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Kansas Jayhawks

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Pregame gambit fails for Kansas

Odds were monumental for Kansas pulling off an upset of Oklahoma.

The Big 12 leader would extend a nation-best streak of 15 consecutive road wins and remain a viable contender for a spot in the College Football Playoff by winning 41-3.

Still, the Jayhawks seemed to get in the head of Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield, a Heisman Trophy hopeful whose temperament has its uneven streaks.

Before the unseemly matchup of first- and last-place teams, Kansas (1-10, 0-8 Big 12) refused to shake hands when Mayfield offered his during the midfield coin toss. From there, things definitely got chippy and eventually it was Mayfield who grabbed his crotch and was caught mouthing off during the game.

The Sooners started slowly and only led 7-3 in the middle of the second quarter before the Jayhawks made a mistake that hurts them all too often, a turnover inside their 20-yard line. Oklahoma converted the interception thrown by quarterback Carter Stanley off the hands of wide receiver Evan Fairs into an easy touchdown.

From there, the rout was on, only Mayfield settled for a season-low 257 yards passing, but threw for three touchdowns with no interceptions.

Did that make the pregame slight of sportsmanship worth it for the Jayhawks?

"It wasn't any disrespect to them at all," contended linebacker Joe Dineen, one of three captains (all defenders) who represented Kansas at the coin toss. "It was more personality just trying to get us fired up and stand our ground. It was nothing personal against Oklahoma or Baker. It was just to let Oklahoma know that we weren't going to back down."

Kansas didn't, either. At least at the outset.

The defense recorded three straight three-and-outs before the Sooners cashed in on the interception. Oklahoma than added a late first-half touchdown, which was aided by two penalties against Kansas cornerback Hasan Defense, the first for an obvious late hit on Mayfield.

"I was just trying to make a play in the heat of the moment," Defense said. "It was a bonehead play by me and I shouldn't have done it. ... I felt pretty bad for letting my team down. Giving up free yards was something I definitely shouldn't have done."

Nothing came free for the Kansas offense, which was limited to 155 total yards and a 2.5-yard average per play. The Jayhawks were previously limited to 106 and 21 yards in losses to Iowa State and TCU, respectively, though Oklahoma came in allowing 414.2 yards on average.

The best opportunity for the Jayhawks to punch in a touchdown came when they had first-and-goal at the 2, only to have a bad snap in the wildcat formation result in a 10-yard loss. Kicker Gabriel Rui booted a 23-yard field goal with 14:17 left to cut the margin to 7-3, but the Sooners finished with 34 unanswered points.

Not a good sign for Kansas in its quest to beat an FBS, as well as a Big 12 opponent in 2017. The Jayhawks close the season with a Nov. 25 game at Oklahoma State (8-3, 5-3).

"We didn't finish the game good enough," said coach David Beaty, reiterating a common lament. "That score is not good enough. Those guys are mad. They're upset. I'm mad. I'm upset because I just know we're a better football team than what the score shows."

There was the coin toss at least. Beaty seemed to tacitly endorse the refusal of his captains to shake hands in his postgame remarks, but two days later issued an apology.

"That was absolutely unacceptable," Beaty said. "I've had a conversation with Lincoln Riley and I've apologized on behalf of myself and our team. I want to also apologize to, really, our stakeholders."

After the game, Beaty said: "We're not going to take it anymore. You're going to stick your feet in the ground and you're going to defend your grass. I think we've got to display it better than that, obviously, but I get it."

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