There was an icy standoff during the opening coin toss. Some trash talk and unsportsmanlike penalties after plays. But in the end, the result was the same for the Kansas football team as all of its other Big 12 games.
The Jayhawks couldn’t contain a Baker Mayfield-led offense throughout the second half and the offense never had much success in a 41-3 loss in their final home game of the season Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Mayfield, who came up empty when he reached out for a handshake at the coin toss, continued his Heisman campaign by completing 20 of his 30 passing attempts for 257 passing yards and three touchdowns. It’s the 24th straight game he’s thrown for two scores.
KU’s defense limited the third-ranked Sooners (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) for a majority of the first half in windy conditions. Oklahoma scored once on its first five drives — a 34-yard touchdown catch by Rodney Anderson on fourth down.
The Jayhawks’ offense couldn’t take advantage, only scoring on a 23-yard field goal by Gabriel Rui at the start of the second quarter. Quarterback Carter Stanley was 19-of-34 passing for 123 yards and one interception. The Sooners turned that turnover into a three-yard touchdown run by Jordan Smallwood.
Kansas (1-10, 0-8) only garnered 155 yards of total offense, held to only 32 rushing yards. Khalil Herbert led with 38 yards on the ground in 13 attempts before he exited with an injury in the second half. Evan Fairs and Chase Harrell both recorded six catches.
View a gallery of images from Saturday's game between the Jayhawks and Sooners at Memorial Stadium.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: On the final drive of the first half, the Sooners started at their own 16-yard line with 50 seconds left before halftime. In a quick three-play drive, helped by a couple of KU penalties, Oklahoma scored a touchdown and increased its lead to 21-3.
Mayfield started the possession with a 30-yard pass to Dimitri Flowers, while the Sooners were given another 15 yards because of a late hit penalty on KU cornerback Hasan Defense.
After Defense committed a holding penalty, pushing the Sooners on the edge of the red zone, Mayfield finished the scoring drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown on a screen pass. Brown broke a tackle, cut across the middle and raced the left side of the end zone.
• Offensive highlight: At the beginning of the third quarter, Steven Sims Jr. added another catch to his list of highlight reel plays. Stanley fired a fade pass along the left sideline, right in front of KU’s bench.
Sims, in one-on-one coverage, separated from OU defensive back Tre Norwood and pulled in the grab by holding the ball high up on the right side of his shoulder pads for a 34-yard reception. Working to keep his feet inbounds, Sims slid out of bounds. It was KU’s longest play of the game.
• Defensive highlight: During the first half, the Kansas defense forced five punts, including four 3-and-out drives. It was the most punts in any game for the Sooners this season, as Mayfield was limited to only 51 passing yards on the team’s first seven drives.
The Sooners were 3 of 14 on third downs (21 percent), their worst conversion rate of the season. Of course, that didn’t stop Oklahoma’s offense from finding a rhythm throughout the second half.
• Key stat: Red zone conversions. The Sooners had four drives inside of the 20-yard line and converted three of them into touchdowns. KU only had one drive in the red zone, at the start of the second quarter, but was forced to settle for a field goal after a high snap in the Wildcat formation led to a 10-yard loss.
In the Jayhawks’ last 11 drives into the red zone, they’ve only scored four touchdowns.
• Up next: The Jayhawks will complete their 2017 season when they travel to play Oklahoma State next week at Boone Pickens Stadium. Searching for their first Big 12 win of the season, KU will attempt to end a 45-game road losing streak.
HOW THEY SCORED
6:40 — Rodney Anderson 34 pass from Baker Mayfield. Austin Seibert kick. Four-play drive for 41 yards, in 1:55. (OU 7, KU 0.)
14:17 — Gabriel Rui 23 field goal. Nine-play drive for 34 yards, in 3:54. (OU 7, KU 3.)
7:27 — Jordan Smallwood 3 run. Seibert kick. Three-play drive for 11 yards, in 1:27. (OU 14, KU 3.)
0:10 — Marquise Brown 24 pass from Mayfield. Seibert kick. Three-play drive for 84 yards, in 0:40. (OU 21, KU 3.)
4:52 — Mark Andrews 3 pass from Mayfield. Seibert kick. Seven-play drive for 82 yards, in 3:03. (OU 28, KU 3.)
13:58 — Seibert 27 field goal. Eleven-play drive for 50 yards, in 3:31. (OU 31, KU 3.)
12:09 — Trey Sermon 25 run. Seibert kick. Two-play drive for 40 yards, in 0:37. (OU 38, KU 3.)
4:39 — Seibert 32 field goal. Eight-play drive for 41 yards, in 4:18. (OU 41, KU 3.)