John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
The Kansas Jayhawks put together a late game rally and stood on the doorstep of a potential upset bid over Oklahoma State before falling short.
The Kansas Jayhawks hosted the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday afternoon in Lawrence and heading into this one it wasn't expected to be much of a contest. The Cowboys were more than a three touchdown favorite and Kansas was coming off of a big loss to the Kansas State Wildcats. The great news for Kansas is that this one played out much differently.
It wasn't a season defining win, it wasn't even a win, but this Oklahoma State program could have hung 70 points on Kansas in the first half of last season's game and just one year later Kansas had a chance to potentially pull an upset late. This was the type of play that everyone wanted to see in year two under Turner Gill. Wins and losses weren't necessarily going to be the determining factor, but improvement and competitiveness of the team would. While there have been ups and downs and there are sure to be more, this was a game that showed a little bit of both of those things. Improvement throughout the season, competitiveness on Saturday. Kansas gave a glimpse of both of those things.
Now granted it wasn't a win and the rally should be met with some level of guarded optimism, but let's be honest here, this game was expected to be a blowout. Oklahoma State is the highest scoring offense in the country and everyone associated with that program was planning on hanging 50 on Kansas while daring Dayne Crist to keep up. That probably wouldn't have happened. Instead the Jayhawks slowed Joe Randle, contained the Cowboy passing attack and a quarterback change in the 4th quarter gave new life to an offense that finished a pair of drives and fell short on a third.
It was fun again, Kansas wasn't getting steamrolled and the Jayhawks fought hard for four quarters of football. While there are still more questions than answers, Kansas saw some of those signs of improvement that are a must in the complete rebuilding process. Things don't get any easier in the coming weeks, but in a Big 12 Conference that is full of surprises, the Kansas team that took the field yesterday might actually be able to be a part of one of those in the coming weeks.