High-flying KU offense comes down to earth in fourth quarter, Jayhawks lose 39-32 at OSU

photo by: AP Photo/Mitch Alcala

Kansas's Jason Bean (9) passes the ball to Mason Fairchild (89) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State, in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023.

Stillwater, Okla. — Oklahoma State’s defense didn’t stand a chance against the Kansas passing game for the better part of three quarters, but halted the Jayhawks three times when it needed to most.

Kendal Daniels and Dylan Smith each picked off Jason Bean once, but the Cowboys could only turn those opportunities into three combined points. What really made the difference was a fourth-down strip-sack by Collin Oliver that gave OSU the ball at midfield with a chance at a go-ahead score.

And score the Cowboys did, on an end around from Brennan Presley with 2:33 remaining. Then KU went four-and-out, with Oliver knocking down a quick pass from Bean for Jared Casey, and OSU killed the clock, adding a late field goal to win 39-32.

Even with his late-game struggles, Bean put up 410 yards passing with five touchdowns. But OSU running back Ollie Gordon torched the Jayhawks’ defense all afternoon to the tune of nearly 300 combined yards rushing and receiving, and quarterback Alan Bowman tossed a pair of touchdowns. KU left Stillwater with its ninth road loss to OSU in 10 tries since 1995 and will enter its bye still needing one more win to become bowl-eligible.

The Cowboys set up a screen for a 50-yard catch-and-run by Gordon to open the game. Three plays later, on a high-tempo opening drive, Alan Bowman found Gordon out of the backfield and KU went down a touchdown immediately.

On OSU’s next possession, following a string of chunk plays for Gordon, Bowman connected with Presley on yet another check-down — this time off a flea-flicker — for a second immediate score.

Casey made an acrobatic catch on a third-and-1, then bowled over a would-be tackler, to give KU some semblance of momentum, and then Jason Bean connected with his preferred deep threat Trevor Wilson for a 47-yard touchdown strike.

Rashod Owens turned a slant into a 40-yard gain to kick the Cowboys’ next drive into gear. Cobee Bryant dropped a potential pick six for KU on a third down, but it was enough to force an Alex Hale field goal to make it 17-7.

Third-down conversions from Bean to Mason Fairchild and Lawrence Arnold helped salvage a stop-and-start drive. Fairchild got wide open up the seam and scored his first touchdown of the year on a well-placed lob from Bean. After a false start by kicker Seth Keller, Xavier Ross blocked the PAT to keep the margin at four points.

KU stopped OSU for the first time in the game thanks to a sack from Cornell Wheeler. On the next drive, Fairchild came completely uncovered over the top off a play-fake out of the shotgun for an uncontested second score and KU’s first lead. The Jayhawks tried throwing in backup kicker Owen Piepergerdes for a PAT, but he too got blocked as the special teams woes continued.

Both offenses ground to a virtual halt until Gordon shook off a pair of tackles and sprinted for a 42-yard rushing touchdown to put the Cowboys back in front with three minutes to go and give him 170 scrimmage yards in the first half.

Daniel Hishaw Jr., who started the game with minus-7 yards on a pair of carries, took the ball three straight times for 26 yards to kickstart the next series, then Bean escaped pressure, rolled left and lofted a perfect pass to hit Quentin Skinner in stride for a 49-yard touchdown.

OSU had a chance to sneak in one last score before the break but opted to punt on fourth-and-6 from the KU 41-yard line. The Cowboys then paid the price when Skinner burned their secondary on the first drive out of the break for another long touchdown from Bean.

OSU took much longer on its ensuing possession, forsaking the uptempo early approach in favor of a 13-play, 66-yard drive, but settling for a close-range field goal after Kwinton Lassiter shoved Owens out of bounds short of a first down.

Bean marched KU right back into scoring range but made his first big mistake of the day. He was looking for Wilson again in the end zone but didn’t put enough on the ball and threw his first interception of the year to Daniels.

Gordon and backup Jaden Nixon carved up the Jayhawks on the ensuing drive right up until they got close to the goal line. Gordon got stuffed on a pair of carries and Bowman tossed a pass out the back of the end zone and Hale came out to convert another chip-shot field goal, making it 32-30 with 11:32 left.

Hale sent a potential go-ahead attempt from 43 yards wide right soon after, but the Cowboys got the ball back in short order after stopping KU on fourth down, and ran it on eight of nine plays to set up Presley’s go-ahead score.

Following a bye week, the Jayhawks will host Oklahoma on Oct. 28.

How they scored

First quarter

13:11 — Ollie Gordon II 17-yard pass from Alan Bowman. Alex Hale PAT good. Five plays, 75 yards, 1:49 TOP. Oklahoma State 7, Kansas 0.

7:25 — Brennan Presley 20-yard pass from Bowman. Hale PAT good. Nine plays, 83 yards, 3:00 TOP. OSU 14, KU 0.

5:14 — Trevor Wilson 47-yard pass from Jason Bean. Seth Keller PAT good. Five plays, 75 yards, 2:11 TOP. OSU 14, KU 7.

2:10 — Hale 28-yard field goal. Eight plays, 64 yards, 2:10 TOP. OSU 17, KU 7.

Second quarter

12:42 — Mason Fairchild 30-yard pass from Bean. Keller PAT blocked. Nine plays, 75 yards, 4:27 TOP. OSU 17, KU 13.

10:41 — Fairchild 44-yard pass from Bean. Owen Piepergerdes PAT blocked. Two plays, 72 yards, 0:59 TOP. KU 19, OSU 17.

2:52 — Gordon 42-yard run. Hale PAT good. Two plays, 53 yards, 0:48 TOP. OSU 24, KU 19.

1:06 — Skinner 49-yard pass from Bean. Conversion no good. Five plays, 75 yards, 1:46 TOP. KU 25, OSU 24.

Third quarter

11:13 — Skinner 42-yard pass from Bean. Piepergerdes PAT good. Nine plays, 75 yard, 3:47 TOP. KU 32, OSU 24.

5:28 — Hale 26-yard field goal. 13 plays, 66 yards, 5:45 TOP. KU 32, OSU 27.

Fourth quarter

11:32 — Hale 21-yard field goal. 10 plays, 74 yards, 4:52 TOP. KU 32, OSU 30.

2:33 — Presley 6-yard run. Conversion no good. Nine plays, 50 yards, 3:50 TOP. OSU 36, KU 32.

0:15 — Hale 42-yard field goal. Four plays, 9 yards, 1:42 TOP. OSU 39, KU 32.

Game Stats

Kansas 7 18 7 0 – 32

Oklahoma State 17 7 3 12 – 39

Kansas | Oklahoma State

First downs 19 | 27

Rushing yards 90 | 218

Passing yards 410 | 336

Total offense 500 | 554

Fumbles lost 0 | 0

Interceptions 2 | 0

Penalties-yards 3-22 | 3-12

Individual Stats

Rushing: Kansas – Neal 13-66; Hishaw 8-24; Bean 8-2; Cabeldue 0-(-2); Daniels 7-(-4); Oklahoma State – Gordon 29-168; Nixon 7-46; Presley 1-6; Bowman 1-(-2).

Passing: Kansas – Bean 23-34, 410; Oklahoma State – Bowman 28-41, 336.

Receiving: Kansas — Fairchild 5-95; Arnold 5-68; Wilson 4-86; Neal 3-15; Skinner 2-91; Grimm 2-26; Kardell 1-20; Casey 1-9; Oklahoma State — Owens 9-112; Presley 8-79; Gordon 6-116; Green 2-18; Johnson 2-7; Bray 1-4.


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