Heading into Saturday nights game there weren't many with high expectations for Kansas. The Jayhawks were playing host to the Oklahoma Sooners, one of the top teams in the nation, and Kansas has had more than a few struggles over the last several weeks. The bad news is that Kansas still lost. The good news is that despite that loss, there were a lot of positives to be taken away from the Jayhawks performance against the Sooners.
Just one week ago Kansas trailed 56-7 at halftime. This week the Jayhawks faced a team that is arguably more balanced in Oklahoma and throughout the game Kansas kept things closer than expected. Perhaps the better news is that much of that was a direct result of a little more fire coming out of the Kansas Jayhawks on the defensive side of the ball.
A 27-17 halftime deficit felt like a bit of a moral victory and a 3rd quarter effort where Kansas limited the Sooners to just a field goal had that same feel. At the end of the day moral victories are still losses and this might be an indication of how far expectations have fallen. The fact is that Sooners still put up some huge numbers, but things have been ugly in Lawrence and putting together a game with MORE competitiveness and having a team take the field with a little fire is a nice start. Now the important thing is putting that type of effort together on a weekly basis.
The good? The Kansas defense showed quite a bit of fire in this one. Kansas made three different red zone stands and forced three turnovers including one inside the redzone. I'm going to say that last part again, Kansas forced THREE turnovers. Another positive was the Kansas freshman class which showed why Turner Gill's recruiting has everyone wanting to believe. Colin Garrett, Michael Reynolds and Victor Simmons all contributed on the defensive side of the ball while Darrian Miller is making a strong argument for featured back type carries. In all reality he's probably getting them and he deserves them.
The not so good? Offensively Kansas struggled in a big way throughout the second half and the play calling seemed rather unimaginative, similar to what we saw most of last year. Without question some of that can be attributed to the talent and quality of Oklahoma's defense but the Kansas defense did enough to provide an opportunity and Kansas didn't seem to seize that opportunity on the offensive side of the ball. Jordan Webb also had what was probably his worst game of the season missing multiple third down throws and looking off most of the night. The performance was a bit discouraging but he's still had a very solid season to date and some of the struggle tonight has to be credited to the Oklahoma defense.
Final score in this one, Kansas loses to Oklahoma 47-17. It wasn't all good, but it wasn't all bad either and that's a good thing to be able to say after what has been a long last few weeks. Not to mention someone, somewhere, lost money betting against Kansas for the first time in several weeks. Small victories.