Saturday, November 26, 2005
Kansas kicker Scott Webb gave the Jayhawks a 24-21 win Saturday at Memorial Stadium with a 34-yard field goal in overtime.
"I would have to say yes," Webb said right after the game, when asked if it was the biggest kick of his life. "It was fun, I cleared everything from my head and tried to just do what I do everyday in practice.
"We're going bowling."
While Webb provided the game-winner for the Jayhawks in their first-ever overtime game at Memorial, KU's back-up senior quarterback Brian Luke had to be the afternoon's hero.
Luke came in for injured Jayhawk starter Jason Swanson early in the fourth when Swanson took a lick from ISU defensive tackle Brent Curvey. Luke immediately rushed the ball three times, with his third attempt eventually giving KU a one-yard touchdown with 11:28 to play. A review from upstairs officials said Luke indeed crossed the goal-line, after officials on the field ruled he had not -- which meant KU would have turned the ball over on downs. Luke then found Derek Fine on the ensuing two-point conversion to tie the game at 14-all.
After the Cyclones marched down to take back the lead, Luke led two last-minute drives. The first ended with a ball going through the hands of a wide open Brian Murph. But on the second possession, Luke got a huge 35-yard gain when Marcus Henry wrestled the ball away from Cyclone defensive back DeAndre Jackson.
On the very next play he found a streaking Dexton Fields for a 15-yard touchdown to tie the contest with a little more than a minute remaining.
"I couldn't have asked for anything better," said the often criticized Luke, who took over for Adam Barmann who started the season as KU's quarterback, but struggled in back-to-back losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma ad was replaced by Swanson four games ago.
"I was just ready. I was exctied to get the opportunity again. I'm excited, especially for all us seniors. Lets go bowling."
Kansas coach Mark Mangino credited his senior class for wanting to play one more ball game -- especially his defense's effort late in the game.
"The kids reached back for a little extra. I'm glad those 20 guys get to play in another game," Mangino said. "They deserve it."
The loss was a costly one for the Cyclones as it took them out of next weekend's Big 12 Championship game in Houston. Had Iowa State won, because of Colorado's loss on Friday, ISU would have been the North representative.
"It was a heck of a college football game," ISU coach Dan McCarney said. "The Kansas defense took it up another notch or two in the fourth quarter and in the overtime.
"I cannot put into words our disappointment. Thankfully, this was not our last football game and we will get to represent our university in a bowl game and we look foward to that."
So too will the Jayhawks, who are going back to their second bowl game in three years. Kansas finished a perfect 6-0 for the first time at home since 1951. Some 42,826 fans witnessed the ball game, which helped Kansas set a school-record for average home attendance this season at 43,675.
Kansas senior linebacker Nick Reid recorded 12 tackles Saturday to give him 410 career tackles, which makes him just the 10th player in the Big 12 to accomplish the feat.
"It was a lot of fun (in the lockerroom)," Reid said. "It's very satisfying, we played until the end and never gave up. We got the win because of it."
Reid, fellow linebackers Kevin Kane and Banks Floodman and wideout Mark Simmons said they were happy that it was Luke who was able to come in there and lead the comeback.
The senior said he couldn't agreed more, and said the victory was even more special because he never gave up after his well-publicized struggles.
"This is nothing new to me, I've been through some tough times my entire career here," Luke said. "I can't just say I've been postive, 100-percent all of the time. I'm human, I get down, I get depressed. But just the ability to get back in it and the next Monday bounce back and just keep working.
"This feel awesome to end the season like this," Luke continued. "I was playing for our seniors. Guys have been here with for five years. We came here and been through some bumpy times, it hasn't been easy by any stretch, but to end it like this is something special."
Kansas' defense held Iowa State to three-and-out and ISU kicker Bret Culbertson missed a 41-yard field goal wide right.
After three rushes Kansas kicker Scott Webb won the game with a 34-yarder field goal to make the Jayhawks bowl eligible.
Kansas won the toss and chose to play defense in the north end zone.
Fourth Quarter Action
KU back-up quarterback Brian Luke snuck in from a yard out and threw the proceeding two-point conversion pass to tight-end Derek Fine to tie the game at 14-all with 11:28 to go.
The sneak by Luke was ruled a turnover on downs, but officials reviewed the play and ruled that Luke indeed got the ball in the end zone for the score.
Jason Swanson took a shot after a 25-yard completion to Fine to the 10-yard line. Luke came in and ran three times to give KU 11 unanswered points.
But the Cyclones came right back to go ahead 21-14 with 8:41 left when Ryan Kock scored from a yard out. ISU drove 87 yards on nine plays thanks to two big catches by Todd Blythe and Austin Flynn.
Kansas drove all the way to the Iowa State 30 thanks to some clucth plays including a scramble by Luke on a fourth-and-one.
But Luke's pass to a wide-open Brian Murph bounced off his fingertips near the goal-line.
A 35-yard catch by Marcus Henry set up Dexton Fields first career touchdown when Brian Luke hit him on a 15-yard slant for a touchdown with 1:05 to tie the game at 21-all.
After four quarter KU had 369 offensive yards to Iowa State's 311. Luke accounted for 9-of-12 passing for 82 yards.
Third Quarter Action
A razzle-dazzle reception by Mark Simmons on a ball deflected by Cyclone DeAndre Jackson, who probably should have had a sure interception, couldn't spark the Jayhawks first drive of the second half as KU was forced to punt.
Swanson tossed a ball in the direction of Brian Murph that Jackson jumped in front of. But the ball bounced off Jackson's chest and into the arms of a spinning Simmons who gained the first down.
On Iowa State's first possession wide out Austin Flynn caught a 38-yard reception to move the Cyclones into Kansas territory.
A couple of plays later it looked as if ISU would go up 21-3 when Todd Blythe appeared to pull in a 39-yard touchdown pass in the end zone over the oustretched arms of KU defensive back Aqib Talib.
While an official ruled the catch good for a touchdown, it was later changed that Blythe never had possession of the football until he was out of bounds.
The Jayhawks cut the game to one possession when Scott Webb connected on a 33-yard field goal with 5:58 to play.
Kansas certainly looked as if it might score a touchdown as a couple of big plays came up just short on the 11-play, 64-yard drive that took up 3:56.
Running back Jon Cornish streaked down the right sideline and looked as if he'd have at least a shot at a score. Instead a Cyclone pass interference call set the Jayhawks up even closer to the end zone.
The Jayhawks busted out a trick play when Clark Green threw back to quarterback Jason Swanson, but the ball fell right between his fingertips. Another pass sailed high over Murph as Swanson got hit when he was releasing the ball.
KU's Aqib Talib picked off Bret Meyer and returned the ball 45 yards to the ISU 37-yard line. But the Jayhawks went three-and-out and chose to punt. But Kyle Tucker's kick went into the end zone, giving ISU a first-and-10 at its own 20 with 1:22 to go in the third.
Iowa State has outgained Kansas 156 to 126 in total yards for the first half.
Kansas has 55 rushing yards on 18 carries, while the Cyclones have run the ball 19 times for 39 yards. Jon Cornish has 29 yards, while Clark Green has rushed for 23.
ISU quarterback Bret Meyer, who set a school record for his 142nd straight completion without an interception in the first half, has completed 10-of-17 passes for 117 yards and two scores.
KU's Jason Swanson has completed 7-of-16 passes for 71 yards, but also thrown three interceptions.
The Jayhawks have also had five costly penalties for 35 yards.
Second Quarter Action
The Cyclones didn't waste any time gaining their second score.
After forcing the Jayhawks to punt the ball away on the second play in the second quarter, ISU quarterback Bret Meyer engineered a nine-play 59-yard drive.
Meyer found a streaking Todd Blythe for his seventh touchdown of the season, a 27-yard strike, with 10:10 to go in the half.
Kansas wide out Brian Murph came up with a big grab on third-and-four at midfield to push KU's drive into Iowa State territory, but two plays later Jayhawk Jason Swanson tossed his second intercepted when ISU linebacker Matt Robertson came up with nice catch.
Earlier on the possession KU running back Jon Cornish broke off a 19-yard that was negated by a 10-yard penalty. Mark Simmons followed with a first down catch.
Kansas caught a big break though when its defense held ISU and senior cornerback Ronnie Amadi blocked the ensuing punt and fell on the football at the ISU 30-yard line.
But Kansas couldn't capitalize as a couple of costly penalities set up a third-and-long situaion and Jayhawk signal caller Jason Swanson threw his third interception on another tipped ball that Cyclone Nick Moser secured at his team's own 12-yard line with 3:24 to go in the half.
First Quarter Action
Kansas' defense held on Iowa State's first possession despite giving up a first down on a third-and-long.
Kansas started its first drive at its own 37-yard line, but Jason Swanson's pass on third down was intercepted as Marcus Henry dropped a perfect pass that flipped up into the air and the arms of ISU's DeAndre Jackson.
The Jayhawks defense again was stout, holding the Cyclones to three-and-out on their second possession. KU started at its own 13-yard line with 10:52 to go in the first quarter.
The Jayhawks marched 56 yards on 14 plays, taking five minutes off the clock and got on the scoreboard when Scott Webb nailed a career long 48-yard field goal to give Kansas a 3-0 lead with 5:04 to go in the first quarter.
A couple of nice runs by Clark Green coupled with two 14-yard strikes to Charles Gordon and Mark Simmons got the Jayhawks into Iowa State territory.
A mistimed reverse pass by Gordon, a Green run for no gain, and incomplete pass set up Webb's long boot with the wind behind him.
The Cyclones came right back to take a 7-3 lead with 44 seconds left in the quarter thanks to an 80-yard, nine play drive that was capped off with four-yard touchdown pass from Bret Meyer to Jon Davis, who beat Theo Baines to the right side of the end zone.
Iowa State thanks to two costly penalties by the Jayhawks and a gracious spot by the referee on third and short sustained the drive near midfield. Then Meyer found Austin Flynn who got past Baines, who also had a costly holding call on an incomplete pass, for a 42-yard reception to the 11-yard line.
Two short runs set up the third down touchdown toss.
Both teams each ran 18 plays, but the Cyclones gained 19 more yards, 78 to 59. KU's Clark Green had 23 yards on seven carries, while ISU's Bret Meyer completed 5-of-8 passess for 66 yards and a score.
Kansas won the toss and elected to defer. Iowa State will receive and defend the north end zone.
For 20 Kansas University football players, today will be their last game in Memorial Stadium.
But a win against visiting Iowa State would probably ensure KU's senior class that its season is not over with as KU would become bowl eligible -- likely heading to Fort Worth.
However, the Cyclones (7-3 overall, 4-3 Big 12) will be no easy task for the Jayhawks (5-5, 2-5) in the 11:30 kickoff that will be televised Fox Sports Net (national) (Sunflower Broadband Ch. 36).
"With the exception of 2003, it's been awhile since a game has meant something to KU football in the month of November," KU coach Mark Mangino said. "It brings excitement to the campus and community that everybody seems to be focused in on."
Indeed both squads have plenty to play for.
While a win would give the Jayhawks bowl life, a victory for the Cyclones (they've won four straight) would propel ISU into next weeekend's Big 12 Championship game in Houston because of Nebraska's win over Colorado on Friday.
"I'm not giving out any secrets -- you just can't do it and expect to win that game," said ISU coach Dan McCarney, when asked if Iowa State quarterback Bret Meyer would likely throw as much as he did (251 yards) in the Cyclones' 30-16 win over Colorado two weeks ago.
"We're not going to go down there and hand the ball off 40 times," McCarney.
The Jayhawks' nationally-rank defense, which was torched by Texas two weeks ago in Austin, Texas, will likely have to regain its old form as Cyclone running back Stevie Hicks back in the line-up. The 'Clones are a perfect 6-0 with Hicks in the backfield.
But the Jayhawks are 5-0 in Memorial and have been dominant on defense when playing in Lawrence this season.
"When Memorial is filled up, and it's rocking for you," said senior linebacker Brandon Perkins, who along with the other seniors were honore with a video tribute before the game. "It's a good place to play.
"Kansas in another bowl game. That'd be pretty fun."