No. 25 Kansas 35, Ball State 10
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ June Henley rushed for 187 yards and tied the school career record for touchdowns as No. 25 Kansas romped past Ball State 35-10 in a season opener Thursday night.
Attacking the right side of the defense almost exclusively, Henley carried 28 times and scored on runs of 2, 3 yards and 1 yards. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound senior tied the record of 27 TDs set by Tony Sands from 1988-91.
Kansas, with 14 starters back from a 10-2 season that resulted in its first-ever top 10 (No. 9) ranking, looked sluggish early and led only 14-3 at halftime. But the Jayhawks took advantage of mistakes and big plays to make it a rout of the Cardinals of the Mid-American Conference, who returned 16 starters from last year’s 7-4 campaign.
Matt Johner, Kansas’ fifth starting quarterback in five years, played through the middle of the third period and hit 14-of-20 passes for 147 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
Ball State, a 62-10 loser in its last trip to Kansas in 1992, had good field position midway through the first quarter when senior quarterback Brent Baldwin kept around left end for 7 yards to the Kansas 45 but fumbled to safety Maurice Gaddie on the Jayhawks 45.
Five plays later, Johner hit Andre Carter on a crossing pattern for 32 yards and the game’s first touchdown. It was Johner’s first TD pass and Carter’s first scoring catch in a regular season game.
Ball State’s Brent Lockliear, following Henley’s fumble on the Kansas 39, booted a 27-yard field goal in the second quarter for the Cardinals’ only score until the final minutes.
Henley keyed a 10-play, 72-yard drive with a 27-yard run around left end in the second quarter. On second and goal from the 2, he took Johner’s pitch around left end for the score.
The Jayhawks marched 67 yards in 10 plays midway through the third period, with Henley scoring from the 3.
Ben Rutz, who was slated to start until he developed soreness in his leg, threw a 31-yard touchdown pass in the third period to freshman John Gordon, who beat Raphaol Ball on a fly pattern.
Linebacker Ronnie Ward, who had a team-high 13 tackles in his first game after sitting out 1995 with an injury, recovered Baldwin’s fumble on the Ball State 30 in the fourth period and Henley capped a 7-play drive with a 1-yard plunge to make it 35-3.
With 5:00 left, Karl Moore intercepted Hill Hamilton’s pass and returned it 28 yards for Ball State’s lone touchdown.