LAWRENCE, Kan. – Bill Whittemore had a lot of time.
He had a year to think about last season’s loss to Missouri and all game Saturday to find wide-open Kansas receivers and holes in the Tigers’ rush defense.
Whittemore, a senior quarterback, passed for 111 yards and ran for 76 in Kansas’ 35-14 victory against the Tigers and said retribution was a motivating factor to win.
“I just tried to go out there and just get some revenge on Missouri,” Whittemore said. “They got us last year. And we got them back to our house and took care of them.”
Whittemore completed several long passes and had chances for several others. The Tigers gave Whittemore too much time to search for his targets, according to MU linebacker James Kinney.
“He got time to sit back there and pick the defense apart,” Kinney said. “He’s going to find somebody open out there, scrambling, sitting back there for so long.”
Kansas wide receiver Mark Simmons, whom Whittemore found four times for 47 yards, including one for 32 yards in the first quarter, said the Tigers’ defensive pressure didn’t bother Whittemore, a second-year starter.
“He was reading the blitz and had five receivers down open and was scrambling, running,” Simmons said. “He played a terrific game.”
Whittemore threw four touchdown passes earlier this season against Wyoming, so the Tigers focused their efforts on stopping the Jayhawks’ passing attack. “We were concerned about the passing game and I thought we did a good job controlling that,” Pinkel said. “They did a great job with ball control and running the football at the end of the game.”
Whittemore and the Jayhawks’ coaching staff noticed the Tigers’ strategy. In the second half, he ran for 60 yards. Also in the second half, running backs Clark Green and John Randle combined for 83 yards rushing.
“I think their game plan was to stop the pass and they gave us the run all game,” Whittemore said. “We took advantage of it in the second half.”
The score was close until the fourth quarter, but Whittemore’s continuous breakdown of MU’s secondary grated on the Tigers.
“Whenever a quarterback can just drop back and run and draw like that, at will, it’s going to hurt you in the long run,” sophomore cornerback Calvin Washington said.