When the name “Reesing” was unveiled on the north end of Booth Memorial Stadium — with two Kansas employees dropping a blue sheet to the ground — the great KU quarterback took his final curtain call.
Todd Reesing ran three steps on the field, jumped into the air, cocked his right arm back, then delivered his patented fist pump, revving his arm a few times for emphasis.
And, if one didn’t know any better, you’d have assumed the gesture injected a shot of good karma to a program that’s desperately needed it.
One play later — after the break between the first and second quarters — KU safety Mike Lee intercepted a pass, sidestepped two tacklers, then followed teammates 31 yards into the end zone for a pick-six.
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It was that type of afternoon for KU football, as the Jayhawks forced six turnovers and dominated from the start in a 55-14 home victory over Rutgers.
Yes, even Reesing was happy to take some credit, especially when it came to the Lee interception.
“If that (fist pump) is not the reason they scored, then I don’t know what is,” he said with a smile.
This is significant. KU won for the second straight week, the first time the program has picked up consecutive wins since the 2011 season. The Jayhawks also beat a Power Five opponent for just the second time under coach David Beaty, with the other triumph coming against Texas in 2016.
The turnovers were the story, but not the only reason to believe this KU team might have a chance of beating a Big 12 opponent down the line.
True freshman running back Pooka Williams was sensational again, showing elusiveness while going over 100 rushing yards for the second straight game, running 18 times for 158 yards and a score. The Jayhawks received some solid running and passing from quarterback Miles Kendrick, who looks like he might be the starter in future weeks.
The defense was suffocating again too. Not only did that include a pair of pick-sixes — one from Bryce Torneden and the other from Lee — but also meant limiting Rutgers to 47 passing yards entering the fourth quarter.
But yeah, the turnovers were a big deal too. KU took it away six times for a second consecutive week, and its 13 takeaways this season are already four more than it had in the entire 2017 campaign.
So is this repeatable and sustainable? Especially with the more-difficult Big 12 slate upcoming?
KU fans will know soon enough. The Jayhawks, 2-1, will open conference play with a 2:30 p.m. game at Baylor on Sept. 22.