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Dawg Review: Kansas Jayhawks Upsets #10 Sooners 38-33



A cold and rainy day in Lawrence, Kansas brought upon perhaps one of the most exciting college football matchups this year so far. The Kansas Jayhawks welcomed the mighty Oklahoma Sooners to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium for their homecoming weekend and showed that their recent successes have been no fluke. They proved that they're here to contend for a Big 12 title by winning one of the wildest games of the season thus far. Let's break it down.



Game Summary

In a back-and-forth game that saw Kansas come out with a fast start, going up 14-0 off a Mello Dotson pick-6 and a 9-yard run by Daniel Hinshaw. After getting punched in the mouth, the Sooners would answer back with a score of their own, and the race was on...until the rain delay postponed the rest of the game an hour or midway in the second quarter. After the rain delay, Oklahoma would score another touchdown to tie it and force a fumble on the ensuing kickoff giving them great field position. They would capitalize and take the lead into halftime after Kansas answered with a field goal to make it 21-17. This is where it got really, really weird. After Kansas got a stop to start the half and kicked a field goal to get within one, you could feel that this game was going to be back and forth unless the Sooners scored here and kept the wagon rolling, putting away this Jayhawk team like they were supposed to. Unfortunately for them, Jalil Farooq would run a reverse straight into a crowd of Jayhawks and get crushed by Kansas linebacker JB Brown, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Kansas. The ensuing offensive possession would see Jason Bean take it 38 yards on a read option to score a touchdown to go up 5. Back and forth this game would go, neither team wanting to take control, that is until Oklahoma would pick off Jason Bean a second time with 2:29 left. This seemingly sealed it for the Sooners, if they were to get a first down against this weak Kansas defense then that would do it. They would only go backward though and would be forced to punt. Kansas had a second chance to take the lead and they would seize it. Kansas would drive down the field and score a touchdown with 55 seconds left, the drive being kept alive by a Jason Bean throw to Lawrence Arnold to convert on fourth down. This did leave Oklahoma time to perhaps put a game-winning drive together though, they had two timeouts left and Dillon Gabriel at the helm. However, it was not to be. After completing a 40-yard bomb with about 17 seconds left, Gabriel would throw another 4-yard pass before throwing a ball out of the back of the endzone to end the game.


Turning Point of the Game

The true turning point of this game came late, as both teams slugged it out throughout this matchup. Give and take throughout the game, someone had to get an edge at some point, and it could have been the Ethan Downs interception with 2:29 left. However, Oklahoma didn't capitalize, which left Kansas the opportunity to have a second chance at winning this. As said in the previous section, that's exactly what they did, but what specific play was the true point where things turned in Kansas's favor? Hint: It wasn't the Devin Neal touchdown. On 4th and 6th, it was the Jayhawks' last shot at keeping this game alive for them. Given Jason Bean's struggles in the last two offensive drives, trusting him didn't seem logical to most, but that's exactly what Lance Leipold did, and he delivered. Bean would lob a ball to a wide-open Lawrence Arnold where he not only gained enough for the first, but gained 37 yards and put Kansas deep into the red zone. Neal would punch it in and the Kansas defense would hold to win.



Kansas Jayhawks Player of the Game: Devin Neal

"Real Deal Devin Neal", as he is called, gets the nod for not just Kansas MVP, but game MVP as well. Neal rushed for 112 yards off 25 carries, averaging 4.5 yards and scoring a game-winning touchdown. Neal showed that he is not only one of the marquee players on this team, but the heart, soul, and spirit of this team as well. Neal wanted to be at Kansas because he wanted to turn around this team that was a perennial bottom-feeder of college football. He's a Lawrence, Kansas native who loves the city and the university, and a guy who can lead exceptionally well. He showed poise even when Kansas was down and flexed his All-Conference talent. This may not have been his best performance this year, but it was perhaps his most important.



Oklahoma Sooners Player of the Game: Tawee Walker

Dillon Gabriel leads the stats column for the Sooners, as he should be their best player, but this was far from his best performance of the season. A QBR of 60.1, throwing for under 200 yards, and throwing a pick-6 on the opening drive for OU left a lot to be desired, and this game will be a learning experience for him. Tawee Walker though excelled tremendously after being thrust into the starting back role with Marcus Major being out, going for 146 yards off 23 carries and a touchdown, averaging a whopping 6.3 yards a carry. He punished this Kansas defense and had defenders all but sliding off him throughout the game. He showed the next-man-up mentality and may have cemented potential RB1 status for the rest of this season with his performance this game.



Conclusion

This win has put Kansas into the conversation for potential Big 12 title contender, and that's even with starting quarterback Jalon Daniels being out for most of the year. This also is Kansas's first win over Oklahoma since 1997, their first home win over a top-10 team since 1984, and their first regular-season win over a top-10 team since then as well. With Daniels though, in all likelihood, coming back for the Iowa State contest in Ames, Kansas could easily get better and put themselves into as best of a position as they can be for title contention. They may need help and can't have any duds, but with how the Big 12 is playing out right now, it's anyone's guess as to who will be in Arlington come December. As for Oklahoma, this loss puts a huge dent into their College Football Playoff hopes. They will need to win out and win the Big 12 title to even be considered and will need to do it convincingly. With Bedlam coming next week as well as potential trap games in West Virginia and BYU, that may be easier said than done. When all is said and done, the Big 12 is wide open, this game just proves it.


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