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November 21, 2007
Here's troubling news for Kansas on the eve of perhaps the biggest game in school history: Missouri's most dangerous threat keeps getting better.
So how do you take your poison, Jayhawks? Odds are, redshirt freshman Jeremy Maclin has the answer.
Last Saturday, he was at his best. Maclin set the NCAA freshman record for all-purpose yardage in a season and had 360 total yards in a 49-32 win over Kansas State. His season total now stands at 2,309 yards, breaking Terrell Willis' record of 2,026 for Rutgers in 1993.
Maclin's per-game average of 209.91 all-purpose yards (rushing, receiving and return yards) shatters Marshall Faulk's record of 184.8 yards for San Diego State in 1991.
For his efforts against Kansas State ? and helping keep Missouri in the national championship hunt ? Maclin was named Rivals.com's National Freshman of the Week.
"Jeremy Maclin's pretty good," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "What do you say about the guy? He's unbelievable."
Against Kansas State, Maclin ? a 6-foot-1, 185-pound speedster from the St. Louis area ? caught nine passes for 143 yards, including touchdown receptions of 8 and 44 yards. He added two carries for 8 yards and two punt returns for 15.
But his biggest play of the day may have been a drought-ending kickoff return. Maclin already has two punt returns for touchdowns this season, and he repeatedly told teammates he would end Missouri's run of 976 kickoff returns without a touchdown. The 287-game span, dating to 1982, was the longest in the nation.
Maclin emphatically ended the drought by taking his first kickoff return of the game 99 yards for a touchdown.
"He always says 'I'm going to run this one back,' " quarterback Chase Daniel said. "He really meant it this time. He's been so close to breaking one. It's good to see him break one."
It should come as little surprise. In the past three games, Maclin has 20 catches for 397 yards and five touchdowns. That includes four scoring plays of at least 40 yards.
"There aren't many guys in college football that can change a game on one play," Daniel said. "Once he gets the ball in the open field, you never know what can happen."
OTHER NOMINEES FOR FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK:
WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
LB Rennie Curran, Georgia
WR Marcus Barnett, Cincinnati