LAWRENCE, Kan. — Joe Ganz’s day began with an adrenaline-rushed trot into the Kansas end zone.

That adrenaline eventually faded, as Nebraska’s offense simply couldn’t keep up with Kansas.

Ganz, Nebraska’s backup quarterback making his first career start, had more than his share of highlights and lowlights in Saturday’s wild 76-39 loss to No. 8 Kansas at Memorial Stadium.

The points were the most scored all season against undefeated Kansas, which entered with the nation’s No. 5 defense.

Ganz, starting in place of injured Sam Keller, was 25-of-50 for 405 yards, the third-highest total in school history. He connected on passing plays of 62 and 60 yards and threw four touchdowns.

He also threw four interceptions.

“Those four picks are going to eat at me all week,” said Ganz, a junior. “One was a batted ball on a screen, which I can’t really control. One I sailed high to Todd (Peterson), he was open. One I sailed high to (Nate) Swift, he was open.”

Ganz, though, led Nebraska to touchdowns on its first two drives for a 14-7 lead. The Huskers hadn’t scored touchdown on consecutive drives to begin a game since last year against Troy.

“I thought Joe played a gutty game,” Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said. “He obviously had some rough spots, which go a little bit along with the first start and the kind of game it was. In heart, he was trying to do the right thing.”

Ganz’s top receiver was senior Maurice Purify, who had seven catches for a career-high 158 yards and three touchdowns. Two of the scores came against highly touted cornerback Aqib Talib.

On the first touchdown, Ganz tucked the ball and ran into the end zone from 3 yards out. He was met by a small mob of teammates. He connected with Marlon Lucky on a 62-yard touchdown pass on Nebraska’s next series, after KU had tied the game.

“It was awesome, getting that first touchdown,” Ganz said. “We got off to a quick start, and I thought were going to keep going. Things just didn’t work out.”

Reach Brian Rosenthal at 473-7436 or brosenthal@journalstar.com.

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