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September 11, 2010Jordan Webb threw three touchdown passes and Kansas rebounded from last week's humiliating loss to North Dakota State with a 28-25 upset Saturday of No. 15 Georgia Tech.
Capping a tumultuous eight days which included the abrupt retirement of their controversial athletic director, the Jayhawks (1-1) capitalized on a succession of mistakes by the heavily favored Yellow Jackets (1-1) and posted their biggest win since the 2008 Orange Bowl.
Webb, who replaced last week's starter, was 18 for 29 for 179 yards and three TDs. Georgia Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt scored touchdowns on runs of 9 and 4 yards, giving him five in two games.
After booing the Jayhawks during their 6-3 loss to North Dakota State, fans flooded the field to celebrate as the final seconds ticked away in this unexpected victory. Georgia Tech, the defending ACC champion, was favored by two touchdowns.
Webb, a redshirt freshman, replaced Kale Pick, who had started against North Dakota State and failed to generate even one touchdown. James Sims, a true freshman who didn't even play in the lackluster season opener, had 17 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Nesbitt, criticized for hitting only one pass in a 41-10 victory last week over South Carolina State, threw for 116 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown pass and a 2-point conversion which brought the Yellow Jackets to within 3 points with 7:48 to go.
In the final minutes, Georgia Tech faced a fourth-and-3 from their own 35. But a false start penalty pushed them back 5 yards and Nesbitt wound up being off target on a fourth-down pass.
Many fans were so disgusted with the North Dakota State loss they called for the firing of Turner Gill, even though it had been his first game as head coach. Gill's status perhaps seemed even shakier when the man who hired him, Lew Perkins, retired a year early on Tuesday.
But Saturday a throng of students chanted his name as he spoke briefly to a television camera.
``We said, 'Move on,''' Gill said of the North Dakota State loss.
He also praised Webb. ``He's our quarterback,'' Gill said. ``Jordan Webb is our quarterback.''
Kansas slowed the powerful Georgia Tech running game a bit, holding it to 291 yards. But the Yellow Jackets also dropped several passes, including one in the end zone. And they aided Kansas scoring drives with a 13-yard punt, a roughing-the-passer penalty and a kickoff that went out of bounds and let the Jayhawks start on the 40.
Webb's TD passes covered 15 yards to Bradley McDougald, 2 to Tim Biere and 32 to Daymond Patterson, who did it all himself. Taking the ball in the flat, Patterson broke loose from a pack of tacklers, then broke another tackle in the secondary and dived into the end zone for a 28-17 lead in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
Later in the fourth, a Kansas punt pinned the Yellow Jackets on their own 4. But Nesbitt, standing in his end zone, connected with Embry Peeples for a 46-yard gain and Stephen Hill, who earlier dropped a pass in the end zone, got open a moment later and hauled in Nesbitt's 40-yard pass. Hill also caught a pass for the 2-point conversion, making it 3-point game with 7:48 to go.
The Yellow Jackets went 51 yards in just six plays on their first possession. Nesbitt scored on a 9-yard run.
Starting on their own 40 because Georgia Tech's kickoff went out of bounds, the Jayhawks needed only seven plays to score their first TD of the season on McDougald's catch.
The Jayhawks took a 14-7 lead on the first play of the second quarter when Webb hit Biere with a 2-yard scoring pass.
Early in the third quarter, Chandler Anderson's 13-yard punt set up Kansas on the Yellow Jacket 28 and Sims sped 15 yards on a delayed handoff on third down before capping the drive with a 2-yard run for a 21-17 lead.
Patterson's score, which made it 28-17, came one play after Georgia Tech stopped Kansas on a third-and-16 play but a roughing the passer penalty on Brad Jefferson kept the Jayhawks drive alive.