Homecoming is supposed to be a happy occasion full of returning alumni and joyous festivities. Everyone was hoping this weekend of fun would be capped off by a Jayhawk upset win over the visiting Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Early on, it seemed as though those hopes may be realized, as the Jayhawks kept things close and actually lead most of the first half. However, the second half changed everyone’s mindset. The Jayhawks lost their 6th straight game, falling to Oklahoma State 44-20.
The game began on a positive note for KU. The Jayhawks kept the Cowboys off the board early, contained the Ok St. offense, and even caused quarterback Mason Rudolph to fumble the ball on a sack, which KU turned into 7 points on the very next play with a 68-yard touchdown pass from Montell Cozart to LaQuvionte Gonzalez. The Jayhawks maintained most of that momentum throughout the first half, and only trailed 17-13 at halftime. They seemed to be in prime position to pull off the upset. Then the 3rd quarter happened.
The Jayhawks had played a clean first half with no turnovers, but that all changed on the first possession of the 3rd quarter. Running back Ke’aun Kinner fumbled the ball which led to an Oklahoma State touchdown. Quarterback Montell Cozart would then proceed to throw 2 interceptions in the quarter, including an absolutely insane sequence where Oklahoma State intercepted a ball that bounced off Gonzalez’s shoulder pad into a defender’s hands, with the Cowboys then proceeding to use 3 laterals to move the ball down to the Kansas 16-yard line.
Overall, KU played a fairly solid game defensively. They were especially strong through the air, limiting Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph to 16-24 passing for 220 yards and a touchdown. The opposing rushing attack once again proved to be a big factor, however, as the Cowboys ran for 230 yards and 4 touchdowns including 162 yards and a score from freshman back Justice Hill.
The defense did everything they could to keep KU in this game, but in the end it was the inability of the KU offense to protect the football and sustain drives that led to their downfall. KU did have a season high with 204 rushing yards, including a season high 145 from Kinner, but that was overshadowed by heavily inconsistent quarterback play for the 3rd straight week. In the last 3 games, KU quarterbacks have committed 10 turnovers. That just cannot continue if the Jayhawks wish to take a step forward in their development.
The Jayhawks head to Norman next weekend to take on the Oklahoma Sooners and will get another chance to break their 8-year road losing streak.