Stillwater, Oklahoma — The 23rd-ranked Kansas Jayhawks missed out on a golden opportunity to pick up their first win at Oklahoma State since 1995, falling 39-32 at Boone Pickens Stadium after a rough second-half that was only outdone by their slow start.
The Jayhawks dug themselves a 14-0 hole after a sluggish first 10 minutes or so. But after crawling out of that, Kansas took control of the game and actually led at halftime (25-24) and heading into the fourth quarter (32-27).
Disaster struck late, though, as quarterback Jason Bean ended three consecutive Kansas drives with turnovers, giving Oklahoma State late hope and keeping Kansas from putting the game away.
OSU took the lead for good with 2:33 to play and KU could not mount a comeback on the ensuing drive.
The loss dropped Kansas to 5-2 on the season and 2-2 in Big 12 play. It also gave Oklahoma State a Sunflower State sweep and improved the Cowboys to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in Big 12 play.
The Jayhawks will take the sour taste into their bye week and then will play host to unbeaten Oklahoma at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Oct. 28.
Here’s a look at some of the Moments that Popped from Saturday’s wild and crazy game at Boone Pickens Stadium.
• Bean bounce-back: After misfiring badly on a third-down throw to Mason Fairchild early in the first quarter, KU QB Jason Bean responded by completing his next 10 passes and racking up a monster showing in the first half on his way to a career game. It was a slow start for the Jayhawks and Bean, but once they got going, they put up big numbers in a hurry. By game’s end, Bean had five touchdown passes and 410 yards passing. Unfortuantely for him and the Jayhawks, he also turned the ball over three times and was sacked four times.
• Wilson on a roll: Make that three weeks in a row now that KU wideout Trevor Wilson has made a big play. After a long touchdown grab against Texas and a punt-return TD last week against UCF, Wilson got the Jayhawks on the board in this one with a 44-yard touchdown grab that settled the Jayhawks down and cut a 14-0 deficit to a more manageable 14-7. Wilson’s speed and fearless nature give him game-breaking potential. And, for the first time in his KU career, he appears to be comfortable in just about everything he’s doing. “We brought him in to make those kinds of plays,” Bean said of Wilson. “He’s had a rough couple years, on and off the field, and I just love the way he has fought back and continued to make plays and continued to keep his head down and continued to work. I’ll forever thank him for that.”
• Fairchild, Skinner find the end zone: KU tight end Mason Fairchild had a monster day, catching five balls for 95 yards and 2 TDs. He also was targeted a team-high nine times and came up with some tough catches in traffic for the KU offense. The two TDs were the first of the year for Fairchild, who earned second-team all-Big 12 honors last season. KU wideout Quentin Skinner also scored his first and second touchdowns of the season on Saturday, finishing with 2 catches for 91 yards, both of them ending in the end zone.
• Jared Casey’s fire: It won’t look like much on the stat sheet. And it might not have meant much to the outcome. But, at the time it happened, tight end Jared Casey’s big time grab to convert a third down on KU’s first touchdown drive was massive. Not only did he make a tough catch on a ball thrown a touch high by Jason Bean, but he also flashed a fair amount of fire and passion after being knocked out of bounds.
• First Quarter woes: The way the KU defense started in this one reminded me a lot of how things went early on in the 2022 season, when Kansas kept digging big holes early and finding a way to crawl out of them. KU surrendered 224 yards of offense in the first quarter alone, putting the Cowboys on pace for 896 total yards. The Jayhawks were a step slow to the ball, failed to break down and flat-out missed coverages in the game’s first quarter. But they found a way to smooth the waters and then started rolling. Those bounce-backs in 2022 were with Jalon Daniels at QB, and I had my doubts about whether the same thing would happen with Jason Bean in charge of the offense. But, clearly, Bean was up to the challenge as he delivered by far the best game of his Kansas career and made it look easy.
• PAT problems: For the second week in a row, the Kansas special teams had issues in the kicking game on extra points. After botching a hold last week, which led to a 2-point return by UCF, the Jayhawks misfired on three extra points in the first half of Saturday’s game in Stillwater. Only two of them truly hurt — the second was blocked and the third was a botched hold while there was an offsides call on the first — but it’s clearly not ideal to be having those kinds of issues midway through the season. The shaky play on the point-after-tries encouraged KU to go for 2 after jumping ahead 25-24, and Kansas misfired on the two-point pass. That meant KU had three fewer points than it should’ve had if the kicks were automatic like they are most weeks for most teams. That discrepancy looked awfully big in the fourth quarter, though, when the Cowboys mounted their comeback and Kansas
• No flag?: With Kansas leading by 2 and facing a 4th-and-5 play inside OSU territory late in the fourth quarter, the Jayhawks elected to go for it rather than try the long field goal or punt. With Bean in the shotgun, it certainly looked like at least one or two OSU players jumped the gun on the snap but there was no flag for offsides. Bean fumbled — his third turnover in a row — and OSU took over at midfield. Nine plays later, the Cowboys crossed the goal line with the game-winning touchdown. After the play — and even while it was still live — KU coach Lance Leipold went nuts on the sideline, asking any official he could get near why there was no flag on the play. More on that in a bit.
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