Woe­ful Rut­gers blown out by Kansas

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS - Staff and wire re­port

LAWRENCE, KAN. » Bryce Torne­den and Mike Lee reach re­turned in­ter­cep­tions for touch­downs and Kansas’ de­fense wound up with three picks and re­cov­ered three fum­bles en route to a 55-14 win over Rut­gers on Satur­day, the Jay­hawks’ first back-to-back wins over FBS op­po­nents since 2009.

Turnovers plagued the Scar­let Knights from the start as Torne­den jumped in front of an Ar­tur Sitkowski pass on Rut­gers’ sec­ond drive and re­turned it 39 yards for the score. Torne­den was there again the next time out, re­cov­er­ing a fum­ble by Jonathan Hil­li­man that set up a field goal.

Early in the sec­ond quar­ter, Lee picked off a pass on the side­line and scored for a 23-7 lead, weav­ing his way 31 yards past sev­eral Knights to the end zone.

“When­ever you have six turnovers in a game and give up over 400 yards rush­ing, it’s re­ally tough to win foot­ball games,” Rut­gers coach Chris Ash said. “We need to find a way to get bet­ter. We need to go back and eval­u­ate ev­ery­thing that we’re do­ing, who we’re do­ing it with, and find a way to keep im­prov­ing dur­ing the week and work­ing re­ally hard to play the best game that we can play on Satur­day.

“Some of the things we did to­day are just not go­ing to win games. Good teams run the ball, stop the run. They pro­tect the ball, they take it away, and when you look at the stats to­day, we just did not do that.”

True fresh­man Pooka Wil­liams was the star on of­fense, the an­chor of an strong ground game for Kansas that rushed for 400 yards and scored four times. Fin­ish­ing with 158 yards, in­clud­ing a 52-yard touch­down run, Wil­liams has 283 yards and three touch­downs in his first two col­lege games.

“We need to have good gap in­tegrity; we need to get off blocks and we need to tackle him,” Ash said. That’s re­ally what you need to do to stop the run. Again, when we wore down in the sec­ond half be­cause of our depth, our tack­ling be­came an is­sue. He broke some tack­les and made some guys miss.”

Both Miles Kendrick and Pey­ton Ben­der saw time at quar­ter­back for Kansas, but Kendrick carved out a much larger role then in weeks prior thanks to some strong play. He was re­spon­si­ble for the Jay­hawks’ lone score through the air, a goal-line fade to Jeremiah Booker who lost his shoe while land­ing in the cor­ner of the end zone. Kendrick also ran for an 8-yard score in the third.

Spe­cial teams was one of few bright spots for Rut­gers, as Deonte Roberts blocked a Kansas field goal try in the first quar­ter and took it 64 yards for the touch­down. The Scar­let Knights blocked an­other field goal later in the quar­ter, but didn’t get any points out of it.

Sitkowski fin­ished the game with just 47 yards and three in­ter­cep­tions be­fore be­ing re­placed by Gio Rescigno in the third quar­ter. Ra­heem Black­s­hear led Rut­gers in rush­ing with 102 yards, and Hil­li­man added a score on the ground as well.

“You never was to lose like that,” se­nior line­backer Deonte Roberts said. “Its a learn­ing les­son, I guess. Cor­rect our mis­takes from the game be­fore next week. Our op­po­nents are go­ing to try to do what Kansas did. We have to be bet­ter next week. It’s foot­ball, games like these hap­pen.”

Rut­gers hosts Buf­falo on Satur­day, its fi­nal non-con­fer­ence game of the sea­son.

CHAR­LIE RIEDEL — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Kansas run­ning back Pooka Wil­liams Jr. (1) leaps over Rut­gers de­fen­sive back Isa­iah Whar­ton (11) Satur­day in Lawrence, Kan.

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