Senior Strength Helps To A KU Victory Against Southern Mississippi
Sept. 26, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan.-- -
Southern Mississippi gave the No. 20 Associated Press and No. 19 Coach’s Poll ranked Kansas Jayhawks a run for their money at Saturday’s football game at Kivisto Field in Memorial Stadium.
Southern Mississippi was considered the toughest non-conference opponent for the Jayhawks this season and the competition is only going to become harder when the Jayhawks start Big 12 play in two weeks.
“Southern Mississippi is a good football team, and offensively they are outstanding, “ said Head Coach, Mark Mangino. “It is good for us because it is right up to conference play now. It was helpful that we played against them.”
The senior leadership on the field was undeniable. In particular safety Darrell Stuckey, wide receiver Kerry Meier and quarterback Todd Reesing, all made big plays against Southern Mississippi that helped the Jayhawks to a 35-28 victory.
Meier started the game off strong scoring on a 62-yard touchdown reception on the first drive of the game, which was the Jayhawks longest touchdown of the season.
“Kerry quietly makes play after play,” Mangino said. “He gets open where a lot of receivers would struggle and he gets the yards after the catch.”
Meier did get the yardage Saturday. He pulled in 10 passes for 141 yards beating his previous career high of 136 yards against Sam Houston State last year.
“I pushed myself and my teammates throughout the week and then everything is a lot easier when Saturday rolls around,” Meier said. “I thank the coaching staff, the other players and myself for doing that.”
The 62-yard receiving touchdown could not have come without a great pass from Reesing, who also had a standout game with 331 total yards of offense. That propeled him past Texas quarterback, Vince Young, to seventh on the Big 12 total offense list.
Mangino recognizes that Reesing is in it to win and there to push the Jayhawks to victory.
“That competitive spirit that Reesing has rubs off on the rest of the team,” Mangino said.
On the other side of the ball Stuckey is keeping the leadership alive.
Against Southern Mississippi Stuckey forced a fumble in the second quarter on the Kansas 21-yard line that was recovered by Justin Springer possibly stopping a touchdown play. That was the third forced fumble of his career.
“We knew coming in that they were a very good team, “Reesing said. “They played hard to the end of the game. They mixed some things up on defense and gave us some looks that we had trouble with. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are contenders for their conference championship.”