Kansas Loses Double-Overtime Thriller, 37-31

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas football team suffered its first loss of the season after it dropped a thrilling double-overtime decision, 37-31 to the Rockets. The Jayhawks engineered a fourth-quarter comeback, but ultimately fell short in the second overtime stanza.

The KU defense shined in the defeat, limiting the Rockets to just 237 yards of total offense for the game. Sophomore linebacker Mike Rivera registered eight tackles to lead the squad. Senior safety Jerome Kemp collected seven tackles while sophomore cornerback Aqib Talib, senior linebacker Eric Washington and sophomore linebacker Joe Mortensen each added six tackles for the unit.

Freshman quarterback Kerry Meier threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another in the first road game of his collegiate career. Senior running back Jon Cornish rushed for 89 yards on 20 carries and also caught three passes for 26 yards. Junior tight end Derek Fine had a team-high five receptions for 49 yards while sophomore Marcus Henry hauled in a three passes for a career-high 67 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown grab, his third of the season.

The Jayhawks started quickly, scoring on the team’s opening possession when Meier scrambled for a 12-yard touchdown run. The scamper marked the fourth rushing score for the Pittsburg, Kan., native. The drive was kept alive by a key third-down reception by junior Derek Fine that went for 19 yards.

After a Toledo safety and rushing score, the Jayhawks responded with a two-yard touchdown plunge by senior fullback Brandon McAnderson. The touchdown, the second of McAnderson’s career, made the score, 14-9, midway through the second quarter.

Toledo took a 17-14 lead into halftime after connecting on a fourth-down touchdown reception with under a minute left in the first half. The Jayhawks answered quickly in the second half when sophomore defensive end John Larson sacked Rockets quarterback Brandon Summers early in the third quarter, making the score, 17-16.

The Jayhawks regained the lead after the safety when Meier hooked up with Henry on the 36-yard score, making the score 23-17. After the Rockets struck back twice to take a 31-23 lead, Meier drove KU down the field before connecting with sophomore wide receiver Dexton Fields on a 20-yard scoring play. The score was Fields’ second of the season. Meier successfully converted the two-point attempt, knotting the score at 31.

The teams then entered overtime, where the Rockets were unsuccessful on the opening possession. However, Meier fumbled a hand-off to Cornish on the Jayhawks’ possession, sending the game into double overtime, only the second time in school history that Kansas has played a contest with more than one overtime period. In the second overtime, Meier was intercepted and Rockets running back Jalen Parmale scored on a 25-yard run to end the game.

Kansas returns to action on Sept. 23, when it hosts Big East member South Florida at Memorial Stadium. The game, which will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net, is slated for a 6 p.m. kick off.