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Mangino's Greatest Hits: KU / KSU 2007

One week earlier, Wildcat fans were celebrating the Ron Prince stomp after the purple once again knocked off Texas. This time it happened in Austin and the #24 Cats were looking forward to boosting their ranking and re-claiming the glory days with a win over the 4-0 Jayhawks. It looked good early on as Todd Reesing threw an interception on the first drive. That was followed by Jordy Nelson smoking Aqib Talib for long run after a catch that went for a TD and a 7-0 KSU lead. Something strange happened in Manhattan though. The Jayhawks answered when Jake Sharp scored on a 20-yard run. It was the first KU touchdown in Manhattan since 1999.

There were more fireworks in the first half as the Cats took a 14-7 lead, but Aqib Talib scored on a short TD with 11 seconds left to tie it up again for halftime.

KU really asserted themselves in the second half, starting with the 28-yard screen pass that Dezmon Briscoe took to the house and into the pages of Sports Illustrated. However, the Cats kept battling and the KU attitude of "something bad is going to happen" was hanging in the minds of large contingent of the crimson and blue fans in the stands. It did when a screen pass to Dexton Fields bounced off his facemask and straight into the air deep in KU territory. KSU intercepted and several plays later the Cat's fooled KU with a Leon Patton to Deon Murphy 5-yard halfback TD pass for 24-21 lead.

Then, the legend took over. Todd Reesing immediately drove KU down the field and answered with a 30-yard slant pass TD to ... you guessed it, Dexton Fields. After a botched PAT, KU led 27-24.

There was more action to come as KU added another field goal, but they couldn't quite put the purple away until Talib intercepted Josh Freeman in the final minutes of the game. The Hawks won 30-24 and would end up with a #20 ranking in the AP Poll. As sometimes happens in early season rivalry matchups, one teams goes on to a good or great season and the other fades into obscurity. That really seemed to be the case in this one as KSU never seemed to recover from losing to KU in Manhattan for the first time since 1989. KU went on to make program history, but the KSU road win was the hump that the Jayhawks had to get over to become a program. Personally, I think that hump was more mental than physical. The rest of the year would prove it out -- the Jayhawks learned how to win in Manhattan.


6sports summary:


"We finally played a Top-25 team, on the road, and we got the win. What are they going to say now?"
--Aqib Talib

"That was the kind of game, we would've gave away last year."
--Aqib Talib

"I thought clearly (KU) was the best team we have played all year. I tried to say it very clearly to our team, to anybody that would listen, that this team had no weaknesses."
--Ron Prince

"I told our players that this was the day. The time was right. Our program, our players are confident. They feel good about themselves. This 2007 team feels like they can win anywhere."
--Mark Mangino

More from the series: Mangino's Greatest Hits

Reader Comments (2)

We were at the very top of the KU section in the corner. After the Talib pick, we looked behind and below us and saw hundreds and hundreds of KSU fans rushing the exits. I yelled "Hey we'll see ya in Lawrence next year!". My friend yelled "Where's your power towel now?". Somebody didnt appreciate what my friend Mark said and sprayed us with dip spit, probably out of a bottle or can. Since KSU uses high school bleachers in their stadium, quite a few of us were sprayed. I didnt care personally. The only thing I gave a damn about then was the scoreboard.
I think a strong argument could be made that this was the 2d biggest win in KU history, behind the Orange Bowl. I say that not only because of the HUGE buildup to the game. It was the most anticipated KU/KSU game since 1995, but because of the ripple affect it had on the two programs. Mangino went on to win the Orange Bowl and Coach of the Year. Prince was at the high water mark of his tenure at KSU the morning before the game. He was never able to recover from this stunning setback. In fact, this game caused him to crash and burn. This outcome was stunning to KSU fans and many KU fans. Not to me or anyone else that had been watching KU closely in the years leading up to this game.
February 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfabio
We were on hand for this one as well, but we were in the corner of the upper deck, toward the open end. We had always been in or near the bowl in my previous trips to Manhattan. I remember watching the celebration down there and wishing we could have been a part of it. Of course, we had a pretty good view of some pretty big plays. Sharp's TD, Talib's TD and Dexton's game winner (of course, we also had good view of Jordy Nelson's TD as well).

I agree, I think this was the beginning of the end for Prince.
February 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDJ

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