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Kansas survives scare, beats SE Missouri St.
College Football
spt ap KU Mann
Kansas running back DeAndre Mann picks up a first down against Southeast Missouri States Roper Garrett (43) and Joshua Wilson during the first quarter of an NCAA football game on Saturday in Lawrence. - photo by AP Photo

LAWRENCE — Everything went so perfectly for Kansas in the first quarter Saturday night that Charlie Weis openly wondered whether things might have gone too well.
Especially after Southeast Missouri State nearly pulled off a big fourth-quarter comeback.
Montell Cozart threw three touchdown passes, two to Nick Harwell, and De’Andre Mann ran for 121 yards as the Jayhawks built a 24-0 lead before hanging on for a 34-28 victory.
“They might not be used to success, to be playing on top,” Weis said of his team afterward. “You’re finally feeling good about yourself for a change — you’re finally playing from ahead, from in front. I think it might have caught them off guard that they were playing so well.”
This is a program, after all, that has won just four times the past two seasons.
The Redhawks’ Kyle Snyder threw three touchdown passes, all in the fourth quarter, the last of them a 26-yard pass to Paul McRoberts on fourth down with 1:33 left. The Redhawks (1-1) tried an on-side kick, but Harwell hopped on the loose ball, allowing Kansas to run out the clock.
“We really preach on playing all four quarters,” said Snyder, who wound up throwing for 269 yards but also tossed three interceptions.
The Redhawks, who beat football newcomer Missouri Baptist 77-0 a week ago in coach Tom Matukewicz’s debut, found it hard to overcome themselves. Along with the turnovers, the Football Championship Subdivision school was penalized 14 times for 174 yards.
“At the end of the day it’s all about getting the ‘W’,” Redhawks cornerback Reggie Jennings said. “I’m proud of my teammates on all sides of the ball. We came out and fought to the end.”
That’s exactly what Weis would like to see out of his team.
After taking a 3-0 lead, Matthew Boateng’s pick gave the Jayhawks good field position. Three players later, Avery took an option pitch over the left side from 10 yards out for a score.
Cozart added a 6-yard TD pass to Harwell later in the first quarter, and his 10-yard pass to the former Miami of Ohio star moments later gave the Jayhawks a 24-0 lead.
It was their best 15-minute period since scoring 34 points in the fourth quarter of a game against Colorado on Nov. 6, 2010, long before Weis was hired as coach.
“During the first quarter, out on the field, you could see it. It was a completely different team than it had been,” said the Jayhawks’ Ben Heeney. “You come out the second half, no juice, half the stadium is empty, like it always is, fans leaving at halftime — there’s just no juice in the stadium, and I think that’s part of it.”
Actually, the deflation started with the second quarter.
The Redhawks sacked Cozart to foil one drive, forced a three-and-out on the next, and then caused a comical fumble to end the half. While players from both teams jumped into a pile near midfield, the loose ball squirted away without anybody noticing. Kansas right tackle Damon Martin finally did, but only after staring dumbfounded at the ball for several seconds.
“He must not have realized the ball was a fumble,” Weis said, sounding equally dumbfounded.
The Redhawks finally got going in the third, blocking Matt Wyman’s 49-yard field goal attempt and returning the ball to the Kansas 22. Jackson scored four plays later to make it 24-7.
Sensing some momentum, Southeast Missouri State appeared to recover an onside kick, only to be flagged for being offside. Kansas wound up with good field position on the ensuing kick, and Cozart hit Tony Pierson for a 67-yard TD pass that briefly restored some order.
“They played great down the stretch, we just have to stop playing down to our opponent,” Heeney said. “It’s just something we have to fix.”
Southeast Missouri State refused to go quietly.
Snyder hit Spencer Davis with a 37-yard TD strike early in the fourth quarter, and then found McRoberts from 68 yards out to make it 34-21 with 10:39 left. But by the time he hit McRoberts to make it a one-possession game, the Redhawks had nearly run out of time.
“We definitely felt like we were going to pull it out. Even after the first quarter, we still thought we were going to win this game,” said Redhawks cornerback Tim Hamm-Bey. “We never hang our heads. When your body language is good, your mind is good.”