Kansas Opens Big 12 With Third-Largest Come-From-Behind Win At Iowa State

AMES, Iowa – Behind 186 all-purpose yards from Jake Sharp and an impressive second-half passing performance from Todd Reesing, the University of Kansas football team turned a 20-point halftime deficit into a 35-33 win over Iowa State in its Big 12 opener at Jack Trice Stadium.

The come from behind victory tied the third biggest comeback in school history behind only a 26-point deficit at Iowa State in 1992 and a 21-point deficit vs. Colorado in 1950.

Kansas improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big 12, while Iowa State fell to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in the league.

A sea of 47,847 Cyclone fans were riding high as Iowa State jumped out to a fast 14-0 lead in the first quarter. By halftime KU was down 20-0 and had mustered just 93 yards and only five first downs. KU went three and out on each of its first three possessions. Everything changed in the second half when Kansas scored touchdowns on five of its six drives, before sitting on the ball to end the game.

Iowa State’s first touchdown came on its first possession, which started at its own 45-yard line. The Cyclones needed just five plays to reach the endzone and lead 7-0.

After another KU three and out, the Cyclones started their second drive on the KU 39-yard line and scored nine plays later.

KU managed just 24 yards on 11 plays in the quarter, while ISU ran up 110 on 20 plays.

ISU put together two drives in the second quarter which resulted in field goals. ISU quarterback Austen Arnaud ended the half hitting 15 of 19 passes for 126 yards. Reesing was eight of 14 for 59 yards and one interception.

In the difficult first half for Kansas, ISU controlled the ball for 18:53 and ran 38 plays (for 181 yards) compared to KU’s 28 plays for 93 yards and three turnovers.

No sooner had those happy Iowa State fans returned to their seats in the second half when Kansas forced an ISU three and out. Two plays later, Reesing hit a streaking Sharp down the left sideline for a 67-yard touchdown pass.

Four minutes later KU scored its second touchdown on an Angus Quigley one-yard dive, and with just over eight minutes left in the third quarter the Jayhawks were within striking distance with the score 20-14.

On its third drive of the quarter, Reesing hooked up with Kerry Meier on fourth down for the go-ahead score from 23-yards out to give KU a 21-20 lead.

Kansas looked to be driving for its fourth-straight score to open the fourth quarter when Reesing fumbled at the ISU 11-yard line. However, four players later, Kansas DE Max Onyegbule stepped in front of an Arnaud pass and took the ball back to the six yardline. Sharp punched the ball in on a two-yard run and the Jayhawks went up 28-20.

Iowa State was able to reach the endzone two more times, both through the air, but a second Reesing-to-Meier touchdown pass with 3:39 on the clock was enough to hold off ISU.

Reesing was 10-of-12 for 260 yards and three TDs in the second half to finish the game 18-of-26 for 319 yards. Meier hauled in seven catches for 125 games. He now has 26 catches for 381 yards and three TDs over the last three games and tied the school record with his third-straight game with over 100 yards receiving.

Linebackers James Holt and Joe Mortensen each had eight tackles to lead the KU defense, while four different players broke up passes including Jake Laptad, who batted down a crucial pass at the line in the final minute. Laptad and Mortensen each posted one sack.

Kansas returns to Kivisto Field Oct. 10 when it hosts Colorado at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2.

The Kansas Win…
–Was KU’s fifth straight road victory in Big 12 Conference play, as well as its sixth in its last seven league road contests.
–Marked KU’s fifth victory in its last six road games overall.
–Represented KU’s fourth straight win after a bye week.
–Was KU’s 19th win its last 22 games overall.
–Gave KU a 1-0 record in Big 12 Conference play for the second straight year, but just the second time in the last five years and third in the last 11 seasons.
–Increased Kansas win streak over Iowa State to four games.
–Improved Mark Mangino to 41-37 in his seventh year at Kansas.

Kansas Game Notes
–The come-from-behind victory tied the third-biggest comeback for victory in Kansas history. It was the biggest comeback win since 1992, when KU trailed Iowa State in Ames by 26 (21-47), and came back to win 50-47.
–Iowa State jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead which matched KU’s largest deficit of the season. KU trailed South Florida 34-20 early in the fourth quarter in Tampa. The 14 first-quarter points were the first given up by Kansas in a first quarter all season. KU’s biggest deficit of the game was the halftime score of 20-0.
–Kansas was held scoreless in the first half for the first time since the Missouri game last season.
–Senior LB Joe Mortensen recorded his first forced fumble of the season, the third of his career. Sophomore DL Jake Laptad picked up his first career fumble recovery on the play.
–Laptad later picked up his first pass breakup of the season to help thwart ISU’s potential game-winning final drive of the game. It was his second career breakup.
–Junior RB Jake Sharp hauled in a 67-yard touchdown reception to open the second half and record his first TD of the season. It was the third receiving touchdown of his career.
–The 67-yard Sharp touchdown was Kansas’ second-longest play of the season, behind a 68-yard touchdown reception by Kerry Meier against Sam Houston State.
–By finishing with 107 yards receiving, Sharp became the fifth different Jayhawk to record over 100 yards receiving in a single game this season. Additionally, Sharp is the first Jayhawk running back to achieve the feat going back to at least the 1974 season.
–Sharp finished the game with 186 all-purpose yards (79 rushing, 107 receiving) and a touchdown both on the ground and in the air. Sharp has two other multi-touchdown games in his career, against Southeast Louisiana and Nebraska last season. He also had one rushing and one receiving score in each of those games.
–Freshman DT Richard Johnson batted down his first career pass breakup.
–Senior WR Dexton Fields made his return to the field – after missing all but the first quarter of the season – and hauled in a career-long 50-yard reception. Fields has caught at least one pass in the last 26 consecutive games he has played in.
–Junior DE Max Onyegbule picked off an ISU pass at the line of scrimmage and returned it 24 yards to set up a two-yard touchdown run by Sharp to put KU up 28-20. It was Onyegbule’s first career interception and the first by a KU defensive lineman this season.
–Junior QB Todd Reesing became the second-leading passer in Kansas history with 5,414 career yards through the air (319 yards against ISU). The record is held by Frank Seuer with 6,410 passing yards.
–Reesing threw a touchdown pass in his 10th straight game to tie the KU record also held by David Jaynes (last five games 1972, first five games of 1973).
–After a slow first half (8-of-14 for 59 yards, no TDs), Reesing was 10-of-12 for 260 yards and three touchdowns in the second half.
–Junior WR/QB Kerry Meier collected his third-straight 100+ receiving game to tie four former players for the most in KU history. His seven catches, 125 receiving yards and two touchdowns gave him a total of 26 catches for 381 yards and three TDs over the last three outings.
–For the fourth straight game, Kansas had two players with 100+ receiving yards (Meier-125, Sharp-107).
–Junior RB Angus Quigley started his second-straight game, and notched his second-straight game with a rushing touchdown.
–Senior DE John Larson made his first start of the season. It was the 26th start of his career.