First of all - I GUARANTEE that if anyone had said Kansas would be within one score of Oklahoma with ten minutes left to play in the game, every single one of us would have taken that right then and there, and called it good.
That said, if four specific plays go our way, I think Kansas wins. Three of these were as a result of (perceived) bad officiating. More on this later.
I do NOT ever, EVER believe that officiating wins or loses a game. EVER. I'm not one to blame the refs. What am I, a K-State basketball fan? Um, no. I AM saying the officiating on three plays cost us a chance to win. But that's as far as I can go. More on this later as well.
I will say today's game did not go as expected. I think most expected OU to roll in here, pick up a win, and fly home happy. I think the only think OU is happy about is escaping Lawrence with a win. Let's hit it.
BEAUTIFUL day in Lawrence, KS. The sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky. The temperature is a bit brisk... upper 50s, it may have reached into the lower 60s, I'm not sure. So long as you stay in the sun, you're golden. In full disclosure - I did try and sell my tickets before the game. Not sure what the scalping laws are in Lawrence - I'm guessing it's illegal on campus at the very least. In 30 mins, I had one offer for $20. For two tickets. Ridiculous, I said. Good luck, he said. I went into the game myself, with plenty of space (since I had two tickets). I get to my seat in Section 4 just as the teams are gathering at midfield for the coin toss. I see Heeney in shorts and Pierson not in pads. Turzilli is wearing some sort of boot on his right foot. Hard to see, but here's a pic - look just to the right of the cone in the middle of the pic.
I have resolved to do my best keep a count of how many times I hear "Boomer Sooner" from the OU pep band. Since I wasn't inside the stadium for any of the pregame festivities, I'll start at kickoff. The over/under is 28, or 7 times per quarter. Place your bets now.
Oh, looks like Bob Stoops bought some new pants or something. You know, cuz Mack Brown pantsed him last weekend. ANYWAY...
On to the game.
Damn, those Rock Chalk Dancers are cute. Whew. Is it hot here? Nope, it's just them. That probably makes me some kind of old creeper (I'm 33), but I don't really care. Here was my view...
Wait, there's a football game going on, right??? Oh yeah. Kansas has not won the toss all year. Until today... we defer. OU receives. Kansas defense has not allowed an opponent to score on the first possession yet this year. This holds true again today - OU gets a first down, but then punts. Kansas rumbles down the field and scores first! Rock Chalk! Alright alright alright. Here we go. Man, James Sims is running like he's really, REALLY pissed off. I like having a fullback in to help block, too. Then, toward the end of the quarter, Kansas covers an Oklahoma fumble. I don't know who started at Left Tackle for KU, but they're pissing me off. He's been beat three times already. Kansas hanging on to the momentum and the ball, End of one quarter, KU 7, Oklahoma 0.
Kansas turns the OU fumble into 6 points, but the extra point clangs off the upright. Oh well I guess. Can we keep this from turning into a repeat of Texas Tech? Oklahoma punts on their next possession, but KU is down on their own 3. KU gets out of the shadow of the end zone, but ends up punting it back. Seems like OU has had great field possession so far, and just hasn't taken advantage.
This time, however, OU drives down and scores - with a little help. On third and nine near midfield, OU throws deep, intercepted by KU. Nice runback - late hit by Oklahoma out of bounds!! There's some laundry on the field... but it's waaaay back by where the interception occurred. Pass interference, on the defense. No call for unsportsmanlike conduct on OU. Replay in the stadium did not show any pass interference. The fans are NOT happy. OU scores shortly afterward. On the next KU possession (with Montell Cozart in for his first action as a KU QB), on the first play from scrimmage, a nice run on first down is called back by holding. Again, replay in the stadium showed no apparent holding. Two plays later, KU is attempting a punt, which gets blocked, but, Pardula is able to re-kick the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety. It's starting to feel like Texas Tech all over. OU with momentum, Kansas stumbling.
OU scores on the NEXT PLAY after the free kick and takes the lead for the first time with 4:24 left in the first half. A KU punt and an OU field goal wrap up the first half - Kansas 13, Oklahoma 18. Fans are feeling the biggest screw-job since "Dollar Signs," as flags led directly to 8 Oklahoma points (with an argument that can be made that the flags led to 15 OU points).
Ok, so it's not as bad as the Tech game. Maybe we have a chance. Maybe? Boomer Sooner count is at 13.
KU receives. Three and out. Left Tackle misses another block again on third and six leading to the Jake Heaps sack. Why are we trying to do the same things as in the first half? Are we not smart enough to figure that Oklahoma would make halftime adjustments? Argh. KU's first play on defense in the second half turns out much better than last week. OU still goes down the field on their opening possession to open up a two score lead with another touchdown. OU seems to dominate the ball in the 3Q (I haven't looked up time of possession by quarter). I'm pretty sure KU gained only about 20 total yards in the third quarter. After 3Q, Kansas 13, Oklahoma 25.
Kansas offense has stalled out. Can't go anywhere. At least the defense is hanging tough. Kansas blocks an OU punt, and on the next play, James Sims scores from six yards out. KU is only down 6 with ten minutes left! Momentum is short-lived, however, as OU blocks the KU PAT and runs it all the way back for two points of their own. KU is still within one score, but it feels like a lot more.
OU receives the Kansas kickoff and... what is this? Is OU running clock? Against KANSAS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Yes, yes indeed. OU is running clock. In a way, this is a good thing - it means they're worried they could actually lose this game. Oklahoma methodically marches down the field only needing to convert one third down while burning six minutes, and takes a two score lead again. Kansas fails to get a first down, and OU runs out the clock.
Final Score: Kansas 19, Oklahoma 34
Final Boomer Sooner count: 21. I know, crazy right? I hope you had the under. Even if I missed a couple, the under still gets it. I was totally thinking the over was the easy money.
We saw some Montell Cozart today. I'm not sure we saw enough to make a determination as to whether or not he can help us the rest of the year. I'll reserve judgment, but as of now, looks like we may have wasted a redshirt. Hopefully they keep playing him so we can see what we have there. However, the offense as a whole was underwhelming again, especially after the first quarter. I'm not sure why/how we're able to get these early leads and then do nothing the rest of the game. It has to be coaching... right?
Also, I want to say this again... I REALLY like having the fullback in on offense. I feel like it really helped Sims out today. Sims looked like the beast he was last year, rumbling for well over 100 yards and two TDs.
Also worth of being mentioned again... I haven't bothered to look up the name, cuz I'm still pretty upset about his performance, but our Left Tackle got smoked all game long, especially on passing plays. The rest of the O-Line seemed to do pretty well from what I could tell.
We saw Kansas win the turnover battle again, 2-0. In all fairness, OU did have two drops on defense that really should have been interceptions. Kansas also dropped another potential interception - I can't remember when, though. Defense has been a bright spot so far this year.
Uh... I'm just gonna say, "not good." A missed PAT, a blocked punt for a safety, and a blocked PAT returned for a safety. Even when the punts got in the air, they didn't look good and didn't travel very far (with the exception of one that I can recall). No punt returns to speak of. No kickoff returns to speak of. In the words of the great philosopher Charles Barkley - "turrible."
We had a chance to win. I'm even gonna say (and said earlier in this write-up) that Oklahoma seemed a bit worried about the possible outcome of the game in the fourth quarter. For a team like Kansas to beat a team like Oklahoma, everything has to go right. Unfortunately, that didn't happen today. Four plays in particular stood out. If even two of these plays turn out differently, dare I say Kansas wins? If all four go our way, I say we definitely win.
1. Officiating - Pass interference on Kansas on third and 9 for OU (and no-call of unsportsmanlike conduct after the INT) in the second quarter. From the replays in the stadium, you could not see any pass interference. It also looked like the ball was uncatchable for the OU receiver. OU takes advantage four plays later with a touchdown. Fans begin discussing the "Dollar Signs" game.
2. Officiating - Holding on Kansas on the next drive after the first OU touchdown. The first-down play play went for eight or nine yards. Again, replays on in the stadium showed no obvious holding. Instead, KU has first and 20, ends up punting, but the punt gets blocked, OU safety. OU scores on the next play following the free kick on a WR reverse pass.
3. Bad play - OU returns a blocked PAT for two points after Kansas scores to make it a six point game. It should have been a five point game with KU having all the momentum. Instead it's an eight point game with all the momentum back on the visitor's sideline.
4. Officiating - Blake Bell "down by contact" near the KU 10 yard line as OU, ahead by only 8 points, is driving for what would most likely be a game clinching score in the fourth quarter. This play happened right in front of me. Live, it sure looked like a fumble. Replays in the stadium made it pretty obvious that it was one of those calls where there wouldn't be "indisputable evidence." If they had called it a fumble on the field, they wouldn't have been able to overturn it then, either. The call stands, OU retains possession, and scores a couple plays later.
Again, the officiating did NOT win the game for OU, nor did it lose the game for Kansas. I will say that it sure didn't help us out any, and when you're Kansas looking to upset Oklahoma (or Texas, or anyone else), you need all the help you can get. Kansas didn't get any of the breaks today.
I left the game feeling hopeful about upcoming games versus Iowa State and West Virginia. I also left the game feeling like the next two weeks (vs Baylor, @ Texas) are going to be pretty much unwatchable for Kansas fans. Let's hope the guys can stay focused and not give up on the season just yet. They played Oklahoma hard, and gave OU everything they wanted. If it takes phantom penalties and trick plays for Oklahoma to beat Kansas, then that's a good day for us.
I feel.... OK.
I see Baylor just put up 70 on Iowa State. I'm gonna work all week on getting my frame of mind to where if we hold them to under 70, it's a win.
Stay tuned next week for another "View."