Kansas looking to break a 40-year streak at Nebraska

November, 6, 2008
11/06/08
3:20
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

There's negative history.

And then there's really, really negative history.

Like the last seven Kansas coaches before him, Mark Mangino will be attempting to halt a long-standing streak Saturday when his Jayhawks visit Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.

Don Fambrough (during two different tenures), Bud Moore, Mike Gottfried, Bob Valesente, Glen Mason and Terry Allen all were unsuccessful in trying to win on Nebraska's home field.

The last Kansas coach to beat the Cornhuskers in Lincoln was Pepper Rodgers when the Jayhawks notched a 23-13 victory on Oct. 12, 1968.

Mangino then was a middle-schooler back home in New Castle, Pa. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini was only nine months old.

Even with those daunting odds from the past, Mangino is excited about his team's chances to break the streak and maintain a share of first place in the Big 12 North with co-leader Missouri.

"Our kids will go there and play well and not be intimidated," Mangino said. "We respect the Nebraska fans and the Nebraska program, but we've played pretty well the last couple of times we've gone there."

They have. Their 14-8 loss in 2004 and a 39-32 overtime loss were two of only four times during the streak that the Jayhawks have played the Cornhuskers within a touchdown in Lincoln. Nebraska's victory margins earlier in the 19-game streak have included five times in the fifties, four times in the forties and three times in the thirties to reflect the truly lopsided nature of the series.

Kansas might be coming in with some swagger of their own after notching a landmark 76-39 victory over the Cornhuskers last season in Lawrence, Kan. Kansas set a record for a Nebraska opponent for single-game scoring as Todd Reesing blistered a beleaguered Nebraska secondary for six touchdowns and Brandon McAnderson ran for four more TDs.

"We dropped 76 on them on our homecoming last year, so that was a great accomplishment," Kansas wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe said. "But we can't look back on that. Their coaching staff and players know what happened last year and they don't want it to happen again."

Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz made his first career start in the game. He said last year's game won't inspire any extra effort or inspirtation from him -- especially after their 62-28 loss last week at Oklahoma.

"I don't think we need any more motivation than we already have. It was just an embarrassing loss," Ganz said. "If we're looking back to last year for motivation then we have some problems if we can't get motivated to play this game at home coming off a big loss. I don't think it is weighing too much on people's minds, but we know it's there and we want to rectify it."

Saturday's game is critical for the Big 12 title hopes of Kansas, which needs a win to begin a difficult three-game closing stretch that later includes closing games against Texas and Missouri.

And the Cornhuskers can become bowl-eligible for the first time since winning the 2006 North title with a victory on Saturday.

"That would really help us, obviously," Pelini said. "Getting to a bowl game gives you a number of extra practices. You'd hope, if we take care of business that we'll have some more time in bowl preparation. But you have to earn that."

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