KU defense rises to occasion in 19-14 win over Colorado

BOULDER, Colo. | The students wearing bright yellow shirts booed and yelled obscenities all game long, waiting for the mountain magic to kick in.

The Oklahoma Sooners had come in here a few weeks back and left with a bum wagon, coughing up a 17-point lead. So when night fell and the mild temperatures began to cool and the Buffaloes climbed within five in the fourth quarter, it almost felt like a foregone conclusion that the Jayhawks would be little more than Ralphie IV’s latest feeding.

KU punted the ball back to Colorado at its own 42-yard line with 2 minutes, 16 seconds left. On first down, CU quarterback Cody Hawkins was sacked for a 5-yard loss. The next down saw a fumbled snap for a 3-yard loss. Long passes on third and fourth down fell incomplete, leaving those same fans stunned. KU 19, CU 14. It would stand. No miracles this time.

KU escaped its second road game of the year, giving the 15th-ranked Jayhawks at least at least a two-game lead over every team except Missouri in the Big 12 North. The victory, more than anything, allowed the Jayhawks, 7-0, 3-0 in the Big 12, to dream for another week.

The Jayhawks can thank their defense – which had become a laughingstock by the end of last season. Oh, heck. Forget last season already. These Jayhawks are unrecognizable, with a defense that has stopped two possible game-winning drives – Kansas State and now Colorado – on the road.

To win in the Wild Wild West, you must need a gunslinger at quarterback. KU’s Todd Reesing improved his growing legend in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, pumping his fist and thrusting after several big plays. The sophomore didn’t have sparkling numbers – he threw for 153 yards and a touchdown – but he didn’t turn it over and played within himself.