AMES, Iowa - Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino has stuck by his guns, making sure that whoever starts at quarterback won't be revealed until kickoff today at 1 p.m. in Ames, Iowa.
All three KU gunslingers - freshman Kerry Meier, freshman Todd Reesing and senior Adam Barmann - threw during warm-ups, but whoever it is that gets the nod will have a load to carry. In Mangino's nearly five years at KU, the Jayhawks have won just three games, and only one of them has come against a Big 12 Conference oppoenent. If Kansas hopes to play in the postseason for the third time in four years, a win today against 3-6 Iowa State is imperative.
The Jayhawks broke into the conference win column last week by taking care of Colorado, 20-15 in Lawrence. It bumped the Jayhawks to 4-5 on the season, two wins away from bowl eligibility with three games to play. Iowa State is still winless in conference play, and enters today's game 3-6, meaning the Cyclones cannot afford another loss if they want to fulfill their own postseason aspirations.
Iowa State won the coin toss and deferred the decision to the second half, meaning Kansas began the game with the ball.
Freshman Kerry Meier took the Jayhawks out onto the field for the game's opening possession. His first pass attempt was dropped on second-and-11, and on a third-down scramble, Meier picked up eight yards before fumbling the ball away while being twisted to the ground. The result was Iowa State ball at the KU 26-yard line.
IOWA STATE 3, KANSAS 0
The Cyclones were unable to do much, thanks to a five-yard loss on first down by freshman Josh Johnson. Bret Culbertson ended the minimal drive with a 36-yard field goal.
The Jayhawks' next drive simply brought more of the same. It was cementer when Kerry Meier went down in a heap between Iowa State's Ahtyba Rubin and Shawn Moorehead. But KU earned a second life, as James Smith muffed the Kyle Tucker punt, and Joe Mortensen pounced on it for KU, setting the Jayhawk offense back up at its own 46-yard line.
KANSAS 6, IOWA STATE 3
On a third-and-six, Brian Murph ran a hook route on the near sideline, where Meier spotted him for first-down yardage. Murph turned left, though, and burned 51 yards down the sideline for the Jayhawks' first score of the game. Scott Webb's extra point was blocked, however, due to a low snap. The pass was Meier's second completion of the game, with the first coming on a three-yard shovel pass to Jon Cornish earlier in the drive.
The Jayhawk defense forced a three-and-out, capped by Jeff Wheeler deflecting Bret Meyer's third-and-four pass right at midfield from his defensive end post. It squandered a Milan Moses kick return back to the Iowa State 45.
Jonathan Lamb returned the punt to the KU 30, as the Jayhawk defense is still yet to allow a Cyclone first down.
KU's drive never got off the ground, though, as Cornish has been stumped so far with the blal in his hands. The senior, who went over 1,000 yards for the season last week against Colorado, has five yards on hsi first five carries.
But the KU defense was again stout. Meyer completed two short passes to give the Cyclones their first first down of the game, but then Meyer imploded. First came an eight-yard loss on a sack from Paul Como, and then an interception right into the waiting arms of Aqib Talib - his fifth pick of the season.
To start the next KU drive, Todd Reesing entered the game at quarterback, and completed his first pass to tight end Derek Fine. A 15-yard personal foul call moved to ball down to the Cyclone 33-yard line.
A holding call knocked KU back 10 yards, but kept the Jayhawks in Iowa State territory. Following a 6-yard scramble on first-and-20, Reesing threw an incompletion in the left flat. He scrambled again on third down for eight yards to set up KU with a fourth-and-six at the 29-yard line.
In a tough spot, with the wind in their face, the Jayhawks were forced to go for it.
KANSAS 13, IOWA STATE 3
Reesing held off as long as possible, then floated a pass into the front-right corner of the end zone, where Fine went up for a jump ball with ISU's Jason Harris. After conferring on who actually had the ball, the refs signaled touchdown in front of the Jayhawk cheering section, sending it into a frenzy. The play was reviewed, and the call stood. Webb's extra point put KU up 10 points.
A James McClinton sack on second-and-long helped KU stomp out another ISU possession, and Lamb was given a small lane on the far sideline on the punt return, setting KU up at the Iowa State 44.
To start the second quarter, Meier took the offensive reins again.
Cornish started the drive with a seven-yard carry up the right side, and his second straight tote set KU up with a third-and-one at the 35.
Meier snuck the ball up the middle to give Kansas a first down, and on the next snap he threw a quick screen to freshman Jake Sharp, who was split out wide, for a three-yard gain.
On third-and-seven from the same yard marker where KU scored it's previous touchdown, Meier struck Marcus Henry, who escaped a defensive grasp right at the first down marker, and picked up six more yards before being upended by a Cyclone defender.
Cornish took the ball from the 16 down to within two yards of the gaol line before fumbling. Iowa State pounced on it, leaving their offense in the shadow of its own goal post.
But Iowa State's offensive ineptitude continued. The Cyclones were able to muster their way for a first down, but KU pressure, especially from Mike Rivera and Paul Como, forced another punting situation.
Meier took the offense back onto the field, with the ball at the Iowa State 43.
KANSAS 20, IOWA STATE 3
With that field position, Meier led the Jayhawks on their most efficient drive of the game. Led by runs of five and nine yards from Cornish, a seven-yard pass to Lamb and a Meier keeper down to the Iowa State three, KU made scoring not look so tough. Meier executed a perfect play action pass and dropped a three-yard pass over the shoulder of Fine, who hauled in his second score of the day. Webb's extra point put KU up 20-3 with 5:23 to go until halftime.
Iowa State finally began to move the ball somewhat efficiently on its next drive, with the big play coming on a 19-yard hitter from Meyer to fullback Ryan Kock to set the Cyclones up inside the Jayhawk 40.
But Kansas' defense held again, this time forcing an incomplete pass on fourth-and-six to get the ball back at its own 31.
KU made it a serious reality that they could score again before halftime, when Meier sold the Cyclone secondary on a pump fake and hit Lamb 43-yards downfield for a catch in which he had to lunge to his shoelaces to grab it while in full stride. It put Kansas at the Iowa State 23 with just over 90 seconds to go in the half.
Two plays later, Kansas neared the first-down marker on a nine-yard pass to Marcus Henry on a hitch route against the near boundary. The ball was roughly six inches short of the first-down marker. A Meier sneak gave KU a fresh set of downs at the 13-yard line with 1:06 to go.
Meier hit Lamb again for a nine-yard gain to the four-yard line.
KANSAS 27, IOWA STATE 3
Kansas made Iowa State's halftime that much gloomier with 23 seconds to go, as Meier pitched to Brandon McAnderson from the four-yard line on third-and-one. McAnderson looked like he was going to throw back to Meier in the end zone, but instead tucked it up the middle himself to give Kansas 27 unanswered points since the first quarter.
Kerry Meier was 11-of-15 in the first half for 152 yards and two touchdown passes. Reesing was 2-of-3 for 29 yards and a TD pass of his own. Jonathan Lamb has had a career-day so far, posting career-bests in receptions (3) and receiving yards (59). He also has three punt returns for 49 yards.
Iowa State certainly started hot. On the Cyclones' first offensive snap, Meyer hit Moses for a 30-yard gain to midfield. He hit him on the next two plays as well to set up a third-and-three at the Kansas 43. A Meyer scramble gave the 'Clones another first down.
But true to form, nothing came of it. Kock fumbled on a third-and-three deep in KU territory, and it was quickly scooped by Jerome Kemp, giving KU the ball at its own 27-yard line.
KU's next drive not only got the clock moving, but the chains as well. A pair of first downs came right off the bat on a four-yard McAnderson run and a nine-yard connection from Meier to Murph, setting Kansas up three yards deep in Iowa State territory. The drive stalled out, though, when Meier was sacked by Mike Curvey on third-and-10, forcing Kyle Tucker to punt for the second time. A fair catch was called for at the 15-yard line.
KANSAS 34, IOWA STATE 3
After forcing a three-and-out against Iowa State, KU received a gift when ISU punter Mike Brandtner dropped the punt snap, and was rocked by Tang Bacheyie at the two-yard line, giving KU golden field position.
From there, it took Todd Reesing, back at quarterback, one play to stretch over the goal line, ballooning Kansas' lead to more than four touchdowns with 6:23 to play in the quarter.
Joe Mortensen sacked Iowa State quarterback Bret Meyer to bring yet another Cyclone drive to a thud, finished with a punt. This time, Lamb took a fair catch at the KU 20.
Reesing made his first mistake of the day, though, when KU took the ball back. After a holding call, on third-and-14, Reesing threw a panicked shovel pass right into the gut of Iowa State's Shawn Moorehead.
And it took Iowa State one play to give it back in the form of a Johnson fumble. From there, Cornish continued to swing the momentum with a 32-yard run to the KU 42-yard line. That was followed by a 17-yard McAnderson scamper, and a pair of eight-yard runs by Meier to put KU at the Iowa State 25 at the end of the third quarter.
KU continued to step on ISU's throat, going for it on a fourth-and-three at the Cyclones' 18. The result was a six-yard hookup from Meier to Lamb, giving KU a first down at the 12.
KANSAS 41, IOWA STATE 3
A KU hold on first down put KU back at the 22, making it first-and-20. Meier threw a swing pass to Fields to get back to the original line of scrimmage on the next play. Two snaps later, he hit Lamb for the fifth time, and Lamb sucked in a huge hit to extend to the first down, giving KU four chances at six points from three feet out. But the Jayhawks only needed one. McAnderson scored his second touchdown with 11:11 left, all but sealing the game with a 41-3 lead.
After forcing Iowa State into a turnover on downs, Reesing had his second fumble of the day, dropping a shotgun snap which was fallen on by Iowa State's John Machado. Luckily for the Jayhawks, though, a 38-point lead with 7:30 left should be pretty safe.
KANSAS 41, IOWA STATE 10
Iowa State is still playing for pride, as they drove off of the turnover down into the KU red zone for the third time in the game - all off of turnovers. A Meyer pass to Austin Flynn on second-and-six from the 12 gave the Cyclones first-and-goal at the three. KU's defense tightened momentarily, forcing a Meyer incompletion and then stuffed Kock at the one-yard line on second down. He scored on his next touch, though, for Iowa State's first touchdown of the game - a cosmetic one, at that.
FINAL: KANSAS 41, IOWA STATE 10
A Kyle Tucker punt puts the Cyclones on their own 15 after ISU's R.J. Sumrall returned the kick nine yards. Iowa State managed one play before the clock ran out, giving the Jayhawks their second straight win and first road victory of the season in a 41-10 decision in Ames.