Nebraska Cornhuskers - Kansas Jayhawks Preview (Damn You Kerry Meier Version)

Last week I finally wrote down my near death experience at the 1982 Nebraska - Oklahoma game. This week I thought I’d write about my only trip to a Kansas game at Lawrence but then decided against it because there might be people still looking for me. I’ll give you the short version. The 1982 NU-OU game ended my desire for Peppermint Schnapps. The Kansas game was the last time I ever touched MD 20/20.

So instead I thought I’d write a preview of the Kansas game. It starts like this (to be read in your big-time announcer voice like Keith Jackson):

Saturday, November 8th, 2008, when the Kansas Jayhawks take the field against the Nebraska Cornhuskers they’ll be meeting for the 103rd consecutive season and the 115th time.  Only Minnesota-Wisconsin and Kansas-Missouri have met more times than Nebraska-Kansas, having met 117 and 116 times respectively. Note that the other two series are rivalries, one playing for a giant axe trophy, the other playing for the glory of the long since dead.

Nebraska-Kansas can hardly be called a rivalry as Nebraska has a lopsided lead in the series, 88-23-3, including a 33-7-2 lead at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. The Jayhawks haven’t won in Lincoln since 1968, a span of 39 years (just in case you’re bad at math, if we win this year, it will be a 40-year streak). Up until three years ago the Huskers enjoyed a 36-year winning streak against the Jayhawks, the streak lasting from 1969 to 2004.

Since 2004, Kansas has won the last two of three against the Huskers and will this Saturday will be one of their best chances to break yet another long-held Nebraska streak.

That long Nebraska home win streak looks like this:

1969: 21-17    and then it gets really nasty for a long time.
1970: 41-20
1971: 55-0       
1972: 56-0
1974: 56-0
1977: 52-7
1978: 63-21
1979: 42-0
1980: 54-0
1982: 52-0
1983: 67-13
1984: 41-7
1985: 56-6
1986: 70-0
1987: 54-2
1988: 63-10
1989: 51-14
1990: 41-9
1991: 59-23
1992: 49-7
1994: 45-17
1995: 41-3
1996: 63-7
1997: 35-0
1998: 41-0
2000: 56-17
2001: 51-7
2002: 45-7
2003: 24-3
2004: 14-8
And in 2005, the bottom fell out in Bill Callahan’s first visit to Lawrence and Kansas broke a long-standing streak at Lawrence:
2005: 40-15 (L)
Somehow we managed to keep a streak going in 2006 in Lincoln:
2006: 39-32 (W-OT)
And then there was the bloody awful episode, the pinnacle of last season.
2007: 76-39 (L)
where they scored more points than any opponent in Nebraska’s school history.

And here we are ready to play the Jayhawks again with no idea of what’s going to happen.

Kansas is coming off a win so strong over in-state rival Kansas State that Wildcats’ coach Ron Prince resigned. Their offense is one of the best in the nation, ranked 18th in total offense and lead by quarterback Todd Reesing. Reesing is ranked at 16th nationally in pass efficiency (just below Joe Ganz), having thrown for 2,638 yards, 20 TDs with nine interceptions.

Then there’s running back Jake Sharp, coming off his best game of the season against Kansas State where he racked up 181 yards on 21 carries. Then again, there’s that Wildcat implosion. The good news is that the Kansas ground game hasn’t been that potent this season, Sharp gained only 30, 23, 11, and 24 yards against the likes of Florida International, La-Tech, South Florida, and Sam Houston State. His 100-yard game against Oklahoma is hard to explain, other than the Sooners weren’t expecting it.

Then you have receiver Dezmon Briscoe, leading the squad with 800 yards on 54 receptions with a team-leading 10 TDs. As if Sharp’s yardage count against the Sooners was weird, how do you explain Briscoe’s performance - 12 catches for 269 yards?

We shouldn’t have to worry about kick returns this week as the Jayhawks are ranked dead last in the nation. A bit of other good news, Kansas hasn’t beat a team with a winning record yet this season, the closest being Louisiana Tech at 4-4 (and La-Tech is 0-4 on the road).

I keep trying to write a full preview, but it’s no use. I keep getting interrupted by a wide-awake nightmare. It’s name is Kerry Meier. I’m not sure what it is about Meier. Whenever I’m watching Jayhawk football (and I do because I like watching Big 12 teams) and he makes a play, I scream "KERRY MEIER" at the TV. It’s not controllable. It’s like Tourette’s.

He’s not the fastest. He’s not the tallest. Kind of like Nate Swift, he just makes plays. He is a football player. He’s diverse - if Reesing gets knocked out of the game, Kerry Meier is there as the backup. If the Jayhawks need a third down picked up, Kerry Meier is there, guarded or unguarded, catching a pass. Everyone knows they’re going to him, but the defenses can't stop him. Perhaps it's because he looks too stoned to catch a pass, so he is always underestimated.

Damnkerrymeier_medium

Kerry Meier's chief weapon - looking too stoned to worry about.

I don’t want to be screaming "KERRY MEIER" at my TV this Saturday, because it won’t be just "KERRY MEIER" I’ll be screaming. It’ll be more like "DAMN YOU KERRY MEIER" or "YOU BASTARD KERRY MEIER" and then I’ll be in trouble with Mrs Corn Nation yet again for setting a bad example for the children (as if they haven’t become numb to it between this season and last).

Who knows what’s going to happen Saturday? Can Nebraska maintain the same type of ball control offense we saw against Texas Tech, thereby limiting the Jayhawks’ opportunities to score? Can Nebraska take advantage of the Jayhawks’ poor pass defense? We can stop Kansas’ increasingly good ground game? Will the good, mistake-free Nebraska team show up, or will we see more turnovers and personal foul penalties? So many questions, so few answers ahead of time.

And can someone remember to guard Kerry Meier? After all, it’s for the children. My children. They need all the help they can get.
Meier_and_reesing_original_375_medium

Chief evil person Kerry Meier with Todd Reesing. Boy, he really cleaned up well for this one. Probably took a couple days.  (source: Daily Kansan)
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