KU stuns Cyclones in OT to become bowl eligible

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Iowa State had a chance to wipe away the bitter memory of last season's missed opportunity. Instead, the Cyclones let a berth in the Big 12 title game slip away in overtime again.

Last year Missouri beat Iowa State to prevent the Cyclones from playing in the league championship game for the first time.

This year it was Kansas.

The Cyclones wasted an 11-point lead and missed a field goal in overtime before watching Scott Webb kick a 34-yarder to give the Jayhawks a 24-21 victory Saturday that makes them bowl eligible and sends Colorado to Houston next weekend to meet No. 2 Texas for the Big 12 championship.

"It's rare in life to get second opportunities," Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. "Sometimes you wait 10, 15, 20 or 30 years and don't get another opportunity like we did today, coming up short like we did last year in overtime. We had that opportunity

today again in overtime, but again we came up short."

Colorado (7-4, 5-3 Big 12) will trudge into next week's matchup with the unbeaten Longhorns, coming off a 30-3 loss to Nebraska on Friday. That gave Iowa State (7-4, 4-4) a chance to tie Colorado for the North title. The Cyclones would have gone to the

championship game because of beating the Buffs in the regular season.

Before Webb kicked his game-winner, Iowa State's Bret Culbertson missed from 41 yards in overtime. Culbertson missed a field goal last year that would have beaten Missouri in regulation.

"I was hoping to make up for last year," Culbertson said. "But it [stinks] to let your team down again. I just missed the kick."

The Cyclones, who tied Colorado for the North title last year but lost to the Buffs in the regular season, missed an opportunity to play for their first outright conference championship in 114 years of football.

The Cyclones entered last year's regular-season finale in the same position, needing to beat Missouri. But they lost 17-14 after Culbertson missed a 24-yard field-goal attempt in the final seconds of regulation, and Iowa State then couldn't convert in overtime on

first-and-goal from the 3.

Iowa State rallied to send the game into OT last season. This time, it was the Jayhawks (6-5, 3-5) who came from behind late with the help of a second-string quarterback.

After kicking his third field goal of the day, Webb was mobbed by teammates and fans.

"That's what I dream about every night. I finally got to do it," he said. "That's the best feeling in the world right there. It's unbelievable. Having everyone coming out of the stands and having your teammates celebrating with you -- that's why people play sports, to have that kind of feeling right there."

Bret Meyer threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns for Iowa State, which was also going for a school-record fifth consecutive conference win.

Meyer hit Todd Blythe for 38 yards and Austin Flynn for 17 to set up Ryan Kock's 1-yard TD plunge with 8:41 left, putting the Cyclones ahead 21-14.

Blythe also had his school-record 16th TD catch.

Kansas failed on fourth-and-14 a few minutes later but forced a quick Iowa State punt and then drove 58 yards in four plays, with Brian Luke connecting with Dexton Fields for a 15-yard TD pass to tie it 21 with 1:05 left.

Luke, a senior who lost his starting job in October, was 9-for-12 for 82 yards and a TD after replacing the injured Jason Swanson.

"It hasn't been easy by any stretch," Luke said. "To end like this is something special."

Kansas, trailing 14-3, got a 33-yard field goal from Webb in the third period and then won a review of a fourth-and-goal plunge which was originally ruled no touchdown.

As the Iowa State players danced off the field, the replay official looked at the play and decided that Luke had indeed gotten in on a 1-yard sneak.

Luke then hit tight end Derek Fine with the two-point conversion, knotting the score at 14 with 11:28 left.

After starting the conference season 0-3 -- and becoming the first Big 12 team to lose at home to Baylor -- the Cyclones had reeled off four straight wins.

Meyer, while breaking the school record for consecutive passes without an interception, threw touchdown tosses to Jon Davis and Blythe to give the Cyclones a 14-3 halftime lead in a stadium where Kansas wound up 6-0 for the year, their first unbeaten home mark since 1951.

"I feel terrible for these kids," McCarney said.