STILLWATER (MCT) - Strange as it sounds, a road to the national title game may run through Kansas.
The Jayhawks, the only unbeaten major college football team left on the mainland, defeated Oklahoma State, 43-28, on Saturday night to improve to 10-0.
Quarterback Todd Reesing threw three touchdown passes to Marcus Henry and led a key fourth-quarter drive.
10-0 is pretty good, Kansas coach Mark Mangino told ABC-TV immediately after the game. We just need to keep going now.
Kansas had seen a 19-point lead trimmed to 33-28, and a raucous crowd of 39,848 at Boone Pickens Stadium was sensing an upset over the fourth-ranked team in the Bowl Championship Series.
Reesing, a sophomore from Austin, calmly led Kansas on an 11-play, 89-yard drive that consumed nearly five minutes. He bought extra time in the red zone before finding Henry (eight catches, 199 yards) on a 4-yard pass.
Still, the win wasn't assured until Oklahoma State came up short on fourth down with three minutes remaining in the game.
Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson finished with 366 yards of total offense, throwing for two touchdowns and running for a third. The Cowboys fell to 5-5 overall and 3-3 in the Big 12.
Kansas improved to 6-0 in the Big 12.
The game was billed as a meeting of two top-10 offenses.
No one told the Kansas defense, which entered the game ranked seventh nationally and still remembering the 42 points it allowed to the Cowboys in a loss last season.
The Jayhawks didn't shut down OSU, but they held the Cowboys under their averages in points and yards, which was enough.
That's been the theme throughout the season.
Kansas is accomplishing things that the program hasn't seen this century, or even the last one.
The last time the Jayhawks were 10-0 was 1899, when the Kansas basketball coach was Dr. James Naismith and William McKinley was in the White House.
Next week, Kansas faces Iowa State and then closes the regular season against once beaten Missouri, a historic rival, at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium. Two consecutive wins to close the season along with a victory in the Big 12 championship game probably would be enough to vault the Jayhawks into the top two in the Bowl Championship Series.
No. 1 Ohio State lost Saturday, leaving Kansas and Hawaii as the only undefeated teams in the Bowl Subdivision. Hawaii played Fresno State in a late game Saturday.
The Jayhawks' initial success was met with skepticism because of a soft non-conference schedule and a Big 12 slate that avoids Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech.
But Kansas may have made a statement against an Oklahoma State team that built a 21-point lead against Texas last week.
The 5-10 Reesing (27-of-40, 308 yards passing) was efficient running the spread offense.
On Kansas' first touchdown, Reesing first looked right before going through his reads and finding Henry in the left corner of the end zone.
Later, he showed his mobility. Reesing eluded two would-be tacklers before finding South Oak Cliff product Dexton Fields for a 34-yard gain, setting up a Scott Webb field goal.
Reesing had help, from what Mangino has called an ensemble cast.
Punishing running back Brandon McAnderson ran for 142 yards and scored twice.
Defensive back Aqib Talib of Richardson Berkner helped seal the win with a fourth-quarter interception.