Manhattan The South wind huffed and it puffed and it blew Todd Reesing's weakly delivered first pass down. Kansas State's Chris Carney intercepted it. A crowd of 50,924 threw a purple party in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
These were new circumstances for Kansas University's sophomore quarterback working his first road start. Throwing into the wind the first quarter, Reesing completed just three of nine for 13 yards and an interception against a defense bigger and faster and meaner than any he had faced.
And then, just as he had in the opening four weeks, Reesing played three brilliant quarters, appearing in the fourth quarter for the first time all season.
He adjusted to the wind, the defense and the crowd in leading Kansas to a 30-24 victory.
Again, Reesing showed he's such a clever athlete, blessed with a quick brain, feet and release. His contagious confidence spreads a calmness across the sideline, even when the numbers aren't adding up. At various points, the scoreboard showed Kansas State leading 7-0, 14-7, 24-21. Reesing's body language never read like a quarterback whose team had fallen behind, even after his second of three interceptions, when coach Mark Mangino was urging him to "relax, don't get too wired," according to Reesing, a natural leader who so firmly believes in himself.
What, Reesing was asked after rallying his team to victory, would it take to shake his confidence?
"I don't think that can happen," he said, so matter-of-factly. "We faced some adversity today. I threw those interceptions in the first half. ... The offense had confidence in me, and I had confidence in myself, and we bounced back. ... You've got to face the adversity, and you can't let it get you down."
Marcus Henry dropped a pass in the first half, Dezmon Briscoe in the second. Kansas scored touchdowns on both drives, Briscoe scoring on the same drive in which he dropped one. Dexton Fields had one bounce off of his helmet in the fourth quarter for an interception and rebounded to score the winning touchdown.
The drops don't send Reesing's eyes rolling back in his head. They don't make his finger point. They make his mouth move with words of leadership: "I just tell them, 'Don't worry about it. Get the next one.' Or, I'll joke with them: 'You owe me one.' I think it's good a lot of times after a guy drops a pass to come back to him and let him make up for it. They're going to be focused, and they're going to be ready because they know they let the team down, and they want to make up for what they did."
Over the final three quarters, Reesing completed 19 of 26 for 254 yards and three touchdowns. Anyone surprised he was able to take his talents on the road against stiffer competition and succeed wasn't paying attention to what he did against the pushovers on the schedule. He has small hands, which could be a factor in his passes having a little wobble to them. His accuracy and pocket presence equip him for the big-time, which is where his team belongs.
Now that Kansas has won in Manhattan for the first time since 1989, it's time for the voters to do their jobs and put the Jayhawks in the Top 25 for the first time since 1996. Anybody who fails to do that just isn't paying any attention.