It was a predictably difficult 19-14 win for Kansas in Boulder, but believe me, this is progress. Only a follower of Kansas or Colorado would know how many times these games have gone the other way, with Kansas folding late on the road instead of holding on by their fingernails for the win. Bottom line, the Jayhawks found a way to win on the road, a skill that has eluded Mangino’s teams since he’s been hired.
You know by now that my way of getting inside the numbers is to look at the fate of former starter, now backup QB Kerry Meier. The Kansas gameplan is using every football instinct encoded in the Meier DNA, from throwing to running to catching, and even punting. Kerry’s brother Shad was a tight end at K-State years back, and made the NFL in that capacity – Kerry is often used as a pseudo-TE – check. His brother Dylan just completed his QB tenure at K-State – Meier started 8 games at QB for Kansas – check. Meier liked to run from the QB position last year, and missed games due to injury from that contact – check. Punting…. I don’t know where that came from, but apparently Meier has been efficient at that since his high school days as well.
Perhaps the greatest thing to happen to KU was Dylan Meier’s presence as K-State QB two years ago. Rather than sit behind his older sibling, Kerry came to “the enemy”, and that has made a whale of a difference for the crimson and blue.
Here are Meier’s subdued stats from the Colorado game: three receptions for 15 yards.
Something about all of this feels like a trick play in the making. Part of the value of the slash-type player is the potential for diversion he provides. So far, most every time Meier has been in the game, he has been the target of the play. Opponents are being conditioned to expect him to get the ball. In a tight game, I would not be at all surprised to see him trot in and take a fake handoff, or catch a lateral from Reesing and throw for a TD. His versatility and willingness are a wonderful weapon to hold in reserve, not to mention that if Reesing goes down, KU fans will feel completely comfortable with Meier under center for the rest of the season.
In the meantime, Reesing has shown why he won the job this season. He hit for 20/29 passing, including a beautiful wide-open scoring play to TE Derek Fine. He also took to his feet when things got rough, gouging the Buffs for 84 yards on broken plays. He was the leading rusher for the Jayhawks, in fact.
Off to Texas A&M next. Sorry to say it, Semitough, but I would LOVE for Kansas to silence the twelfth man next weekend.