One by one, Kansas University’s football players strolled off the field and up the ramp to the visitors’ locker room at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., after Saturday’s 70-28 loss at Oklahoma State.
Not one said a word, and each had the same look in his eye and limp in his step.
That typically is the result after giving up 10 touchdowns and 600 yards, and few teams know the feeling better than these Jayhawks, even if they’re not proud to admit it.
“We’re definitely hurting,” KU sophomore quarterback Jordan Webb said. “I don’t think any of us have gotten used to being on this end of these types of lopsided losses. But I think we’re still trying to learn from it and get better.”
No question. Need proof? For the fifth time this season — and third time in four weeks — the Jayhawks showed up at the Anderson Family Football Complex the day after a game with their heads held high.
“That continued,” KU coach Turner Gill said Sunday night. “They’re ready to move on to the next ballgame.”
Small problem. The next ballgame — 8:15 p.m. Saturday vs. No. 3 Oklahoma — has a chance to look an awful lot like the game KU just played. Like OSU, Oklahoma features a high-powered offense capable of scoring in a number of ways. The Sooners differ from the Cowboys in that they pair a stingy defense — ranked 28th in the nation — with their explosive offense.
It’s clear by now this team is feeling the effects of the past few games. After starting out 2-0 and momentarily putting last year’s abysmal 3-9 mark behind them, the Jayhawks have reverted to their old ways. While things got bad at times last year, they’ve reached new lows this year, particularly on defense. Already, KU has seen opponents set single-game records for rushing yards against (Georgia Tech, 604) and passing yards against (OSU, 494), and seven games against Big 12 competition still remain.
“We’re not improving as much as I would like,” Gill said. “I can safely say that.”
Despite all the lows, Gill remains undeterred by the recent setbacks.
“It’s just like anything in life,” Gill said. “Everybody has some good days and some bad days, and that’s kind of the way I look at it. I learn, and I keep on going. I have confidence in the plan that we have to try to move this program forward, and we’re gonna keep on moving forward and make some adjustments and keep coming to work and keep believing and keep having faith and go from there. But I definitely enjoy what I’m doing. That hasn’t changed. Obviously, a few hours after the game, for maybe 12 to 24 hours, you’re obviously disappointed when you have a loss, and you’re elated and happy when you win one.”
Gill on Sunday provided an update on the status of running back Brandon Bourbon and safety Keeston Terry. Both players were injured Saturday, and Gill said both are questionable for Saturday’s game against Oklahoma, Bourbon because of a head injury and Terry because of an undisclosed injury.
“I think (Bourbon’s) just gonna be monitored for the next few days and see if anything gets better,” Gill said. “But, right now, he’s definitely probably questionable for sure.”
Jayhawks heavy underdogs
Last week, the oddsmakers set the opening line for the KU-OSU game at Oklahoma State minus 29. That line quickly jumped into the 30s and settled around 32. Sunday, the Sooners opened as 31.5-point favorites and, again, the line soared beyond 35 points by the end of the night.
The KU-OU game will be broadcast by ESPN2.