When the #3 team in the country has to cheat to beat you, you’re doing something right.
In an event that absolutely no one saw coming, Kansas shut out Oklahoma for two and a half quarters and maintained a lead going into the fourth quarter. Yes, even I thought KU would lose by 59 points.
While I was WAY off on the end result, I was right about how KU could make it competitive:
- Don’t punt (Mostly Check)
- Convert third and fourth downs (Mostly check)
- Get off the field on OU’s third and fourth downs (Mostly fail, thx refs)
- Control the clock (Check)
- Get Devin Neal going (Check)
- Put Bean in situations to succeed (Check)
- Divert the buses carrying OU’s first and second string (Fail)
- Be +8 in turnovers (Fail)
Almost everything went KU’s way - until it didn’t. The Jayhawks made just enough mistakes that the incredibly obvious blown call by the officials was just enough for Oklahoma to make it out of Lawrence with a win.
And that, my friends is major progress.
Because of course there has to be a “but” here. We usually see a performance like this out of Kansas once or twice a year. Now, it’s rarely come against Oklahoma, so perhaps there’s a little more to this one. But, we won’t know until we play out the next couple of games. Go out and be competitive against Oklahoma State and K-State over the next two weeks, and you’ll really have our attention.
Otherwise, it’s just another glimmer of hope that fades as quickly as it came.
As for the stats, Kansas outgained Oklahoma 412 yards to 398. KU ran 11 more plays than OU, dominating time of possession 35:30 to 24:30. That number was even more impressive in the first half, as KU held the ball for an even 22:00 compared to OU’s 8:00. All told, Kansas went for 6.3 yards per play on the day, while Oklahoma still netted 7.4 ypp.
The Sooners were flagged for 10 penalties, a number that should have been at least 15. I guess they really can’t call ‘em all. (Yes, they can.) Meanwhile, Kansas was flagged just five times.
Kansas converted 9-13 (69.2%) third downs, by far its best ratio in a single game and well above their season average coming in. Oklahoma converted 6-10 (60%). KU was 1-1 on fourth down, while OU was technically 2-3 (thx refs).
For the first time in a long time, I don’t even know where to start here. The offensive line was amazing, the offensive gameplan was perfect, and defensively KU kept Oklahoma off the scoreboard for over 37 minutes.
While KU played well enough to put themselves in a position to win, they still didn’t play perfectly, which frankly is what it takes to beat a top-5 opponent. There was a questionable decision by Leipold to attempt a 57-yard field goal (it missed). KU lost a fumble, but couldn’t fall on an OU fumble. There was at least one really bad dropped pass on third down (that likely wouldn’t have picked up the first down anyway). And there were missed tackles. Boy, were there missed tackles.
Brutal to give up a first down here. Back breaking for it to be a touchdown. pic.twitter.com/eRtY6veSVY— We good? (@gifhawk2) October 24, 2021
The easy one here would be to crap on the “legal forward handoff” play again, but I’ve spent enough time on that (it was a fumble).
So here’s where I’ll go - the coaching staff had this team prepared. They had a masterful gameplan that KU executed to near perfection. But, up 10-0 early in the second quarter, they elected to attempt a 57-yard field goal on 4th-and-9 from the Oklahoma 38-yard line.
I say “attempt” because that’s all it was, as the kick had the distance but missed wide left. That’s simply the wrong call there. You’re not going to beat Oklahoma straight up, particularly when its 19 vs 11 out there. You have got to be aggressive, you have got to go for it. Period. End of story.
That call had to have gone against the gameplan, right? It definitely went against the formula for an upset. You can’t play it safe. Going for it isn’t even taking points off the board, as a 57-yard field goal is hardly a sure thing. Just a confusing call all the way around if you ask me.
Jason Bean easily had his best game in a KU uniform, going for 246 yards on 17-23 passing with a TD. Bean added in 59 rush yards on 14 carries.
Devin Neal was a beast, punishing Oklahoma on 23 carries for 100 yards and 2 TDs.
Kwamie Lassiter hauled in 7 passes for 101 yards.
Lawrence Arnold snagged 4 passes for 73 yards.
Luke Grimm brought down 3 receptions for 50 yards and a TD.
Steven McBride had 3 catches for 22 yards, unfortunately one of which ended with a fumble recovered by Oklahoma.
Kenny Logan was credited with 14 tackles on the day.
Jeremey Webb and Rich Miller were each credited for 6 tackles.
Gavin Potter, Kyron Johnson, and Caleb Sampson were each credited with a sack.
Ricky Thomas had 2 tackles and an INT.
Jacob Borcila was 1-2 on field goals, missing the above-mentioned 57-yarder and drilling a 28-yard attempt.
Reis Vernon had just one punt, unfortunately of the line-drive variety that went for 36 yards but was returned for 16 (meaning it netted just 20 yards of field position).