Jayhawks Hit Road
Todd Reesing and Dezmon Briscoe have helped Kansas pile up some impressive numbers in the season's first two weeks. The third game of 2008 should provide a stiffer test.
Reesing and Briscoe lead the offense of the 13th-ranked Jayhawks into Miami's Raymond James Stadium on Friday night, when they'll square off with No. 19 South Florida.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made South Florida –3.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 81% of bets for this game have been placed on Kansas +3.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
Seeking a repeat of its surprising 2007 season, when it earned its first BCS bowl bid and defeated Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl, Kansas (2-0) is off to a strong start in 2008. Coach Mark Mangino's club has won its first two games - both at home - in dominant fashion, following a 40-10 rout of Florida International on Aug. 30 with a 29-0 victory over Louisiana Tech last Saturday.
Leading an offense averaging nearly 35 points per game are Reesing, a junior quarterback, and sophomore wideout Briscoe. Reesing has thrown for 668 yards and six touchdowns over the season's first two weeks, including a career-high 412 yards with three scores in last week's win over the Bulldogs.
One of those three TDs was a 48-yarder to Briscoe, who broke free of defenders after running a five-yard slant pattern. Briscoe caught three touchdowns in the season opener and already has 16 receptions for 201 yards in 2008.
Although Briscoe has been Reesing's top target, the quarterback has completed passes to 11 receivers this season. Freshman Daymond Patterson has 11 receptions for 152 yards and two scores, while converted quarterback Kerry Meier has a team-high 18 catches from a wideout spot.
"We have a lot of guys that are able to make plays," Reesing said. "We're not just looking for one guy. As you can see, we throw to a lot of different people. We have a lot of guys that can make plays and having that depth at receiver is real big for us."
Kansas won its first 11 games last season, but is being tested earlier in 2008. The 2007 Jayhawks didn't face a ranked opponent until an Oct. 6 win over then-No. 24 Kansas State, and didn't match up against a team in the top 20 until Nov. 24, when they suffered their only loss of the season to then-No. 3 Missouri.
This will be the second meeting between Kansas and South Florida. The other matchup was a 13-7 Jayhawks victory in Lawrence on Sept. 23, 2006. Kansas gave Bulls quarterback Matt Grothe trouble in that game, as he completed 17 of 32 passes for 196 yards but got intercepted twice without throwing for a touchdown.
"I think everyone knows that they have an extremely talented defense and have a lot of experienced guys," Grothe said Monday. "We played them two years ago and they have a lot of the same guys back. They're just good at what they do and they execute. It will be a great task but I think we will do a good job against them."
Grothe was a redshirt freshman in 2006, and may give Kansas more trouble as a junior. He threw for 346 yards and three scores - including a 25-yard game-winner in overtime to senior wide receiver Taurus Johnson - last Saturday in a 31-24 victory at Central Florida.
Grothe, who also rushed for a team-high 54 yards, threw his other two TD passes to senior tight end Cedric Hill, who matched the scoring output from his first three seasons with the Bulls.
Although both teams will be coming off a short week of practice for this contest, South Florida coach Jim Leavitt doesn't see that as a problem.
"I'm excited," Leavitt said. "Why would it be tough for the players? They don't go full pads at all, they get out there and get to play another game, they should be on fire.
"Playing one of the top teams in the country I don't see it being tough, I see it being exciting."
South Florida (2-0) posted upset wins last season over then-No. 17 Auburn and then-No. 5 West Virginia, and is seeking its fourth consecutive victory over a ranked opponent.
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