Reworded: Written by DAVE SKRETTA, a journalist for the Associated Press who covers sports.
LAWRENCE, Kan. — LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas coach Lance Leipold has always been focused on the future: the next game, the renovations that are about to transform Memorial Stadium, the long-term prospects of a program that has long been in the dumps.
After defeating No. 6 Oklahoma 38-33 on Saturday, Leipold declared, “It is now time for me to discuss the progress we have made.”
Devin Neal rushed for 112 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown with only 55 seconds remaining. The Oklahoma Sooners’ quarterback Dillon Gabriel’s throw to the end zone on the last play was incomplete, causing Kansas fans to storm the field and revel in their team’s victory. This win marks one of the most significant triumphs in the school’s history, providing a long-awaited moment of success for fans who have endured many disappointing seasons.
The Jayhawks ended their 18-game losing streak against Oklahoma in their last game before leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. They also defeated their highest-ranked opponent since their win over Virginia Tech in the 2008 Orange Bowl.
The goal posts were torn down by the fans and thrown into Potter Lake.
Jason Bean, who is starting once again in place of the injured quarterback Jalon Daniels, stated that this is a significant occasion for the team.
The Jayhawks (6-2, 3-2 Big 12) seemed to have lost their opportunity to win when they were down 33-32 with only 2:29 left, and Bean threw an interception. However, their greatly improved defense caused Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1) to punt. After completing two passes and a successful fourth-down throw for 37 yards, Neal ran for a touchdown from 9 yards out against a seemingly indecisive defense, giving Kansas the lead once again.
However, this also provides Oklahoma’s offense with another opportunity to possess the ball.
In the last 24 seconds of the game, Gabriel successfully completed a 39-yard pass to Brenan Thompson, advancing to the Kansas 34. He then threw a short pass to Jovantae Barnes and an incomplete pass before attempting a high throw to the end zone on the final play. This resulted in a celebration on the field as the quarterback, who had a near-perfect record for the season, led his team to victory.
Leipold expressed, “I found myself surrounded by a large group of students. I hope I don’t get tested for alcohol based on the smell in the air.”
Bean passed for 218 yards and had two interceptions, but also rushed for 62 yards and scored a touchdown. Additionally, Daniel Hishaw scored two rushing touchdowns for the Jayhawks, marking their first win against Oklahoma since October 4, 1997.
Gabriel completed 171 passing yards and scored three touchdowns, while Tawee Walker gained 146 rushing yards and one touchdown. Despite their strong performance, the Sooners were disappointed by the missed chances and the end of their flawless season.
“The timing of our turnovers and penalties was very disappointing,” expressed Oklahoma coach Brent Venables. “I reminded the team that we will not be judged by just one win or loss. We still have a lot ahead of us. However, this loss is particularly painful.”
The Jayhawks had a lackluster Homecoming until the fourth quarter.
A full audience gathered at Memorial Stadium in anticipation of Fox’s pregame coverage, but were soon drenched by rain that arrived shortly after the start of the game. In the middle of the second quarter, lightning illuminated the sky, resulting in an hour-long delay. When the game eventually resumed, only half of the original crowd remained, with a significant portion chanting “Boomer Sooner.”
The devoted Kansas fans who stayed until the end were in for a delightful surprise.
The Jayhawks quickly gained a 14-0 advantage after Mello Dotson intercepted the ball for a touchdown and Hishaw scored his first touchdown run. However, the Sooners, who were struggling due to the absence of injured running back Marcus Major, soon regained their momentum.
After the Jayhawks lost possession of the kickoff, Gabriel’s second touchdown run resulted in Oklahoma scoring 21 consecutive points.
The seesaw situation was only beginning, however.
In the third quarter, the Jayhawks narrowed the score to 21-20 after recovering a fumble and Bean scoring a 38-yard touchdown. The Sooners responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive, taking a 27-26 lead, but then gave the Jayhawks an opportunity to regain the lead at 32-27 by committing three personal fouls. One of these fouls was on the Oklahoma bench for arguing about the first one.
In the fourth quarter, Kansas came close to securing a two-possession lead when the Sooners fumbled the following kickoff. However, a holding penalty nullified Hishaw’s 20-yard touchdown run and Seth Keller was unable to make a 42-yard field goal.
The Sooners took advantage of the chance. Their defense deflected Bean’s pass and Billy Bowman intercepted it at the Kansas 14-yard line. Gabriel scored within 2 minutes to give them a 33-32 lead with 5:22 remaining.
The Jayhawks have ample time to score another touchdown and put up a strong defensive front.
Hishaw stated that everyone had faith in our actions and this can be seen as a small reward.
The Oklahoma team’s hopes for the College Football Playoff were greatly hurt by three turnovers and 11 penalties, which resulted in a loss of 101 yards. They are now among several Big 12 teams with only one conference loss.
The announcer mentioned in passing that the Kansas Jayhawks were once again eligible for a bowl game due to the enthusiastic fans storming the field. This marks only the second time in the school’s history that they have achieved this feat in back-to-back seasons.
Oklahoma State will host Oklahoma next Saturday in the final installment of Bedlam for the foreseeable future.
Next Saturday, Kansas will be traveling to Iowa State.
The Associated Press college football coverage can be found at the following links: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll.