"It's just playing a whole game," guard Ben Lamaak said. "This week we played the first 30 minutes and came out flat in the second half."
Iowa State had that shot after Sedrick Johnson recovered an onside kick but dropped two passes on the following series and turned the ball over on downs to end it.
"The last series was pretty abismal," coach Gene Chizik said. "We had a couple of times where we really should have been able to make big plays at critical times when the game was on the line and we just didn't get it done."
After shutting down Kansas on its first series of the game, the Cyclones used a series of short passes and runs to drive right down the field. Alexander Robinson scampered 16 yards untouched to the endzone to make it 7-0.
The defense stood strong once again, forcing a second straight three-and-out and getting the offense the ball at the Kansas 39. The Cyclones promptly drove down in nine plays and Austen Arnaud hit Marquis Hamilton wide open for a eight-yard score to make it 14-0.
After trading punts, Christopher Lyle took the ball away from Kansas's Jocques Crawford, which led to a 31-yard Grant Mahoney field goal. Mahoney hit another field goal on the next series to make it 20-0, converting an unbelievable diving interception from Leonard Johnson at the 50 yardline.
Iowa State had another chance to convert a turnover before half but Arnaud fumbled at the Kansas 15 with under two minutes to go. Kansas threatened to get on the scoreboard but the Cyclones were able to hold and went into the lockerroom ahead, which was a complete reversal of fortunes from their previous game where they trailed UNLV 21-0.
"When you're up 20 points, that is pretty unfamiliar territory for us," Chizik said. "When you're up 20 points, you have to understand conceptually how to get it done."
The Cyclones struggled to do that, though.
Kansas came out firing in the second half, however, forcing a three-and-out and using a big play to make it 20-7. Todd Reesing found his running back, Jake Sharp, wide open down the sideline and hit him for a 67-yard scoring strike on the second play of the ensuing series.
The Jayhawks forced another quick punt and quickly and methodically drove down to cut the lead to six after a Angus Quigley one-yard run. Sharp caught another big pass on the series, with this one being a 42-yarder on a shovel pass.
The Cyclones went three-and-out once again and Kansas made two key fourth down conversions on the next series with the last one being a 23-yard touchdown pass from Reesing to Kerry Meier to give Kansas its first lead at 21-20 as the third quarter came to an end.
Kansas drove down again but Reesing fumbled at the 11 and it was recovered by Ter'ran Benton. The unforunate thing for the Cyclones is Arnaud was intercepted four plays later and it was returned to the ISU 6. Sharp made it 28-20 with a two-yard run.
Arnaud bounced right back leading his team on a 60-yard scoring drive, ending in touchdown toss to RJ Sumrall but the two-point conversion fell incomplete and that made it 28-26.
Kansas bounced right back, though, as Reesing found Meier for a 21-yard strike on the following series to make it 35-26. Iowa State did go down and score on a Arnaud to Hamilton pass and Johnson set up the final series.
"We have to put together 60 good minutes of football," defensive end Kurtis Taylor said. "They made their adjustments but the bottom line is we didn't come out with the same intensity and the same emotion."
Arnaud played the entire game, going 27 for 45 for 268 yards. Sumrall had 10 catches for 106 yards and Robinson led the team in rushing with 51 yards.
Reesing threw for 319 yards, 260 of which came in the second stanza. Sharp had 79 yards rushing and 107 yards receiving to help lead the Jayhawks. Meier ended the game with 125 yards receiving.