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Kansas embarrasses Oklahoma despite 35-23 Sooners win

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Dollar signs?

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma should change their mascots, Boomer and Sooner, from horses to zebras.

Look, I’m NEVER one to blame the officiating. (Well, except that one time.) Oklahoma, by every metric, is the better team. Everything had to go right for Kansas to get a victory today. And over three and a half quarters, for the most part, it did.

But when it didn’t go right, officials were in the middle of it. Apparently, Oklahoma’s football philosophy is similar to Bob Huggins at West Virginia - “They can’t call them all.” To the amazement of the red-clad fans in the stands, the Sooners were heavily penalized, but yet somehow, the whistle - or usually a lack thereof - still benefited the visitors in the end.

- A phantom hold call when Kansas scored a touchdown that would have put the Jayhawks up 14-0.

- A no-call when KU QB Jason Bean was dragged down by the back of his shoulder pads.

- A no-call on a hold on a 66-yard run by OU’s Trevon West that led to an OU touchdown.

- A no-call on a block in the back on a reception by Kennedy Brooks that led to an OU touchdown.

- There was also no flag on a potential offensive pass interference on OU at some point in the second half, but I’d have to re-watch the game to see exactly when that was. It was also a little more questionable than the above incidents, but I still bears mentioning.

- Meanwhile, OU QB Caleb Williams has 5+ seconds on nearly every pass attempt and you’re gonna tell me there’s never any holding going on anywhere?

- And of course, the super-fluky fourth-down conversion for OU late in the game, with the outcome still in doubt, on the “legal forward handoff” after RB Kennedy Brooks had been driven back a full three yards behind the line of scrimmage; obviously, forward progress had been stopped and the play should have been blown dead.

You said it, coach.

That’s not to say that Kansas played a perfect game. They obviously didn’t; if they had, even the stripes wouldn’t have been able to save Oklahoma. There were missed tackles. There was a questionable field goal attempt. There was at least one really bad dropped pass. KU converted just 2 of 4 second-half third down attempts. The Jayhawks lost a fumble and couldn’t recover an OU fumble.

In an event that absolutely no one saw coming, Kansas led 10-0 at halftime. Oklahoma didn’t score until there were less than 8 minutes to go in the third quarter. The Jayhawks still had a 3-point lead going into the fourth quarter. With 3:27 left in the 4th quarter, KU had apparently stopped Oklahoma on fourth down near midfield with OU clinging to a 5-point lead (the “legal forward handoff” play). The way KU was moving the ball, the Jayhawks had a great shot at driving the field again, this time with a chance to win the game. Oklahoma didn’t push the lead to double digits until there was less than a minute left in the game.

In the end, KU outgained Oklahoma in total yards. The Jayhawks ran more plays than the Sooners. KU dominated time of possession. OU’s tackling woes continued, particularly for their secondary. It was a bad look for a squad that has College Football Playoff aspirations.

This was an embarrassing outing for Oklahoma.

If I was an AP voter, I’d be slotting the Sooners somewhere into the 10 to 15 range in the rankings. They’ve struggled to defeat Tulane, Nebraska, West Virginia, K-State, Texas, and now Kansas? I’m sorry, but even if they manage to get through the rest of the Big 12 unbeaten, they’ll lose by 100 to Georgia or Alabama.

But enough about Oklahoma. What does this mean for Kansas? It seems like we see a game like this out of the Jayhawks once or twice a season. If KU goes out and loses 55-13 each of the next couple of weeks, this game means nothing.

Morale victories are hard to swallow, but there are signs of improvement for Kansas. For the most part, the offensive line played well. Jason Bean had a lot of clean pockets. KU had a 100-rusher and a 100-yard receiver. The defense shut out OU for an entire half of football. The Jayhawks completely dominated the #3-ranked team in the country for two and half quarters. But again, it means nothing if KU is not competitive the rest of the season.

I know this wasn’t much of a recap, but there are plenty of beat writers you can go read if that’s what you want. This is off the cuff, coming hot, coming fast, and I make no apologies.

I’m still fired up.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk.