Big 12 Notebook: Mistakes haunt Kansas, Nebraska football teams

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | 12:00 a.m. CDT
Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing (5) passes the ball during the first half against Oklahoma. Reesing threw three first-half interceptions.

COLUMBIA – With a win Saturday against Oklahoma, Kansas would have regained some ground in the Big 12 North standings after a frustrating road loss the previous week at Colorado.

The game started ominously, however, and the Jayhawks could not recover.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing threw an interception on the game's first play, and Oklahoma responded with a touchdown drive on the way to an easy 35-13 win in Lawrence, Kan.

Coach Mark Mangino said the Sooners make teams pay for such mistakes.

"We put ourselves in a bad spot early in the game, spotting Oklahoma 14 points, and (against) a really good team like them, you just can't do that," he said.

Kansas (5-2, 1-2 Big 12) will face Texas Tech next. Mangino said he couldn't explain the surprising results of recent Big 12 games. The Red Raiders lost badly to Texas A&M on Saturday, while the Aggies were trounced by Kansas State the previous week.

"I spent a little bit of time yesterday trying to figure that out, and I came to the conclusion that those (questions) are for better minds than mine," he joked.

Blown opportunities lead to upset

Nobody wasted more chances to score Saturday than Nebraska. The Huskers committed eight turnovers in a 9-7 home loss to Iowa State.

The Nebraska offense outgained the Cyclones by more than 100 yards, but it turned the ball over four times close to the end zone, ruining each of those drives.

"Ultimately it falls on us to secure the football, to cover it up and not let that happen," coach Bo Pelini said. "As far as how we address it for our football team, it's all us. I don't want to take any credit away from Iowa State."

Despite throwing three interceptions, quarterback Zac Lee still had a decent game, Pelini said.

"He graded out pretty well," Pelini said. "He did some good things. He did some things, like everybody else, that need fixed."

Pelini knows Nebraska (4-3, 1-2 Big 12) needs more offense in future conference games.

"Well I do believe the offense needs a spark," he said. "Where that spark comes from, that's for us to determine."

Season opener made Cowboys comfortable in spotlight game

Oklahoma State has been one of the league's more consistent winners in recent weeks. The Cowboys won at Baylor 34-7 Saturday for their fifth straight victory.

"I think our team has continued to improve each week," coach Mike Gundy said. "Our somewhat inexperienced players, our younger players, that are making plays for us to have some success on Saturdays is really encouraging to our coaching staff. And I think the other players that do have some experience and some maturity are enjoying that."

The Cowboys (6-1, 3-0 Big 12) can claim first place in the conference's South Division with a home win Saturday night against Texas.

"There was a tremendous amount of hype for the first game of the year (against Georgia) that lasted for about a month," he said. "Somewhat unusual, but I think our players understand playing in big games. They realize this is a good football team and there will be a lot of attention around it."

Success for Oklahoma State has recently come without help from suspended wide receiver Dez Bryant, whose future playing status is still unknown. Gundy said part of building a college football program is working through potential distractions.

"The players, they get a big lift out of knowing they can have success at times when they're fighting through adversity," he said.

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