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Reesing rallies Jayhawks from 20-point deficit

Oct 4, 2008 - 10:11 PM AMES, Iowa (Ticker) -- Todd Reesing was not flustered by an abysmal start.

Reesing threw for three second-half touchdowns as 16th-ranked Kansas overcame a huge deficit en route to a wild 35-33 victory over Iowa State on Saturday in the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams.

Kansas coach Mark Mangino could not have been pleased after watching his team commit three turnovers and manage just five first downs in falling into a 20-0 hole at halftime.

"We've played very poorly,"' Mangino said he told his team. "But we can win this game, and we will win this game, if you keep your poise, you stay calm."

However, Reesing led an offensive explosion in the second half, throwing touchdown passes of 67, 23 and 2 yards. The junior completed 10-of-12 passes for 260 yards over the final two quarters after going 8-of-14 for 59 yards and an interception in the first half.

Jake Sharp rushed for a TD and caught another score for the Jayhawks (4-1, 1-0 Big 12 North), who scored on five of their seven second-half possessions. Sharp had three catches for 107 yards and carried 19 times for 79 yards.

Austen Arnaud threw for a pair of scores for Iowa State (2-3, 0-1 North), which has lost three straight following a 2-0 start.

Arnaud's second TD, a 2-yard connection to Marquis Hamilton with 75 seconds remaining, pulled the Cyclones within 35-33.

James Smith then recovered an onside kick at his own 41, giving the Cyclones a chance to pull out the victory. But Arnaud threw four straight incompletions, bringing a halt to what ultimately turned into a disappointing loss.

"The last series right there was pretty dismal," Iowa State coach Gene Chizik said. "We were dropping balls and we were very sloppy. We had a couple times where we really should have been able to get some yards and make some plays at critical times in the game.

"They totally outplayed us for most of the second half. The bottom line is everybody talks about playing 60 minutes and we haven't done that yet, and that's really disappointing to me."

Arnaud completed 27-of-45 passes for 268 yards and one costly interception.

Reesing began the comeback with a 67-yard touchdown pass to Sharp down the left side less than three minutes into the second half. Just under four minutes later, Angus Quigley barreled into the end zone from 1 yard out, pulling the Jayhawks within 20-14.

The Jayhawks gained their first lead of the game with 1:46 remaining in the third quarter on Reesing's 23-yard TD pass to Kerry Meier. It was a big afternoon for Meier, who caught seven passes for 125 yards.

While the offense carried things in the second half, the Jayhawks used a big defensive play that helped extend the lead to 28-20 early in the fourth quarter.

Defensive end Maxwell Onyegbule stepped in front of screen pass by Arnaud and returned the interception 22 yards to the Iowa State 6. Two plays later, Sharp banged into the end zone from 2 yards out.

Arnaud quickly engineered a six-play, 60-yard drive, capping the march with a 22-yard TD to R.J. Sumrall with 7:33 left as the Cyclones closed to 28-26. Arnaud threw an incompletion on the two-point conversion which would have tied the game.

Sumrall had 10 catches for 106 yards.

Reesing put an exclamation point on his big afternoon, throwing a 21-yard TD to Meier with 3:39 left that made it 35-26.

The finish was far different than the start for the Jayhawks, who lost two fumbles and watched Reesing throw an interception in the first half.

Alexander Robinson rumbled for 16-yard touchdown and Arnaud tossed an 8-yard TD in the first quarter, giving the Cyclones a 14-0 lead.

Grant Mahoney extended the margin with field goals of 31 and 43 yards in the second quarter. Both field goals came after turnovers by the Jayhawks.