Kansas football welcomed Oklahoma to a sold-out David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium one last time as Big 12 conference foes. In a game with everything from weather delays to missed opportunities, Kansas found a way to beat Oklahoma for the first time since 1997.
The Jayhawks got off to a swift start with a 14-0 lead after Mello Dotson picked off Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel and returned it for a touchdown and a Daniel Hishaw Jr. touchdown run.
With all the momentum against them, Oklahoma was able to stay composed, construct a touchdown-scoring drive, and force a Kansas punt. While driving into Kansas’s territory, Oklahoma’s drive stalled when a lightning strike near the stadium led to an almost hour-long weather delay.
After the delay, the Sooner offense came out firing, finishing the drive they started pre-delay with a touchdown. With the game knotted at 14 and rain starting to come down, the Jayhawks fumbled the kickoff, giving the Sooners a short field.
The Sooners capitalized with another touchdown, making the score 21-14. The Jayhawks were able to head to halftime with some hope after quarterback Jason Bean and the offense put together a decent drive, ending in a Seth Keller field goal. The score was still in the Sooner’s favor, 21-17 entering the locker room.
The tale of the second half was missed opportunities to close the game for both teams. Kansas forced an Oklahoma punt and started the second half by scoring with another Keller field goal, pushing the score to 21-20, still in Oklahoma’s favor.
Kansas’ defense continued a great start to the second half by forcing an Oklahoma fumble in its territory. Bean would ride his team’s building momentum by faking out the entire Oklahoma defense on an option run and scoring a 38-yard touchdown rush. After the touchdown made the score 26-21, Kansas needed to go for two to go up by seven. Kansas failed the two-point try on an incomplete pass.
The Sooners kept their composure with momentum turned against them, countering with a 75-yard touchdown drive. After a failed two-point pass, the score stood at 27-26, Sooner’s advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Kansas countered back with a 65-yard scoring drive fueled by two Oklahoma penalties and a Hishaw Jr. touchdown rush. Hungry for a seven-point lead, Kansas tried another two-point pass attempt that ended in another incompletion. Another five-point Kansas lead 32-27.
Kansas was given its chance to put the game away after Oklahoma muffed the kickoff. With the ball in prime scoring position, Kansas walked away with no points after a Keller missed field goal.
After the missed field goal, Oklahoma was forced to punt. With the ball deep in its territory, Kansas looked to put the game away. Oklahoma was not ready to go home, forcing a Bean interception.
The Sooners took advantage of the short field, and Gabriel rushed in another touchdown for a one-point 33-32 lead. Sooners tried to push the lead to three but failed the two-point conversion.
With a chance to win the game, Kansas started driving toward Oklahoma territory. Bean dropped back to create something on third-down and long but threw his second fourth-quarter interception. The only hope left for the Jayhawks was their three timeouts.
When Kansas needed its defense, it came up huge, forcing the Sooners to punt after three straight runs to drain Kansas of its timeouts.
With the game on the line and all the momentum against him, Bean picked up the phone and answered it, leading his offense on an 80-yard touchdown drive. The drive included a clutch fourth-down conversion. Running back Devin Neal scored the 9-yard game-winning touchdown for the Jayhawks. After another failed two-point attempt, Kansas led 38-33 with 55 seconds left.
Kansas stuck to its identity and ran the ball but completed huge passes when needed. All four offensive touchdowns on the day came on the ground. Neal, Hishaw Jr., and Bean all found the endzone and racked up 225 yards on the ground.
Still, with enough time to score, the Sooner offense put themselves in a spot for one last desperation heave to the endzone. As Gabriel’s last pass fell incomplete, Kansas and an emotional Bean could feel the upset for good.
As fans rushed the field and tore down the goalposts, Kansas secured its first home win over a top-10 opponent since 1984 and bowl eligibility. This instant classic of a game defined the improvement of Kansas football over the past few seasons. This 38-33 over a top-10 team win proves it’s a new era for Kansas football.
The 6-2 bowl-eligible Jayhawks will travel to Ames to take on Iowa State next week. The game will kick off at 6 p.m. central time and broadcast on ESPN.