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Dawg review: Oklahoma State Tops Kansas Jayhawks 39-32



The Kansas Jayhawks traveled to Stillwater to face off against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. After trouncing UCF at home, Kansas was looking to keep the momentum going and come home with the win that would make them bowl-eligible back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2007-2008. Oklahoma State, however, would also be playing with a chip on their shoulder. After a slow start to the season and hitting the low point thus far losing to South Alabama at home 33-6, the Cowboys notched their first conference win over Kansas State the previous week 29-21, and were looking to put themselves back into the driver's seat for this season. That would come with another win over a Kansas school, let's look at how it all went down.


Game Summary:

This game turned out to be a slugfest from start to finish. A classic, high-scoring Big 12 matchup that wasn't decided until the very end. Oklahoma State would start out strong going up 14-0 in the first half, but Kansas would answer quickly, going up 25-24 to end a very entertaining half of football. Kansas would receive the ball to start the 2nd half, and after scoring a touchdown off an 8-play, 75-yard drive to open the half and go up 32-24, it seemed like Kansas had control of this one and would just need to put up one to two more scores or get a few stops to seal it. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, neither of those two things happened. The final 4 Kansas offensive possessions would result in 2 interceptions and 2 turnovers on downs, while Oklahoma State put up 3 field goals and a touchdown to eventually take the game back from Kansas and keep it for the win. The normally stellar Kansas run game was stifled by a strong Cowboy front, only allowing 90 yards rushing and zero scores from the unit. The passing game would be the thing that kept Kansas in it, with Jason Bean throwing for 5 touchdowns and 410 yards. Oklahoma State put up big rushing numbers on their own to add insult to injury for this Kansas run game, racking up 218 yards of total rushing and 2 scores. In total, Kansas would finish with 500 yards of total offense while Oklahoma State would finish with 554 yards in what will go down as an offensive shootout between two veterans of the Big 12.


The (Controversial) Turning Point of the Game

Kansas was stifled on offense due to a couple of poor decisions by Jason Bean and the Kansas offensive coaching staff. Two interceptions on back-to-back drives hurt this team, but not as much as they could have, Kansas still had the lead at this point and the defense held the Cowboys to a field goal attempt that was missed by Alex Hale even when starting deep in Kansas territory. All the Jayhawks really had to do was score a touchdown to go up two possessions and potentially put this game on ice. It seemed like that would be the case as Kansas was driving hard after gaining back some momentum. Devin Neal would start the drive off with a gain of 23 to the 50-yard line followed by a Jason Bean pass to Trevor Kardell for 20 more yards. However, after Bean hit Kardell for a big gain, Kansas was flagged for unnecessary roughness...on the wrong guy. Devin Neal was flagged for Luke Grimm committing the penalty, and even then the flag was still controversial as it looked like Grimm was just finishing a block. Nonetheless, the Jayhawks were still at the Cowboy 45 and driving. They would run the ball for 6 yards before being faced with a 3rd down, where they tried to run the ball again to no gain. Kansas would face a 4th and 5 where if they converted they could run down the clock and keep the momentum. With this offense, 4th and 5 almost seem more manageable than 4th and inches, so the Jayhawks were in a good spot. However, a potential early jump was not called on the Cowboys causing a jailbreak up front. Jason Bean was sacked for an 8-yard loss and a fumble recovered by Kansas, but with it being 4th down the ball went back to the Cowboys, where they scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive to gain the lead they would never give back.



Kansas Jayhawks Player of the Game: Jason Bean

With the Kansas rushing unit being completely stifled this game, the onus fell onto either the defense or the passing game to step up for the Jayhawks. Seeing that the Jayhawk defense could not make a stop, letting up a 14-0 lead early and being bit by the big play bug too many times, this left quarterback Jason Bean in a tough spot. Bean, the backup to Jalon Daniels, has had some confidence and decision-making issues in the past when thrust into the role of starter. In the Texas game, Bean floundered because of the short notice he had of being the starter, while in the UCF game, he wasn't good, but certainly wasn't bad. It was time for him to make a statement and show that he could be a good quarterback, and for about 3 quarters he did. Bean threw for 410 yards and 5 touchdowns, a career-high, and almost won the game if it weren't for questionable play-calling and one or two poor decisions. Overall, an excellent performance from a guy that catches a lot of flack from Kansas fans and non-Kansas fans alike, a performance that will hopefully get some people to leave him alone and/or trust in him going forward should Jalon Daniels be out for much longer.


Oklahoma State Player of the Game: Ollie Gordon II

As stated in the preview that you can find here, the Cowboys would have to exploit a weak Kansas run defense to give themselves an edge in this game. With Ollie Gordon II having some excellent performances the past few games, feeding him and allowing him to exploit the holes left by this Kansas defense would be to their benefit, and allowing Gordon II to run all over the Jayhawks is exactly what the Cowboys did here. Gordon II rushed for 168 yards on 29 carries and 1 touchdown, averaging 5.8 yards per touch. He would also have 6 receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown, guaranteeing his spot as not only team MVP, but game MVP by showing his dual-threat ability and dominating this Kansas defense. Once again, Gordon II had a game-changing performance and is quickly rising in the ranks of top Big 12 running backs. It will be interesting to see his stat lines from here on out, be on the watch folks, we may see a dark horse Doak Walker competitor here if he continues to be on this tear...



Conclusion

Kansas will head into a bye week licking their wounds after dropping an easily winnable and overall frustrating game. They will look to get this defense right, the playcalling more down pat, and to hopefully, get Jalon Daniels healthy so that he can prove why he was selected as Big 12 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. This being said, his back issues may hinder that given the unpredictability of said injuries, the Jayhawk faithful can only hope he can heal up to be the best that he can be. They'll need it when Oklahoma comes to Lawrence the week after this week's bye. The Cowboys will go on to face another surprising Big 12 team in the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown, a matchup that is sure to bring fireworks once again and determine the outlook of these two Big 12 teams on the near cusp of bowl eligibility. While they may have started off slow, the Cowboys have been on a tear as of late and will look to continue that streak into a respectable record worthy of going bowling.

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