|Kansas hits road to take on UTEP|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 11 September 2009 10:05|
No. 24 Kansas plays at UTEP on Saturday night in its only non-conference away game this season. Good thing, too, after the Jayhawks lost three of four away from home last season, the only win coming against Big 12 North doormat Iowa State.
``Any time you play on the road, it's tough,'' quarterback Todd Reesing said. ``It doesn't matter if it is conference or non-conference. We're going to have to have even more focus this week in practice and prepare the best we can.''
The Jayhawks (1-0) rolled to a 49-3 victory over Northern Colorado, a school from the Big Sky that won only one game last season. Jake Sharp ran for 123 yards, anchoring a pass-happy offense that produced 328 yards on the ground.
to build upon what we did this last week,'' said Reesing, who rushed for 79 yards against the Bears. ``It was a good start for us.''
The Jayhawks were 4-0 on the road in 2007, a season that ended with a victory in the Orange Bowl, and opened last season with two blowout victories at home. Then they hit the road and lost their momentum, beginning with a heartbreaking loss at South Florida.
Kansas erased a 34-20 deficit with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, before Reesing threw an interception with 30 seconds left and the Jayhawks on the march. South Florida kicked the game-winning field goal two plays later to escape with a 37-34 victory.
``We will find out a lot about ourselves,'' Kansas coach Mark Mangino said of the early season road test. ``If we want to have success in the conference, we have to be able to win on the road.''
While Kansas has dropped three straight non-conference road games since 2003, that slump is nothing like the skid UTEP is riding against ranked teams. The Miners (0-1) are 3-44 all-time against the Top 25, including nine losses in a row, the last win coming against BYU in 1997.
UTEP has also lost 15 straight games to current Big 12 schools, the last victory coming against Texas Tech in 1957. This is the fourth straight season the Miners will play a Big 12 team, and the first of two this season: No. 2 Texas awaits in Austin on Sept. 26.
f a 23-17 home loss to Buffalo in their opener.
``Kansas is really something,'' UTEP coach Mike Price said. ``They're not just a lot better than Buffalo, they're a whole lot better than a bunch of teams in the country.''
The Miners will lean on veteran skill players against the Jayhawks.
Junior quarterback Trevor Vittatoe, who passed for 233 yards against Buffalo, will make his 26th straight start and has passed for 6,608 yards in his career. Receivers Kris Adams and Jeff Moturi have a combined 36 touchdown receptions, the most among active tandems in the country.
Kansas linebacker Justin Springer may have the best scouting report on UTEP. His twin brother, Jeremy, starts at linebacker for UTEP.
``They are going to be a lot better than they played against Buffalo,'' Justin Springer said. ``I promise that. They are really good offensively. They have very fast receivers and a very good quarterback. They are real confident that they can beat us.''
Kansas will have a key offensive cog back in the lineup.
Receiver Dezmon Briscoe is expected to make his season debut after being suspended one game for violating team rules. The junior set a school record with 1,407 receiving yards in 2008.
Even with Briscoe's return, Reesing isn't expecting an easy evening in the desert.
``It is definitely going to be a challenge for us.'' Reesing said. ``We have to get ready and prepared, especially knowing that they are probably going to score some points with the reputation their offense has. It will be a good challenge for us.''