Kansas falls to No. 18/21 Oklahoma State in season finale, 58-17
STILLWATER, Okla. – Kansas football was unable to contain the Big 12’s top scoring offense on Saturday, falling to No. 18/21 Oklahoma State 58-17 in the Jayhawks’ season finale at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State (8-3, 5-3 Big 12) totaled 661 yards of offense against the Jayhawks (1-11, 0-9 Big 12), led by senior quarterback Mason Rudolph, who finished the game 31-of-43 passing for 438 yards and two touchdowns, including 309 yards and one score in the first half.
On the Cowboys’ first play from scrimmage in the game, Rudolph found redshirt freshman wide receiver Dillon Stoner for a 15-yard completion, then connected with redshirt senior wide receiver Marcell Ateman two plays later for a 54-yard score, giving Oklahoma State a 7-0 lead with just 2:55 taken off the clock.
Oklahoma State added to its lead with a 43-yard field goal with 6:22 remaining in the first quarter after Kansas was held to three-and-outs on its first two possessions. The Jayhawks were able to answer with a field goal of their own, as redshirt junior kicker Gabriel Rui hit a career-long 50-yard attempt to make the score 10-7.
Rudolph and the Cowboys wasted no time after the Kansas field goal, and completed a 10-play, 75-yard drive to extend their lead to 17-3. Rudolph completed five-of-seven attempts on the drive, and moved OSU to the KU 12-yard line before sophomore running back Justice Hill carried it in for the score with 13:41 remaining in the half.
Kansas closed the half with a nine-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a 33-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Peyton Bender to sophomore wide receiver Evan Fairs. The touchdown was the first for Bender since October 7 against Texas Tech, and it marked Fairs’ first-career score, but came after Oklahoma State stretched its lead to 31 with three-straight scores; a 76-yard touchdown pass from Rudolph to Stoner, a 36-yard field goal and a 1-yard touchdown run from redshirt freshman running back LD Brown.
The Jayhawks received to open the second half, but Bender was unable to keep his rhythm from the final drive of the first half going and threw an interception on the third play, giving Oklahoma State the ball on the KU 30-yard line.
The Cowboys took advantage of the short field position and Rudolph threw his second touchdown of the game on the ensuing play, a 36-yard strike to senior wide receiver James Washington to make the score 41-10.
Junior wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., who became just the fifth player in Kansas football history to reach 2,000 career receiving yards earlier in the game, sparked the Jayhawk offense with a 35-yard punt return to the OSU 41-yard line after the Kansas defense held OSU to its second three-and-out of the game.
Following two rushes from junior running back Deron Thompson to pick up a first down, Bender hit Sims with two consecutive passes for 13-yard gains, then threw him a screen pass two plays later from the OSU 2-yard line and Sims fought his way to the end zone for his sixth touchdown of the season, making the score 41-17 with 5:41 remaining in the third quarter.
The Sims touchdown was the last time the Jayhawks would score in the season, as Oklahoma State closed the game on a 17-0 run to set the final score of 58-17.
Bender finished the game 17-of-32 with 172 yards passing, two touchdowns and one interception and Sims hauled in nine of those passes for 69 yards. Junior running back Taylor Martin picked up 60 yards on the ground for Kansas on 17 rushing attempts.
Redshirt junior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. tallied nine tackles, including seven solo stops and 2.0 tackles for a loss to join sophomore cornerback Hasan Defense as the Jayhawks’ leading tackler in the game. Dineen’s 2.0 TFLs gave him 23.0 for the year, which tied Charleton Keith for most TFLs in Kansas single-season history, set in 2005. Junior defensive tackle Daniel Wise recorded a team-high 3.0 TFLs in the contest to total 17.5 for the season.
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