Kansas Outlasted 37-34 at USF

TAMPA, Fla. – In a battle of two heavyweights going toe-to-toe the entire game, the No. 13 Kansas football team fell to the 19th-ranked USF Bulls 37-34, on a 43-yard field goal by Bulls kicker Maikon Bonani as time expired Friday night at Raymond James Stadium.

After jumping out to a 20-3 first-half lead, the Jayhawks gave up 31 unanswered points to fall behind 34-20 with 13:59 to go in the game.

Quarterback Todd Reesing proceeded to lead a KU rally, engineering back-to-back touchdown drives that he capped off with touchdown passes to wide receiver Johnathan Wilson and running back Angus Quigley, respectively.

Reesing hooked up with Wilson on an 18-yard strike to cut the USF lead to 34-27, and then hit Quigley on a screen pass that the junior running back took 14 yards for the game-tying score.

The Jayhawks had a chance to win the game with under a minute to go, having advanced the ball to their own 40-yard line with 0:41 to go in the game. However, Reesing’s pass on 1st and 10 was picked off by USF defensive back Nate Allen and returned all the way to the KU 27-yard line. The Bulls ran the clock all the way down to 0:02, and Bonani’s field goal attempt hooked inside the right upright to give USF the victory.

Reesing had a remarkable game in a losing effort, completing 34 of 51 passes for 373 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. The junior from Austin, Texas, also had a rushing touchdown, a four-yard scamper in the second quarter that gave KU a 20-3 lead. The 17-point margin proved to be the Jayhawks’ largest lead of the game.

Wilson had the game of his life for the Jayhawks, catching 10 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns, all three career highs.

The Jayhawks started quick, covering 71 yards in eight plays on their first drive of the game after forcing an early USF punt. Reesing capped off the drive by connecting with Wilson for a 36-yard touchdown catch-and-run to give KU an early 7-0 advantage. The touchdown reception was the first of Wilson’s career.

With the loss, the Jayhawks fall to 2-1 on the season. USF improved to 3-0.

Next up for Kansas is Sam Houston State next Saturday at Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised by Fox College Sports, scheduled to kick off at 6:00 p.m. CDT.

The Kansas Loss…
–Stopped a four-game road winning streak.
–Marked just the third loss in KU’s last 20 games.
–Made Mangino 39-37 in his career, including 21-7 in non-conference games.

Kansas Game Notes
–Kansas scored a touchdown on its first possession for the first time since Oct. 21, 2006, when then-redshirt freshman QB Kerry Meier scored on a 12-yard rush at Baylor. Kansas lost that game against Baylor 36-35, and since that game own a 17-3 record.
–Junior WR Kerry Meier hauled in a school-record tying 11 catches. The most recent player to catch 11 passes was Dexton Fields against Iowa State in 2007.
–Sophomore WR Johnathan Wilson scored his first career touchdown on a 36-yard pass play to open the scoring in the first quarter.
–Wilson hauled in a 51-yard reception on a pass play midway through the second quarter that represented KU’s longest offensive play of the season. The play helped set up KU’s second field goal.
–After three games, Wilson has hauled in 20 catches for 276 yards and two touchdowns. Prior to the 2008 season, his career totals were 12 catches for 157 yards and no touchdowns.
–Wilson’s 10 catches are tied for the second-highest total in a single game by a KU player. Five players have recorded 11 catches in a game including Meier in this game.
–Junior QB Todd Reesing finished the game 34-of-51 for 373 yards and three touchdowns. Along the way he:- Passed Mike Norseth (363) and David Jaynes (389) for third place on the KU career completions list with 393.
  – Passed Bill Whittemore (568) and Dylen Smith (569) for sixth place on the KU career pass attempts list with 611.
  – Moved ahead of Chip Hilleary (4,598) and Mike Norseth (4,677) for fourth place on the KU career passing yards list with 4,741 yards.
  – Tied Whittemore for first place with his 13th career 200+ yard passing game. It extended his school record streak to eight straight games.
–Reesing picked up his first rushing touchdown of the season on a 4-yard keeper late in the second quarter. It was the sixth rushing TD of his career.
–South Florida scored the first touchdown against the Kansas defensive unit of the 2008 season on a 28 yard run by Matt Grothe with 2:14 left in the first half. The KU defense was able to hold its opponents out of the endzone for the first 147 minutes and 46 seconds of the season. (FIU scored a touchdown on a punt return on special teams).
–Redshirt freshman CB Isiah Barfield and sophomore DT Jamal Greene each made their first career starts.
–True freshman TE Tim Biere made his first career catch.
–The announced attendance of 58,755 was the largest crowd for the Jayhawks of the season.