THE TEXAS HANGOVER AGAIN (aka MANGINO-PRINCE II)
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 No. 24 Cats were looking forward to boosting their ranking and reclaiming 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 a 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 Cats fooled KU with a Leon Patton to Deon Murphy five-yard halfback TD pass for a 24-21 lead.
Then, the legend took over. 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 No. 20 ranking in the AP Poll.
As sometimes happens in early season rivalry matchups, one team 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.
PHOTO THAT SAYS IT ALL
6sports summary: http://www2.kusports.com/videos/2007/oct/07/15493/
"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