The Kansas Jayhawks lost 52-42 to the Oklahoma Sooners in a shootout last Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma. The Jayhawks matched the Sooners score for score in the first quarter before the Sooners took over the game in the second quarter and never looked back.
It was all tied up 14-14 as the second quarter began, but the Jayhawks’ defense couldn’t stop the Sooners’ offense. 21 unanswered points and the game was out of reach from that point forward.
Kansas quarterback Jason Bean played admirably in the absence of Jalon Daniels, who is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, but a couple of interceptions gave Oklahoma more chances to put points on the board and those 14 points off turnovers were the difference in the game.
It was another situation of “what if” Daniels could have played. Bean looked fantastic in the second half against TCU but did have a costly interception in that game as well. Bean did fine on the road at Oklahoma but ultimately couldn’t help the Jayhawks get a win. Daniels was a Heisman contender because of his playmaking ability but also his ability to limit turnovers. Would he have been the difference between a win or loss in either game? It’s tough to tell.
The biggest issue with the Jayhawks wasn’t Bean and the offense. It was the defense. After an offseason of shape-shifting with plenty of new faces from the transfer portal, the unit looked like it was starting to come around and gel together. That culminated by holding TCU, now a top-10 team in the nation, to 10 first-half points.
Since that first half against TCU, the defense has surrendered 80 points in six quarters. That is not ideal. In fact, it is outrageous how bad it has been for the Kansas defense lately. Something needs to change.
Unfortunately for the Jayhawks secondary, one of their best pieces of the puzzle, Cobee Bryant, left the game with what is being deemed a significant ankle injury. As of the writing of this article, there hadn’t been an update on his injury. You hate to speculate, but it looked like it could be potentially season-ending.
This is the third consecutive week with a significant injury. First, it was running back Daniel Hishaw, who was having an incredible season as part of the Jayhawks backfield. Then it was quarterback, Jalon Daniels. Now Bryant is out for the foreseeable future.
Seeing the injuries pile up would be bad any time during the season but especially at this point for the Jayhawks. Before the season, this was the part of the schedule that looked to be the most daunting on paper. On the road at Oklahoma, on the road at Baylor, and then at home against Oklahoma State after the bye week.
There’s not a good way to spin it, the second-half schedule was going to be very tough and it looks like it is getting tougher by the week with the injuries stacking up. The Jayhawks just need one more win to get to a bowl game, but they will likely be underdogs in the rest of their games. Before the season started, I predicted the Jayhawks would start the season 5-1 and ultimately clinch a bowl bid by upsetting Texas in their last home game of the season. There’s still a chance that could happen, but going on the road and picking up a win against Baylor would be preferred.
Baylor is coming off a tough road loss to West Virginia, a team Kansas beat earlier in the season. However, Baylor is viewed as the better team and is an eight-point favorite heading into this game. It should be a good game, but it will be an uphill battle for the Jayhawks and their defense once again.