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Mangino tempers buildup to USF

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By any stretch of the imagination, the Kansas University football team’s nationally televised matchup with South Florida on Friday night is a big deal.

USF enters the game ranked 19th in the nation after holding off Central Florida in a 31-24 overtime victory last week. Kansas, following a 29-0 victory over Louisiana Tech, is ranked 13th. And for the first time this season, both teams will find out how they stack up against one of the nation’s elite.

Yet, on the eve of such a spectacle, Kansas coach Mark Mangino spent his Monday morning trying to explain why this particular game isn’t any more or less important than, say, one against Central Connecticut State.

“I think this is a good measuring stick, to some degree,†Mangino said. “But I don’t think it’s a game where, if we win, we feel like we’re going to win all the rest, and if we lose, we’re going to have a bad season.â€

Despite the tempered excitement, Friday’s 7 p.m. game undoubtedly has been marked on the calendars of Kansas fans for some time.

And entering the game, there is no lack of storylines.

Both programs are coached by former assistants under Kansas State’s Bill Snyder.

Both rose from relative anonymity to No. 2 national rankings a season ago.

And both entered this season with hopes of a conference title — and beyond.

In order to pass its first significant test of the new season, however, Kansas will have to overcome a history that isn’t exactly encouraging.

The Jayhawks are 25-138-2 all-time against teams ranked in the Top 25 of the Associated Press poll. Under Mangino, that figure is a bit better (4-8) and includes a victory in their most recent matchup against a ranked team — last season’s victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

• Starting RB job between Quigley and Crawford: While junior Jake Sharp began the season as Kansas’ starting running back, Mangino is now looking to Jocques Crawford or Angus Quigley to fill the role of the team’s primary back.

“Jake plays hard,†Mangino said. “He’s a complementary back — that’s his role on our team. And Jocques Crawford we expect to get rolling here. He or Angus, one of the two, we expect to jump up and be the primary back.â€

In two games this season, Sharp and Crawford have combined for 113 yards on 34 carries, compared to Quigley’s totals of 21 carries and 133 yards.

On Sunday, Mangino said he planned to use Quigley earlier than usual in Friday’s game against South Florida, and Monday morning, during the Big 12 coaches’ weekly teleconference, he reiterated that sentiment.

“We had hoped for a long time that Angus could make a mark on the program,†Mangino said. “That he could finally be a guy that we could count on. We’re finally getting to that point a little bit. But (with) Angus, consistency is something that he has to develop.â€

• Missed PAT not the fault of kicker: Mangino said Sunday that a missed extra point in the third quarter of the team’s victory over Louisiana Tech was not the fault of the kicker, sophomore transfer Jacob Branstetter.

“He did a really good job in the game,†Mangino said of Branstetter, who was playing in his first collegiate game after being declared eligible by the NCAA earlier in the week. “The missed extra point wasn’t his fault. We dropped the hold. So that’s not on him.â€

• Sam Houston State game to be televised: Kansas’ Sept. 20 game against visiting Sam Houston State will be broadcast by Fox College Sports (FCS), KU announced Monday.

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