrence.

Mangino has the Jayhawks ranked among the nation’s top defenses this season, as KU is second in rushing defense and 10th in total defense. Last year, two Jayhawk defenders – cornerback Charles Gordon and linebacker Nick Reid – were named first-team all-league while Gordon became the first Jayhawk under Mangino to earn All-America honors by being named to the third team. Mangino has also produced several solid offensive players, including two players in the past three seasons who were named Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year.

A 1987 graduate of Youngstown State, Mangino spent two seasons coaching with his alma mater and several years at the high school level before moving into the Big 12. He formerly served as an assistant at Kansas State from 1991 to 1998 and as assistant head coach at Oklahoma (1999-2001) before taking over the Jayhawks.

Nebraska-Kansas Series...112th All-Time Meeting...Nebraska Leads 87-21-3
The Huskers and Jayhawks will be meeting for the 112th time in the series, making it the third-longest rivalry in NCAA Division I history behind only the Minnesota-Wisconsin (115 years this season) and Kansas-Missouri (114) series. The Nebraska-Kansas series is continuous since 1906, as this week’s matchup is the 100th consecutive season the teams have faced off, marking the longest current continuous series in Division I and an NCAA record.

Nebraska has dominated the series as it owns an 87-21-3 advantage, including winning the past 36 contests. The last time the Huskers fell to the Jayhawks was 1968 when No. 9 KU defeated a No. 6 Husker squad, 23-13, in Lincoln. Nebraska has recorded 10 shutouts during the current 36-game win streak over KU, including back-to-back shutouts during the Big 12 era in 1997 (35-0) and 1998 (41-0). Nebraska has won two one-point contests (1973 and 1993) during the streak as well.

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