7:00 PM ET, October 27, 2007
Kyle Field, College Station, TX
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- Kansas keeps answering its critics by chalking up victories.
Brandon McAnderson rushed for a career-high 183 yards and two touchdowns and the ninth-ranked Jayhawks (No. 12 AP) improved to 8-0 for the first time since 1909 with a 19-11 win over Texas A&M.
Todd Reesing went 21-for-33 for 180 yards and the Jayhawks' fifth-ranked defense did the rest, holding the Aggies to 127 yards and six first downs through three quarters. A&M gained 191 yards in the fourth quarter, after the Jayhawks built a 19-0 lead.
The Jayhawks play Nebraska next week, seeking their first 9-0 start since 1908. Kansas is already guaranteed its best record since the 1995 team went 10-2 in the final season of the Big 8.
"It's been extremely exciting," said Reesing. "We're thrilled to be where we're at right now."
Kansas played a lightweight nonconference schedule and skeptics were still waiting to see if these Jayhawks were legitimate. Though it got close at the end, this performance should help silence many doubters.
The Jayhawks improved to 4-0 in the Big 12 for the first time, snapped a seven-game losing streak to A&M and earned its first win in Texas since 2001. They're eyeballing the Big 12 championship now, unthinkable during the 1990s, when Kansas was routinely routed by Nebraska, Texas and Kansas State.
"The season's still got a long way to go," Reesing said. "If we keep on playing like we are, hopefully, things will work out for us."
Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione walked away from the loss a believer.
"Anybody who has doubts about them, I don't think they should," he said. "You have to give Kansas their due."
The Jayhawks held the Aggies' fifth-ranked rushing offense to 56 yards through three quarters.
"We just couldn't block everybody," said A&M quarterback Stephen McGee, who rushed for 167 yards against Nebraska last week. "They really fly around. They do a great job of everybody running to the ball. They aren't the most athletic defense. But they are by far the best defense we've faced."
With the running game eliminated, the Aggies had to rely on their 111th-ranked passing game. That didn't start clicking until the very end, when the Jayhawks were willing to give up short passes.
"We knew we had to play the run well, and we did," said Kansas coach Mark Mangino. "We felt like, in order for them to beat us, they'd have to throw the ball. And that's not their comfort zone. We tried to force them to do things they don't normally do."
McGee finished 24-for-44 for 244 yards, but most of the completions came in the last quarter. The Aggies (6-3, 3-2) had minus-9 yards in the third quarter, when Kansas started to build the lead.
Matt Szymanski kicked a 21-yard field goal with 7:20 left to make it 19-3.
McGee threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to freshman Roger Holland with 2:06 remaining and ran for a 2-point conversion to make it 19-11. Raimond Pendleton recovered an onside kick, but A&M got the ball back with 52 seconds left.
McGee hit tight end Martellus Bennett near midfield, but two desperation heaves to the end zone fell incomplete.
Kansas kicker Scott Webb, who was 11-for-12 on field goals coming into the game, had one blocked and hooked another try in the scoreless first half.
The Jayhawks' defense stifled A&M until the Aggies drove to the Kansas 9 late in the second quarter. On fourth-and-1, Kansas stuffed 275-pound Jorvorskie Lane, who'd gained first downs on 14 of 17 third-down runs this season. Lane rushed for just 24 yards.
Kansas shut out its opponent in the first half for the sixth time this year. Mangino felt like the fourth-down stop on Lane swung momentum for his team.
"Those kinds of plays can take the wind out of you," Mangino said. "Our kids came up and made a big play. Our defense, at that point in time, we felt like we could stop this run game and force them into a pass game."
Webb hit a 31-yard field goal with 9:16 left in the third quarter and McAnderson's 6-yard touchdown run with 5:04 left in the third quarter made it 10-0 before the Aggies had a second-half first down.
Reesing completed 12 of his first 13 passes in the third quarter and Webb added a 32-yard field goal to go up 13-0.
Mike Goodson got A&M's initial first down of the second half on a 5-yard run a minute into the fourth quarter. Two plays later, McGee and Goodson fumbled a handoff exchange and Kansas recovered at the Aggies' 43.
McAnderson ran 40 yards on the next play and bulled into the end zone on third down to make it 19-0. The Jayhawks failed on a 2-point conversion try.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Kansas broke open a scoreless game in the third quarter, jumping out to a 13-0 lead on a Brandon McAnderson rushing touchdown and two field goals.
Gameball goes to... McAnderson. Kansas' senior fullback rushed for more yards (183) on fewer carries (21) than in either the 2005 or 2006 seasons.
Stat of the game... 7. Javorskie Lane, Texas A&M's bruising, punishing back was given the ball just seven times, finishing with 24 of Texas A&M's 74 rushing yards.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-16||5-16|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||2-4|
|FG||09:16||Scott Webb 31 Yd |
Drive: 11 plays, 50 yds, 4:39
|TD||05:04||Brandon Mcanderson 6 Yd Run (Scott Webb Kick) |
Drive: 6 plays, 54 yds, 2:38
|FG||00:08||Scott Webb 32 Yd |
Drive: 8 plays, 44 yds, 3:12
|TD||11:29||Brandon Mcanderson 3 Yd Run (Two-Point Run Conversion Failed) |
Drive: 4 plays, 43 yds, 1:23
|FG||07:20||Matt Szymanski 21 Yd |
Drive: 16 plays, 70 yds, 3:48
|TD||02:06||Roger Holland 32 Yd Pass From Stephen Mcgee (Stephen Mcgee Run For Two-Point Conversion) |
Drive: 6 plays, 80 yds, 1:51