Sometimes, the 19th time’s the charm.
After 18 straight losses to the Oklahoma Sooners, the Jayhawks earned a late upset victory on Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, setting off a field storming as students and fans tore the goalposts down.
The Jayhawks defeated No. 6 OU (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) 38-33 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Kansas improved to 6-2 on the season, 3-2 in Big 12 play.
Also, KU is now bowl-eligible for the second straight year.
Oklahoma will join the SEC next season but departs the conference with its first loss to Kansas since 1997.
Starting in place of Jalon Daniels (back injury), Jason Bean finished 15-of-32 passing for 218 yards with no passing touchdowns and two interceptions. He did, however, lead the winning touchdown drive in the final minute, with running back Devin Neal punching in the final score.
Neal finished with 112 yards on 25 attempts. He and Bean had a touchdown apiece on the ground, while Daniel Hishaw ran for two more scores.
Late drama in Saturday’s game
With three seconds left and the ball on the Kansas 23-yard line, Oklahoma had one last shot to win the game — needing a touchdown. Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel failed to convert a deep pass and KU students rushed the field.
Leading up to that, KU’s offense put together a seven-play, 80-yard game-winning drive that ended with a 9-yard Neal rushing touchdown. OU received the ball with 50 seconds left after appearing to let Kansas score the final touchdown in hopes of getting the ball back one last time.
It was a shaky day for Bean, who came through on the final drive. One series prior, Bean and KU nearly lost the game on an interception.
Trailing 33-32, Kansas took over with under six minutes left. Bean was picked off attempting a screen pass.
KU forced a three-and-out and got the ball back with 2:06 to play. That final drive involved a key fourth-and-6 conversion at midfield that went to Lawrence Arnold.
Back and forth action
Kansas actually got on the scoreboard first on Saturday, and it was the defense that came through.
Kansas cornerback Mello Dotson jumped a Dillion Gabriel pass and took it to the house early in the first quarter.
On the next OU drive, KU defensive lineman Austin Booker sacked Gabriel on a fourth-and-2 to force a turnover on downs. Kansas added another seven points on a 9-yard touchdown run by Hishaw.
The game was delayed at the 7:50 mark in the second quarter due to lightning, with Kansas leading 14-7. Play resumed after about a 45-minute stoppage.
After the delay, OU added another touchdown to tie the score.
KU fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which Oklahoma recovered; the Sooners promptly converted that into a touchdown to take a 21-14 lead. They went into the half up 21-17.
KU scored twice to take a 26-21 lead, but couldn’t stretch the margin to seven after a missed two-point try.
The teams went back and forth until the final sequence, with Kansas recovering from a late missed field goal to cash in on the game-winning drive.
Jason Bean struggles with consistency
After a career day against Oklahoma State, Bean was inconsistent against the Sooners.
He was 6-for-14 passing for 68 yards in the first half.
One of his completed passes included a likely interception that went through an OU defender’s hands and ended up being caught by receiver Quentin Skinner. Another pass almost ended in a red-zone interception.
Bean, a sixth-year returnee, made some perplexing decisions in the half — and throughout the game. He forced throws into triple coverage and was off the mark on others. He also appeared to slide at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter when KU needed a score, but the Jayhawks earned a targeting call and scored on the next play.
That said, Bean did have a better second half. He delivered big throws in key moments, even with the late interception nearly costing KU the game.
He more than made up for his miscues with his last drive.
He finished with 218 passing yards and 62 rushing yards, including a 38-yard touchdown run.
KU’s special teams issues continue
Kansas had its worst special teams performance against Oklahoma State two weeks ago.
Against OU, it wasn’t much better.
In the second quarter, KU kick returner Trevor Wilson fumbled the ball and OU recovered. It eventually led to seven points for OU.
KU kicker Seth Keller missed a field goal that could’ve given Kansas an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter.
And while not special teams, but in a similar area after touchdowns, Kansas failed to convert three two-point conversions.
The Jayhawks certainly overcame some mistakes in their upset bid on Saturday.