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November 1, 2008

Sharp powers KU to romp over Cats

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The Kansas Jayhawks scored on their first five possessions and made the most of four Kansas State turnovers in the first half as they raced to a 31-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 52-21 victory over the Wildcats on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The crimson and blue day started with KU taking the game's first drive into the end zone after 81 yards and 11 plays.

As it turned out, the 4:05 of possession time on that drive represented a virtual prolonged drive against a battered K-State defense that surrendered 469 yards of offense to the Jayhawks. Of KU's eight scoring drives, only one took longer in terms of time of possession than five minutes.

"This was a thorough and complete beating and defeat, there is no question about it," K-State coach Ron Prince said. "I'm not one who is going to mince words and try to spin anything."

The loss dropped the Wildcats to 4-5 on the season and 1-4 in Big 12 play. KU is now 6-3 and 3-2.

KU junior running back Jake Sharp rushed for a career-high 181 yards on 21 carries, scoring four touchdowns in the game. Sharp scored first-quarter touchdowns on runs of 4, 20 and 47 yards as KU built a 21-0 lead 12 minutes into the contest.

"You can measure how fast he runs, how high he jumps, the weights he lifts, but you cannot measure his intestinal fortitude," KU coach Mark Mangino said. "There's no real measurement for it, and he has it. He's a tough customers."

While Sharp starred, K-State quarterback Josh Freeman floundered once again against his team's rival program. In his three games against the Jayhawks, Freeman has now turned the ball over 13 times, including four in this game.

Freeman finished the game 22 of 37 with three interceptions and 207 yards. Lamark Brown returned to action at running back after missing three games with a knee injury, and picked up 68 yards on 21 carries. K-State finished with 355 yards of offense compared to KU's 469.

"Coach always says if you want things to change then you have to change," Freeman said. "We have to identify exactly who we are as a team. We need everyone to rally and get on the same page."

KU quarterback Todd Reesing completed 14 of 23 passes for 162 yards ad one touchdown.

"We came out and ran the ball real well. (Jake) Sharp ran his heart out today. He took some big hits and kept getting back up and running the ball hard. … We didn't have to throw it as much because the running game was going so well. I am very pleased with our offense and defense as well."

Brown scored on runs of 4, 11 and 1 yards in the second half, the last of which coming with 39 seconds remaining, to put the Wildcats on the scoreboard, and to help the Wildcats play the Jayhawks even up at 21 in the second half.

K-State heads to Columbia to play the Missouri Tigers next Saturday. No game time has been announced yet for the contest.





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