Saturday’s 39-32 loss by No. 23 Kansas at Oklahoma State was one of those that could stick with a team for a long time.
After a rough start, the Jayhawks (5-2 overall, 2-2 Big 12) battled back and actually held the lead at halftime and for most of the second half. But a few late turnovers and an offense that came skidding to a halt kept the door cracked for the home team and the Cowboys did just enough to jump through it for the victory.
While the loss no doubt hurt and there were plenty of long faces in and around the KU locker room after it, there were still several players worth highlighting for their performance against the Pokes.
You’ve seen the tomahawks on the back of the Florida State helmets, the buckeye tree leaves on the Ohio State helmets and the paw prints on the back of the Clemson helmets.
These are your weekly Wheaties.
Each Monday, after every KU football game, we take one last look back at the game that was and hand out different amounts of the iconic breakfast cereal to the Jayhawks’ top performers.
So, be sure to come get your Monday morning Wheaties and feel free to hit up the comments section — subscribers only for now — with any players you feel we might’ve missed.
Picture on the box
• Senior quarterback Jason Bean — Bean struggled when it mattered most, with three consecutive drives in the second half ending with turnovers from his hands. But had it not been for his stellar play up to that point, the Jayhawks wouldn’t have even been in the game to begin with. When he threw his fifth touchdown of the day to give KU a 32-24 lead, it appeared as if the senior QB was headed for a record-breaking day. With 26 minutes of football still to play, Bean had thrown for 347 yards and 5 TDs. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, he didn’t add much to that the rest of the way, finishing with 410 yards and 5 TDs in the loss. Still, he threw some beautiful balls and played with all kinds of confidence until the wheels fell off.
A full bowl
• Junior wide receiver Trevor Wilson – That’s back-to-back-to-back weeks with a big-time explosive play for the veteran receiver, who followed up a long TD catch at Texas and a punt return TD vs. UCF with a huge touchdown catch early that helped KU settle down and get back in the game after a slow start. Wilson’s straight-line speed and competitiveness have played a huge role in his recent hot streak. And his teammates are clearly starting to both lean on him and trust him to deliver in the biggest moments of the games.
• Senior tight end Mason Fairchild – The veteran tight end enjoyed a breakout game on Saturday, catching his first two touchdowns of the season and adding 95 yards on 5 receptions. A huge part of Fairchild’s big day was OSU’s inability to cover the tight end — something that has plagued the Cowboys already this season. But Fairchild still made the big plays and a few others along the way, reminding folks of his big-play potential.
• The KU offensive line – A week after paving the way for 399 rushing yards, this group showed it can pass block, too, giving Bean enough time most of the day to put up the gaudy numbers he did. Now that they’ve shown some versatility in back-to-back weeks, with 400 yards on the ground one week and 400 through the air the next, it’ll be interesting to see if KU can put together four quarters of balanced offense when they take the field against the Sooners in two weeks.
• Junior safety O.J. Burroughs – Burroughs continued to show that he’s one of the surest tacklers on a team that all of a sudden is being plagued by missed tackles. All five of his stops were rock solid and put a quick end to an OSU gain. But by far his biggest tackle was the hustle play he made to keep OSU out of the end zone late in the game by chasing down a ball carrier from behind and tackling him short of the goal line. That play was the difference between 7 points and 3 points, as the Cowboys had to settle for a field goal. It didn’t wind up mattering in the end, but it certainly could have.
• Junior wide receiver Quentin Skinner – Skinner caught just two balls during Saturday’s offensive outburst, but both went for touchdowns on a combined 91 yards. The two TD grabs were the first of the year for Skinner, who provided Bean with a big, open target on a couple of big plays for the KU offense.
Drink the milk
• Junior running back Devin Neal – Neal’s final numbers won’t wow you, especially when you consider what you’re used to seeing from KU’s dynamic back. But they’re better than you might realize by looking at the box score. Neal tallied just 13 carries and gained 66 yards on them, good for a 5.1-yards-per-average clip. But on at least half of those carries, the junior running back willed his way to more yardage than it appeared was there, running through tackles and dragging defenders for an extra yard or two on a few separate occasions.
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