LAWRENCE — The comeback fell short. The miracle didn’t happen. The backup quarterback wouldn’t be the hero.
The Kansas Jayhawks fell to Oklahoma State 20-14 on Saturday after a wild fourth quarter that saw KU claw back from a 20-0 deficit.
Kansas had a chance to take its first lead of the game in the final minutes. But after driving to the Oklahoma State 41, freshman quarterback Michael Cummings lofted a pass out into the flat that drifted just beyond the reach of running back Brandon Bourbon.
The KU defense banded together for another quick stop as KU coach Charlie Weis burned his final timeouts. But the offense never got the ball back after senior D.J. Beshears was called for roughing the kicker on the Cowboys’ ensuing punt.
Kansas’ fifth straight loss dropped the Jayhawks to 1-5 on the season and 0-3 in the Big 12. KU’s Big 12 losing streak sits at 15 games.
Cummings had come on in relief of starter Dayne Crist, who was again ineffective for most of the day. And he sparked the potential comeback midway through the fourth quarter.
It started when he hit tight end Jimmay Mundine on a 21-yard touchdown pass with 10:52 left in the third quarter. The play came on the end of a nine-play, 65-yard drive that cut the lead to 20-7 with 9:34 left in the fourth quarter.
Junior James Sims added to the frantic rally with a 30-yard touchdown run that made it 20-14 with 8:45 left in the fourth quarter. The touchdown came just two plays after Sims motored around the outside for a 28-yard gain. Sims would finish the day with 138 yards rushing on 27 carries.
Oklahoma State had rolled into town with the highest scoring offense in the wide-open Big 12, and a defense that allowed 59 points to Arizona in a loss earlier this year. So buckle in for a shootout, right? Well, not so much.
Kansas trailed just 10-0 at halftime — a half of football that was interrupted by a long delay for lightning and inclement weather. The official delay took 1 hour, 19 minutes. Before that, KU’s defense had come to play, swarming to the football and containing Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randall, the Big 12’s leading rusher.
The Cowboys’ scored first on a 4-yard run from quarterback J.W. Walsh with 7:34 left in the second quarter. Oklahoma State added to its lead on a field goal in the final minute of the second quarter. And the Cowboys appeared to take command on Walsh’s 72-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Moore with 11:50 left in the third quarter.