Reesing, Kansas make easy work of Gophers in Insight Bowl

TEMPE, Ariz. âÄì For Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster, it was pretty simple: âÄúKansas is a better football team than we are at this particular point.âÄù Plenty of clues existed prior to the game to suggest it. Though the Gophers and Jayhawks possessed identical 7-5 records, Kansas had losses to the likes of current-No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 3 Texas and No. 7 Texas Tech. Its most recent game was a 40-37 upset over then-No. 12 Missouri. And at the helm of the Jayhawks offense was Todd Reesing, the 8th ranked passer in the nation. But ultimately, the final score from the Insight Bowl said it best âÄì Jayhawks 42, Gophers 21. Aside from MinnesotaâÄôs failure to convert on fourth down from KansasâÄô 1-yard line, neither team made monumental mistakes. The difference, then? Kansas was flat out faster, stronger and more athletic. Reesing put on a clinic, going 27-of-35 for 313 yards and four touchdowns. He had the GophersâÄô secondary on its heels from the first snap, a 60-yard touchdown strike to Dezmon Briscoe that only hinted of what was to come. âÄúI will put it to you like thisâĦNo defensive coordinator is rubbing [his] hands together and saying, âÄòI canâÄôt wait to play against their offense and Todd Reesing,âÄôâÄù Jayhawks head coach Mark Mangino said. Any confidence MinnesotaâÄôs defensive backs started with quickly disappeared, as Reesing was played pitch-and-catch with his receivers for most of the game. In the second quarter, he rattled off a school-record 14 straight completions. Despite all that, Kansas didnâÄôt run away with the game immediately. With sophomore quarterback Adam Weber lined up under center for the first seven plays from scrimmage âÄì something opponents hadnâÄôt seen seven times all year âÄì Minnesota responded to KansasâÄô quick score with a four play touchdown drive of its own, then took a 14-7 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the first quarter. Sophomore fullback Jon Hoese, who hadnâÄôt recorded a carry during the regular season, capped the drives with a 1- and 2-yard touchdown run. The Gophers new-look offense caught KansasâÄô defense off guard, but adjusted quickly. MinnesotaâÄôs early offensive momentum came to a grinding halt in the second quarter, and the Gophers never regained much steam. âÄúOur coaches got the defense together, got them settled down after the first quarter and made the adjustments that were needed,âÄù Mangino said. And after those adjustments, the JayhawksâÄô physical superiority prevailed just as it did on offense throughout the game. Like Brewster said, Kansas was just the better team. For now. From its two-deep offensive depth chart, Minnesota loses only senior tight end Jack Simmons, and after improving from 1-11 last year to 7-6 this year, those returning players have high hopes for 2009. They also have plenty to work on. âÄúIn the off-season we need to get bigger, faster, stronger, and add some athleticism,âÄù junior wide receiver Eric Decker, who had eight receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown, said. As for those leaving the program, like senior linebacker Deon Hightower, itâÄôs the big picture that matters. âÄúI think the program is just on the up-and-up right now,âÄù he said. âÄúI think [itâÄôs] headed in a great direction.âÄù