Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big 12 [Print without images]

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Midseason report: Kansas

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Kansas (5-1, 2-0): The Jayhawks have quietly crept into first place in the North Division, thanks mainly to the sterling early play of quarterback Todd Reesing, Kerry Meier's receiving and the re-emergence of tailback Jake Sharp. Kansas' only loss came after fritting away an early 17-point lead against South Florida in a game where Reesing later rallied to nearly win it. They also showed resilience by charging back to beat Iowa State. And the defense is showing promise as it gains confidence under new coordinator Clint Bowen.

Offensive MVP, Todd Reesing: He might not be getting the publicity of a lot of quarterbacks in his conference, but statistically he ranks with them. Reesing ranks third nationally in completions (28.5 cpg), fifth in total offense (346.8 ypg) and passing yards (330 ypg), 12th in pass efficiency and 13th in points responsible. He's had to do a lot in the first half of the season and the recent surge by Sharp might help lessen what is asked of him.

Defensive MVP, Darrell Stuckey: For a unit that was supposed to struggle without Aqib Talib, he's led a very productive set of defensive backs, notching at least four tackles in every game. He leads the secondary in tackles and is tied for the team lead in interceptions. The Jayhawks rank in the top 35 in each of the four major statistical categories, including 20th in pass efficiency defense, and Stuckey is a big reason.

What's next: Sharp's return to form promises big things to help balance Kansas' offense. Mark Mangino has been fretting about his struggling special teams play and will have that as his major concern for the rest of the season. The Jayhawks have a huge two-game swing with games at Oklahoma and against Texas Tech that could determine if they are legitimate North Division title contenders. If they can get a split, there's a great chance they might be playing for the North Division title Nov. 29 against Missouri.