The #8 performance of the 2008 Kansas football season came at a time when the Jayhawk squad needed someone to step up more than ever. Coach Mangino and the Jayhawks entered conference play with a 3-1 record, one win short of their likely goal. The conference opener was expected by many to be a breeze but that turned out not to be the case.
Ames, Iowa is where performance #8 took place and a lethargic Jayhawk squad stumbled early and often in this one and looked on their way to a disastrous start to a very difficult conference slate. The Cyclones posed probably the easiest test for Kansas but it took a heroic second half effort from one player who seized the moment and ultimately seized the starting running back job that had been up in the air for much of the season.
Jump into the post for a performance and game recap…
Jake Sharp makes his first appearance on the list following his game against the surprising Iowa State Cyclones in Ames.
Nearly 48,000 Iowa State faithful welcomed their first ranked opponent of the year to Ames and after a 14-0 first quarter start anticipation gripped the fans. The Kansas Jayhawk offense went three and out on its first three drives and good field position all day for the Cyclones led to a 20-0 halftime lead. 93 total yards of offense was all that could be mustered by Todd Reesing and the potent Kansas squad but everything would change in the 2nd half because of a junior from Salina Kansas.
At the start of 2nd half the Kansas defense did exactly what it needed to do in holding the Cyclones to a three and out. What happened next was a huge momentum swing for Kansas when Todd Reesing found Jake Sharp in the flat for what he would turn into a 67 yard scamper to the end zone. Kansas had the momentum and wouldn’t look back. The defense continued to stall out Austen Arnaud and the Cyclone offense and the Jayhawk offense would score on 5 of 6 possessions to take a 35-33 lead they would never relinquish. Kerry Meier would be on the receiving end of two more touchdown receptions and Jake Sharp would establish a threat out of the backfield for the first time all year.
Sharp would wrap up his day with a modest 79 yards on the ground with 1 touchdown. That however didn’t tell the whole story, with his 3 catches for 107 yards and 1 touchdown Sharp amassed a total of 186 all-purpose yards accounting for nearly half of all of the Jayhawks offensive production. Without the spark from Sharp and his two touchdowns in the game the season could have taken a serious turn for the worse early on and because of that Jake Sharp has earned the #8 spot on the countdown of Kansas football’s top performances of 2008.