LAWRENCE — Lost amid all of the attention paid to Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing's struggle during KU's four-game losing streak is the fact that Reesing has had little help from his running game.
The Jayhawks haven't rushed for 100 yards as a team since beating Iowa State on Oct. 10. The decline of the KU rushing attack can be directly traced to running back Jake Sharp sustaining an injury during practice the week before the Duke game Sept. 19. Healthy during the first two games, Sharp rushed for 227 yards. Since the injury, Sharp has rushed for 141 yards.
Luckily for the Jayhawks, Sharp said that he is near 100 percent entering today's game against Nebraska.
"I feel good," Sharp said. "I feel that I'm definitely at the level where I need to be at at this point in the year to do the things I want to do on the field."
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Freshman running back Toben Opurum, who filled in admirably as Sharp missed most of three games, has carried the ball just eight times the past two weeks. Mangino indicated this week that he feels more comfortable with Sharp in the lineup.
"Our running game is sort of set up for Jake being healthy and 100 percent with the kind of mobility he had in early September," Mangino said. "Toben is coming along. He is learning as the season progresses. Things get more and more complex, and a freshman like him just has to learn. I think he is going to be really good for us, but I want him to know what he is doing before having him in there."
The Jayhawks will face a stiff challenge in Nebraska's defense, which is ranked 10th nationally against the run. KU's rushing offense is ranked 85th.