Aggies hope to rebound against Kansas

LAWRENCE, KS The Aggies (3-3, 0-2 Big 12) are fresh off a three-week ordeal that pitted them against No. 17 Oklahoma State, No. 21 Arkansas and No. 18 Missouri.

They were competitive in all, coming within three points of the Cowboys and one touchdown of the Razorbacks. But the result was a three-game losing skid and an unhappy head coach.

Kansas, meanwhile, has just suffered two of its most embarrassing back-to-back losses in decades. Unranked Baylor clubbed the Jayhawks 55-7 and unranked Kansas State trounced its archrival 59-7, creating a collective 100-point beatdown and, one would assume, a possible crisis of confidence.

"We're trying to forget really quick and move on to the next game plan," said Kansas punter Alonso Rojas.

Kansas (2-4, 0-2) also has in first-year head coach Turner Gill's resume a season-opening 6-3 loss, at home, to North Dakota State. A loss to the struggling Aggies on Saturday night could pave the way for a 2-10 season since the only remaining home game that looks even possibly winnable is Colorado.

The loss to Kansas State was also the ninth Big 12 setback in a row for the Jayhawks.

"You can't panic," said running back Angus Quigley. "Panic is not going to help anyone and it will spread like a virus through the team."

Quigley, a senior co-captain, was one of the few bright spots last week, rushing for 70 yards and one touchdown.

"This is a time when you need your leaders on the team," he said. "As captains, we need people to look up to us. How we go out to practice and how we play in the game, that stuff is contagious. That is where the leadership is coming from right now."

Any team that's allowed 114 points in two games obviously has issues on defense. For the Jayhawks, this has meant no sacks in two weeks and no interceptions in three straight outings.

If that futility continues, Aggies quarterback Jerrod Johnson could be in for a milestone night. The senior needs 155 yards of total offense to break Reggie McNeal's school record of 8,876 yards. Johnson is also 128 yards short of becoming the first Aggie to surpass 8,000 yards passing.

To do that, Johnson will have to play. Aggies coach Mike Sherman said he was holding open the possibility of replacing people at several positions, including quarterback.

In six games, the Aggies have committed 18 turnovers. Johnson, who set a Big 12 record last year throwing 242 passes without an interception, has already been picked off nine times. He was intercepted in the final seconds against both Oklahoma State and Arkansas.

"Every week, and these players know this, we evaluate every player after every game. We will go with who gives us the best chance to win," Sherman said. "Everyone knows that is looming, including Jerrod. I have zero favorites."

Turnovers have also been a problem for Jordan Webb, Kansas' redshirt freshman. He's been intercepted three times in the last two games.

But then, nothing has been going right lately for the Jayhawks.

"I've had my moments where I go out of the (offensive) system, but I know that's something that I just can't do," Webb said. "I think as long as I stick with the system and do what the coaches want me to do, we'll be just fine."

Like almost everyone else connected with the program, Webb's been trying to avoid the criticism.

"I don't read the paper or go on the Internet and look at blogs or anything," he said. "I think that they can just be a big distraction and that's something that we just really don't need right now. I can't speak for everybody, but it is easy for me."

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