In the 20 years that Kansas coach Mark Mangino has been coaching college football he has never seen a defense put together a performance like the one that his did Saturday in Lawrence, Kan.
The Jayhawks completely shut down one of the Big 12's top offenses and one of its top quarterbacks in a 13-3 win over Missouri. The Tigers entered the game averaging 36.7 points and 493 yards per game, but were held to a season-low 180 yards. It was only the second time in the Tigers last 32 games that they have not scored a touchdown.
"I've had the good fortune of being with some really good programs that had great defenses," Magino said. "Until (Saturday), I had never been around a defensive unit that executed their game plan exactly the way that we set it up. It was nearly flawless. The strategy that was put together by our coaches and the way our kids carried that strategy out was extremely impressive. I can't say enough about our defensive unit and all the coaches that get the kids ready."
The main coach whom Mangino owes gratitude is Kansas defensive coordinator Bill Young, who has been selected as Rivals.com's Coordinator of the Week. Young came to Kansas with Mangino in 2002.
Missouri's Brad Smith would probably give Young his vote. He entered the game looking like a virtual lock to break the all-time rushing record for quarterbacks, needing just 43 yards to set the new mark. Just a week earlier, he had run for 246 against a Nebraska defense that was also one of the better units in the Big 12.
But, Smith finished with a season-low 38 yards on 20 carries. He also struggled mightily when passing, going 14-of-37 (37 percent) for 141 yards with an interception. Those numbers were the key to the Jayhawks' domination.
"(Smith) is the key to (Missouri's) offense," Kansas defensive end Charlton Keith said. "If you contain No. 16, then there's going to be a lot of decision-making weighing on his shoulders."
The Kansas defense has had success slowing down Smith in the past by blitzing heavily. Last season, the Jayhawks created all sorts of pressure on the signal caller and limited the Tigers to -7 rushing yards in a 31-14 win.
But, Young completely rearranged the game plan for the rematch. After watching game film of the Tigers' 27-24 win against Iowa State in which Smith was held to 39 rushing yards, he decided to have Keith and other members of the front four drop back into coverage much more. They rarely rushed around the edges, instead focusing on filling the gaps between the offensive linemen.
"The whole game plan was designed to slow play everything," Young told Rivals.com. "Missouri is doing some differnet things on offense and using no backs a lot. So if we blitz in that situation it can be feast or famine. We didn't want to be conservative, but our main goal was to not to allow any big plays."
The Jayhawks' linebackers and secondary were able to use a lot of zone coverage - thanks to a lot of third-and-long situations - and that seemed to confuse Smith as well.
The Kansas defense also came up with a big play when they needed it most. With the Jayhawks up 13-3 and five minutes left, Smith drove the Tigers to the Kansas 36. But, he dropped back and fired a deep pass that was intercepted by Theo Baines at the 1-yard line. That ended up sealing the Tigers' fate as the Jayhawks were able to run the clock out.
"That was a huge play," Young told Rivals.com. "We were playing man free coverage and if Theo hadn't turned his back they might have called interference. We have had trouble creating turnovers this season so that was a big one. He also got a facemask penalty on the return so our offense had a little breathing room."
Young was quick to credit the Jayhawks offense, which finished with more than a nine-minute edge in time of possession, for the defense's remarkable performance.
"Our offense did a tremendous job of keeping Missouri on the sidelines," Young said. "We got that interception at the goal line and never had to go back into the game. That made things a lot easier on us."
Other coordinators who were considered for the award include:
• Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster made Boston College's massive offensive line look overmatched in the No. 3 Hokies' 30-10 win over the then-No. 13 Eagles on Thursday night. The Eagles were held to 27 rushing yards. Quarterback Quinton Porter didn't do much damage at all, passing for 139 yards and an interception. Foster let cornerback Jimmy Williams go man-to-man against Will Blackmon and the move paid off as Williams shut down the Eagles' most dangerous playmaker for most of the game.
• Arizona's coaching staff chose to start a true freshman at quarterback at Oregon State and came up with a 29-27 upset largely because of that move. Arizona offensive coordinator Mike Canales didn't design a conservative game plan with Willie Tuitama under center, instead letting him fire several deep throws. The result was 335 passing yards from Tuitama, two touchdowns and an average of 25 yards a completion. Freshman receiver Michael Thomas had his first 100-yard game, racking up 162 receiving yards.
• Ohio State's defense, considered one of the nation's best units, was exposed for the first time all season by Minnesota and its co-offensive coordinators Mitch Browning and Tony Peterson in the Buckeyes' 45-31 win. But, it was the way in which it was exposed that was so surprising. Star running back Laurence Maroney did run for 127 yards, but 53 of them came on one play. Quarterback Bryan Cupito was the Gopher who looked unstoppable, passing for 396 yards.
• Michigan was the first team to stop Northwestern's offense from looking like the smooth, explosive machine that it has been all season long. The Wildcats turned the ball over three times and were held to less than 21 points for the first time all season. Wolverines defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann also has to be proud that freshman running back Tyrell Sutton was limited to just 10 carries for 50 yards.