Unfriendly Affair: Despite inspired start, Jayhawks can't keep up with No. 3 Oklahoma

Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. (29) walks away as Oklahoma players celebrate with Oklahoma wide receiver Jordan Smallwood (17) following Smallwood's touchdown during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

If the Kansas football team’s defensive captains hoped to rattle Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Baker Mayfield by refusing to shake his hand during the pre-game coin toss, the ploy’s effects weren’t nearly enough to upset the No. 3 Sooners.

Juniors Daniel Wise, Dorance Armstrong Jr., Joe Dineen and their defensive teammates did their best to harass and stymie the mobile and typically accurate Mayfield Saturday at Memorial Stadium, but the Sooners withstood the Jayhawks’ exploits to cruise to a 41-3 victory in front of an announced crowd of 22,854.

In what quickly became a chippy game between the Big 12’s best and worst teams, Mayfield started slowly, after the fiery QB extended his right hand toward Dineen, Armstrong and Wise at midfield as the trio of Jayhawks held their hands behind their backs and avoided eye contact with Mayfield, who backed away and clapped in response.

Why exactly KU tried such a strategy remained unclear after the senior Oklahoma QB went 20-for-30 passing, for 257 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Head coach David Beaty, after his team lost its 10th consecutive game, didn’t reveal why the players snubbed Mayfield beforehand.

“I’m proud of our guys for getting to a point, and not just — we’re not going to take it anymore. You’re going to stick your feet in the ground and you’re going to defend your grass,” Beaty offered. “I think we’ve got to display it better than that, obviously, but I get it. I understand where they’re coming from. I’ve got to do a better job as their coach maybe teaching them how to manage that a little bit better.”

The third-year head coach suggested his players might have a better sense of its origins, but only Dineen, a redshirt junior linebacker, attended the postgame media session. Wise and Armstrong, though requested by various outlets, didn’t attend.

Dineen said the three of them discussed doing something “out of the ordinary” to fire up their teammates.

“It was literally just before we went out and I can’t remember who talked about it. It was just, ‘You want to do this?’ ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ We didn’t even put any thought into it,” Dineen said. “It turned out it looks pretty bad. Obviously it wasn’t meant to be super disrespectful to them.”

Although the spurned handshake, Dineen insisted, wasn’t meant to disrespect Mayfield, who later in the game was captured by ESPN yelling back at fans and making an inappropriate gesture toward the KU sideline while screaming profanity, its intent may have had something to do with flustering the explosive quarterback.

“Maybe try and get in his head a little bit. Maybe fire him up too much,” Dineen said. “For the first quarter I think it worked out in our favor. But obviously he’s a great player and made plays down the stretch.”

Indeed, the Sooners (10-1 overall, 8-0 Big 12) officially put the Jayhawks (1-10, 0-8) to rest in the fourth quarter, as Mayfield finished his day by leading the team to two touchdowns in the first three minutes.

KU’s best shot to make it a game in the second half came on the opening drive, but the Jayhawks couldn’t capitalize on a nine-play drive that reached Oklahoma’s 22-yard line. A couple of deep shots from quarterback Carter Stanley toward the back right corner of the end zone went incomplete to conclude the series, when the Jayhawks trailed 21-3. They couldn’t even put a scratch in the deficit, though, as kicker Gabriel Rui missed a 39-yard field goal on fourth-and-eight.

“I thought that was a big play in that game in that second half. We had that drive down there, and we go down there and have an opportunity to score, and, man, a lot of contact happening in that end zone,” Beaty said of Stanley’s throws for Steven Sims Jr. and Evan Fairs. “You’d love to see what happened if that ball was on the 2-yard line there, and it was 21-3 and you’ve got a chance to maybe put seven on the board there. We wind up having to kick a field goal and miss it into the wind.”

Related document

Box score: Oklahoma 41, Kansas 3 ( .PDF )

KU’s coaches and players regretted the close to the second quarter even more. The Sooners — who had gone three-and-out en route to punts on four of their previous five series against an inspired, swarming KU defense — only had 50 seconds left in the first half and 84 yards between them and the KU goal line.

However, the Jayhawks couldn’t get back to the locker room at a 14-3 disadvantage. Mayfield found fullback Dimitri Flowers for 30 yards on the play’s opening drive, and cornerback Hasan Defense came in late to hit the QB, drawing a 15-yard penalty.

On the very next snap, Mayfield looked the direction of Mark Andrews and Defense drew a holding penalty, pushing the Sooners all the way to the KU 29-yard line.

Two plays later, Mayfield threw his second touchdown pass of the first half by hitting speedy Marquise Brown on a screen pass, letting the 5-foot-11 sophomore do the rest of the work on a 24-yard score that enabled Oklahoma to head to halftime with a 21-3 lead.

Defense explained after the game a brutal stretch for himself and his team, which held OU to 469 yards, significantly below its 600-per-game average entering the weekend.

“I was just trying to make a play. It was in the heat of the moment. It was a bonehead play by me,” Defense said of what many viewed as a cheap shot on Mayfield, “something I shouldn’t have done. I kind of seen him get rid of the ball, but at the point of time I didn’t realize how much longer after the ball was gone that I hit him. It was just a bad mistake by me, won’t happen again.”

Asked why the game turned so heated, Defense said it was because of who Mayfield is.

“We know the type of quarterback he is, type of person he is,” Defense said. “So we’ve just got to step up.”

KU’s first turnover of the home finale came at an inopportune time and place. With the Jayhawks’ defense off to a relatively strong start, having forced punts on three out of the first four Oklahoma possessions, and KU down just 7-3 midway through the second quarter.

One snap following OU’s first sack of the road victory, the Sooners also came up with their first takeaway. Stanley saw Fairs open over the middle of the field and quickly delivered the ball to the 6-3 sophomore, but Fairs failed to bring down the pass and once it deflected off his hands OU linebacker Emmanuel Beal picked it out of the air.

“It was an unfortunate play. I kind of had to squeeze the ball through a window so I threw it a little bit harder than I would’ve liked to,” Stanley said after completing 19 of 33 passes for 123 yards and one pick in defeat, “but just kind of an unfortunate bounce and they capitalized off of it.”

Oklahoma’s sixth possession began at the KU 11-yard line, and it only took three plays for the Sooners to build their lead to 14-3 with the help of a 3-yard rushing TD from Jordan Smallwood.

A massive underdog, as usual against a Big 12 heavyweight, Kansas was in position to tie the game at 7 early in the second quarter. However, the Jayhawks were fortunate to get off the field with the 3 points Rui’s 23-yard field goal provided.

Stanley’s third-and-6 pass for Chase Harrell in the end zone drew pass interference, setting Kansas up at the 2-yard line with goal to go. On first down, though, running back Taylor Martin lined up at QB in the Wildcat formation and Mesa Ribordy’s snap flew over Martin’s head. Though the junior back recovered the fumble, he couldn’t create anything amid the chaos, and was taken down for a 10-yard loss. A Stanley keeper for 7 yards and an incomplete pass to Chase Harrell followed, and KU opted to kick a field goal on fourth down at the Sooners’ 5-yard line, which Rui hit to make it a 7-3 OU lead.

“Those are the type of things that they should be explainable,” Beaty said of the botched first-and-goal call for Martin, “but I thought Mesa did a really nice job today. There’s just one play where the ball just kind of flies away on him. What in the world happened? How does that happen? We talked to him on the sideline, and he said, ‘You know, coach, it felt exactly the same. I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Because he’s not seeing it all the way in.”

As Oklahoma clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game, Dec. 2, in Arlington, Texas, KU has just one final chance at avoiding a one-win season.

The Jayhawks fell flat on offense, producing 155 yards, the least by an OU opponent in the past two seasons. And the defense’s antics didn’t hold up.

“I just thought we lost our focus a little bit on the game and being able to play the game and managing our emotions instead of wanting to jaw back and forth,” Beaty said of KU players jawing back and forth with Mayfield throughout. “We’ve just got to be smarter than to buy into that because it wound up hurting us.”

KU’s season concludes next weekend at Oklahoma State (8-3, 5-3).


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Oklahoma

Comments

Kent Wells

Quick question. Let's just say you're the worst team in college football. Would you intentionally piss off the potential Heisman Trophy winner before the game even starts? Knowing your only hope is that they are flat and asleep? Why the hell would they do that.

Absolutely the dumbest strategy. This team is going backwards. So glad yet another embarrassing season is almost over.

7 months ago

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Todd Seifert

This loss bother some me more than the others because the pre-game lack of respect for an opponent shows our coaching staff has no control over the program. Either they can't lead or the player should won't follow their lead. Either way, this goes beyond poor on-field performance, which we have seen plenty of. We already were a laughing stock prior to this game. Now people are mocking our school because of the lack of sportsmanship - pretty much all that a 1-10 team has left. I think Beaty is a good guy, but how many more examples of lack of leadership skills do we need? He's worse than Valesente - another nice guy who was in over his head. I had been swayed by the arguments against making a coaching change because of the unrest it causes. But today shows our coach's problem goes far beyond what happens with X's and O's.

7 months ago

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Brett McCabe

Bush league antic by a team that is led by a bush league coach. Is there anything these guys do or don't do that Beaty isn't proud of them for doing or not doing?

I was embarrassed to watch it on television, the announcers quickly seized on it and, I assume it's included in every video recap of the game on ESPN. Just another way that Beaty and Zenger have destroyed this program.

And then to cowardly hide from the media? And for your coach to allow it? I remember a certain basketball coach who came down pretty hard on a certain player after a similar show of disrespect to an opponent.

Girod, if this is an example of building it the right way, I'd like for you to outline what, exactly, is the wrong way? Is this the character all the loserville posters have been posting about the past couple of days?

And Beaty thinks that's the way to take a stand? To look like buffoons? This coach is such a complete moron I really have no idea how he made it to his interview on time.

Just when you think the program is at it's lowest point, Beaty finds a new shovel.

7 months ago

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Doug Cramer

Agree

7 months ago

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Barry Weiss

agree, our football team is lead by a bush league coach who has no clue how to do things right, whether it be recruiting, x's and o's, or failing to have our players represent the University in a positive manner. He must be fired.

7 months ago

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Doug Cramer

Can you imagine what Mangino would do to Hasan Defense for that targeting penalty (yes it was targeting) in the last 40 seconds of the first half ? ? ?

Mangino would have pulled him off the field and he wouldn’t play the rest of his career.

But what did Beaty do ? He left him in and the very next play he’s flagged for pass interference !!! Follow by a TD, when we were still in the game.

No discipline or leadership in this program what so ever.

If I were Girod, Zenger is gone first thing in the morning, followed by Beaty, then Bowen.

Meacham becomes interim head coach, and my search begins.

The behavior and lack of discipline of this team makes me sick.

Focus on performing and completing tasks that allows your team to succeed, instead of the horse $h!t distractions. You are 1-9 for crying out loud. What an embarrassment to our University.

If this were my baseball team we would still be doing bear crawls.

7 months ago

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Brett McCabe

You'd have to illustrate what a bear crawl is to Beaty, I'm not sure he's familiar with the term. I think Beaty's approach is to try and love them to death. He's so worried about being popular with his team, and not hurting their feelings, he just said...."go ahead boys, skip the media, you don't have to answer for your actions...#letsholdhandsinstead"

7 months ago

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Rick Glover

agree, we looked like losers on the field and in character.

7 months ago

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Kevin Robert Fest

At least we didn't onside kick that didnt scare Texas. And this didn't bother OU.

7 months ago

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Mallory Briggans

3-32.........say no more .

7 months ago

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Brad Avery

KU needs a new chancellor who will properly supervise the athletic department, a new athletic director who knows how to hire a football coach and a new football coach who knows how to coach football. Other than those three minor problems, we are good?

7 months ago

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Michael Leiker

If that is Beatys response to this no season tickets for me next year unless he is gone. I hate that I cheered for these guys yesterday after this. Wish I would have known this went down. 1-9 and a bunch of punks. Just shut it down

7 months ago

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Ashwin Rao

Beaty: "we lost our focus a little bit on the game", really? Wow! And Hasan Defense's late hit with coach not reaming him for unsportsmanlike conduct...

Not sure what we have going for us currently... We can't win games, so we are trying to show up in Sports Center, the other way.

7 months ago

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George Johnston

There are 129 teams in the FBS. In the four major categories, this week the Jayhawks are

127th in Scoring Defense ** (127)

121st in Scoring Offense ** (116)

111th in Total Defense ** (110)

110th in Total Offense ** (105)

The numbers in parentheses are last week's ratings so the 'Hawks are worse in 3 of the 4 categories. In Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense, they are in the bottom 10 in the country. In Total Defense and Total Offense, they are in the bottom 20.

The 'Hawks are also in the bottom 10 in

127th in 3rd Down Conversion Pct (123)

126th in Turnover Margin (126)

122nd in Rushing Offense (115)

121st in Net Punting (122)

121st in Passing Yards Allowed (116)

They are in the bottom 20 in

118th in Team Passing Efficiency Defense (127)

118th in Team Passing Efficiency (115)

116th in First Downs Offense (113)

114th in Punt Returns (114)

111th in Time of Possession (109)

110th in Red Zone Defense (<100)

7 months ago

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Brett McCabe

So, the numbers clearly show that we are not improving....not over 3 years....not over the course of the season.

And, if you look at the recruiting statistics, we aren't going to get any better going forward. There is no "building", there is no development and there aren't any recruiting classes coming to to save the day.

The best predictor of the near future is the recent past. Recruiting hasn't improved, the offense is worse and the defense is the same. We won't be better next year, we'll be worse. And we'll have wasted another year in attempting to get back to FBS status in football.

7 months ago

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Titus Canby

Back to the game...

In listening to the first three series on the radio, multiple missed opportunities kept us from leading early.
Dropped interception by one of our defenders that could have been a pick 6
Dropped third down pass by one of our receivers that would have resulted in a first down
Missed tackle of Mayfield by Dineen that resulted in OU's first touchdown

That's the difference between ok teams and bad teams. The guys are playing hard, they just can't seem to execute. It seems we need to learn the basics before we'll have a chance of winning.

7 months ago

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John Brazelton

Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe we have 34 players injuried. Many are out with season ending injuries. No body has that kind of depth.

7 months ago

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Brett McCabe

You are wrong. Quit making excuses. Every team has injuries. That's not why Beaty has lost 30+ games in three seasons.

7 months ago

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Jeff Coffman

When we plaid Baylor they had 15 more injured players and were playing 17 true freshmen, that is the comparison to our coaching staff. Our staff can't coach.

7 months ago

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George Johnston

Have the Jayhawks suffered more injuries this year than the other teams in the Big 12? Have those injuries been more serious? If so, is it solely due to bad luck or are other factors involved? Would better conditioning or a better grasp of fundamentals reduce injuries?

What is the coach's role in reducing injuries?

Please note that these are questions. I don't know the answers..

7 months ago

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Armen Kurdian

Seriously, if you suck as a football team, you've got no room to be chippy or have attitude. You're 1-10 because you stink as a team. On what planet is that a good idea? Then you drop passes, miss tackles, you make those plays, it's a different game. That's why we lose. Poor player skill, poor team play, and now this BS of not shaking hands...and the point on targeting was right...it was a complete cheap shot. Quite frankly I'm glad they won, hopefully OU can get into the CFP and win it for the Big XII.

7 months ago

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Dale Rogers

I have posted numerous times that I support Beaty and feel he needs another year or two. However, he lost my confidence and my support when he failed to condemn, immediately after the game, the poor sportsmanship shown on national tv by our team captains. I now have to agree with those who question Beatty's ability to control his team and to enforce discipline. Sad, because I think he has so many good qualities but this cannot continue.

7 months ago

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Mallory Briggans

Mr Johnson did his homework on providing us the stats of how the Jayhawks rank on both sides of the ball .........at this point the only number that really really concerns me is 7.
7 and I will say it again ................7 That's the number of players the Jayhawk basketball team have to play with at this time ...........7 !

7 months ago

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