In his first career start as Nebraska's quarterback, Joe Ganz threw for more than 400 yards and led the Husker offense to 39 points, but it was not enough in NU's 76-39 loss at No. 8 Kansas at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Ganz, a junior from Palos Heights, Ill., led Nebraska to a touchdown on his opening series as NU's starter by capping the drive with a three-yard touchdown run. He also guided the Huskers to a 14-7 lead midway through the first quarter, but KU's offense scored touchdowns on 10 consecutive drives to lead the Jayhawks to victory.
Ganz finished the day by completing 25-of-50 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns to lead Nebraska to the biggest offensive output allowed by KU's defense this season. In fact, NU's 39 points surpassed the total output produced by the Jayhawks' first five opponents combined at home this season (33 points).
Despite a strong offensive performance by the Huskers, the Jayhawks were even more efficient in producing the highest point total ever by an NU opponent. The Jayhawks took their first lead at 21-14 at the end of the first quarter and carried a 48-24 lead into the locker room at the half.
Nebraska marched down the field to narrow the gap to 48-31 after the opening drive of the second half, but the Husker defense could not slow the balanced and potent Kansas offense. The Jayhawks took advantage of three straight Husker turnovers to score four consecutive touchdowns to push their lead to 76-31 with 11:12 left in the game on Brandon McAnderson's fourth touchdown run of the day. McAnderson finished the day with 25 carries for 119 yards.
Ganz, who did throw four interceptions, ended a streak of 28 points by KU when he found Maurice Purify in the end zone on fourth down to pull NU to 76-39 after completing a two-point conversion pass to Nate Swift. Ganz finished with four touchdown passes in his debut, with three of those strikes going to Purify, who enjoyed the finest day of his Husker career with seven catches for 158 yards and three scores.
While Purify had a huge day, nine other NU receivers hauled in at least one reception from Ganz. Marlon Lucky added six catches for 83 yards, including a 62-yard scoring catch and run to give NU a 14-7 first quarter lead.
KU quarterback Todd Reesing also connected with a bevvy of receivers on the afternoon, orchestrating a fine-tuned Kansas onslaught by completing 30-of-41 passes for 354 yards and six touchdown passes. Three of the scoring strikes went to Dezmon Briscoe, who finished with five catches for 52 yards. Marcus Henry led all KU receivers with six catches for 101 yards and one touchdown, while a total of eight Jayhawks recorded catches.
KU finished the day with 572 yards of total offense, includuing 218 rushing yards. Nebraska amassed 484 total yards, but managed just 79 yards on the ground led by freshman Roy Helu's nine carries for 56 yards.
Despite the similar yardage totals for the two teams, Nebraska's five turnovers proved to be the largest difference on the day, while the Husker defense was unable to force a turnover by the Jayhawks.
Nebraska returns to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln for the final time in 2007, when the Huskers take on Kansas State on Saturday, Nov. 10. Kickoff in Lincoln is set for 11 a.m. with live national television coverage provided by Versus.
Scoring (#8 Kansas 76, Nebraska 39)
Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007
KU Memorial Stadium (Lawrence, Kan.)
First Quarter (#8 Kansas 21, Nebraska 14)
NU - Joe Ganz 3 run (Alex Henery kick), 9:04
KU - Kerry Meier 13 pass from Todd Reesing (Scott Webb kick), 6:38
NU - Marlon Lucky 62 pass from Ganz (Henery kick), 4:58
KU - Brandon McAnderson 2 run (Webb kick), 3:16
KU - Jake Sharp 26 pass from Reesing (Webb kick), 1:00
Second Quarter (#8 Kansas 48, Nebraska 24)
KU - McAnderson 9 run (Webb kick), 10:34
NU - Maurice Purify 19 pass from Ganz (Henery kick), 9:44
KU - Marcus Henry 5 pass from Reesing (Webb kick), 8:30
KU - McAnderson 1 run (Webb kick), 2:43
KU - Dezmon Briscoe 13 pass from Reesing (Webb kick failed), 1:16
NU - Henery 27 field goal, 0:12
Third Quarter (#8 Kansas 69, Nebraska 31)
NU - Purify 14 pass from Ganz (Henery kick), 11:39
KU - Briscoe 14 pass from Reesing (Webb kick), 8:17
KU - Briscoe 7 pass from Reesing (Webb kick), 5:45
KU - Jake Sharp 11 run (Webb kick), 3:34
Fourth Quarter (#8 Kansas 76, Nebraska 39)
KU - McAnderson 6 run (Webb kick), 11:12
NU - Purify 8 pass from Ganz (2PAT Good, Nate Swift pass from Ganz), 4:26