Kansas 13, South Florida 7
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)—Jon Cornish ran for 105 yards and the go-ahead touchdown, and Kansas came up with two key interceptions in a 13-7 victory over South Florida on Saturday night.
The Jayhawks (3-1) won their ninth straight home game and denied the Bulls (3-1) their first 4-0 start since 1998.
Adam Barmann, who made his first start at quarterback for Kansas since Oct. 8, 2005, filled in solidly for injured freshman Kerry Meier. Barmann, a senior making his 14th career start, was 25-for-35 for 273 yards.
Meier, who has a sore right shoulder, was a game-day scratch.
Matt Grothe’s 14-yard keeper gave South Florida a first down at Kansas’ 27 with 13 seconds to go. But Grothe’s next two passes fell incomplete, and Justin Thornton’s interception in the end zone as time ran out sealed the Jayhawks’ victory.
Grothe, who threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns—both school freshman records—last week against Central Florida, was 17-for-32 for 196 yards against Kansas.
Grothe’s 7-yard touchdown carry with just over 3 minutes left in the third quarter gave South Florida a 7-3 lead. But on the first play of the fourth quarter, Cornish took a pitch from Barmann, swept around the left side and leveled cornerback Mike Jenkins as he entered the end zone.
That put the Jayhawks up 10-7, and Scott Webb added a 42-yard field goal on Kansas’ next possession for a 13-7 lead.
Kansas’ defense also made big stops deep in its own territory on South Florida’s first and last drives of the first half. But turnovers—an ongoing problem this season—kept the Jayhawks off the scoreboard until Webb hit a 37-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 9:15 left in the third quarter.
The Bulls threatened to score on the game’s first possession, but Grothe was stuffed for a 1-yard gain on fourth-and-2 from Kansas’ 3.
Barmann hit Marcus Henry at the Bulls’ 13 early in the second quarter, and Henry spun inside his defender and sprinted for the end zone. But South Florida’s Carlton Williams knocked the ball away just before Henry could score, and Chris Robinson recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
Barmann drove Kansas into field-goal range late in the half, but fumbled the ball away at South Florida’s 32. Allen Cray recovered and Grothe quickly led the Bulls back down the field, but Aqib Talib intercepted Grothe’s pass at the Jayhawks’ 1 with 8 seconds left.
It was the first takeaway for Kansas since the Jayhawks had two in their season opener. With their two picks and Paul Como’s fumble recovery in the fourth quarter, their turnover margin for the season improved from minus-7 to minus-6.