|No. 19 Oklahoma State looks for positive ending|
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State and Kansas meet Saturday amid disappointment.
For the No. 19 Cowboys (8-3, 5-3 Big 12), there is lingering disappointment from last week's 45-40 loss to Kansas State that knocked them out of contention for the conference title game and a big bowl.
For the Jayhawks (1-10, 0-8), the disappointment is ongoing, extending weekly with a losing streak that has stretched to 10 games. Making matters worse, Kansas coach David Beaty finds himself needing to apologize -- not for the mounting losses, but for his players' behavior after the team captains opted not to shake hands at the coin toss before last week's loss to Oklahoma.
"First of all, that was totally unacceptable," Beaty said Monday. "I've had a conversation with (Oklahoma coach) Lincoln Riley, and I've apologized on behalf of myself and our team.
"I want to apologize really to our stakeholders, our Jayhawk fans, Jayhawks currently and all of the ones before us, because it means more to be a Jayhawk. That was a situation where we needed to make a better decision."
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy isn't so much apologizing but lamenting his team's slow start in the loss to Kansas State -- a trend for the Cowboys in three home losses that left them unable to post a winning record at Boone Pickens Stadium for the first time since 2005.
The Cowboys trailed the Wildcats 42-13 before rallying late, even getting the ball with a chance to win with more than two minutes to play.
"For whatever reason, I can't figure out what I'm doing or not doing that keeps us from showing up in the first half of our home games," Gundy said. "We all need to look at ourselves and figure out what's going on."
The start Saturday wouldn't project to be a problem for the Cowboys, who opened as a 40-point favorite over Kansas. It will be Senior Day, too, with a positive sendoff expected from fans getting one final chance to offer their appreciation to stars such as quarterback Mason Rudolph and wide receiver James Washington.
Oklahoma State has won seven straight in the series and 12 of the past 13. The numbers suggest a one-sided matchup this year, too:
--The Cowboys rank No. 1 nationally in passing; the Jayhawks are No. 121 in passing yards allowed.
--Oklahoma State is No. 2 in total offense; Kansas is No. 111 in total defense.
--The Cowboys are No. 2 in scoring; the Jayhawks No. 127 in scoring defense.
--The Kansas offense ranks No. 110 or worse in rushing, scoring and total offense. Oh, and the Jayhawks are No. 126 in turnover margin.
"Yeah, they're good," Beaty said about Oklahoma State. "They're big, but they're fast and they're talented. Yeah, they've got a good football team, man. Really, really good football team.
"I think a lot of it to me that sticks out is those guys, they've got a lot of experience."
Beaty, in his third season as Kansas coach, yearns for experience as he continues a massive rebuild of the program. While the Jayhawks haven't won since the season opener, he finds positives in what they are doing.
"Resiliency is the thing that sticks out to me, because they continue to come out each week and they practice as hard as any team I've ever had," Beaty said. "They continue to work towards developing, and they block out distractions, and they continue to see the vision, and they continue to march towards it."
The Cowboys are seeking their own version of resiliency.
Oklahoma State's major goals, a Big 12 title and a spot in the College Football Playoff, are unattainable. For a veteran team with a collection of playmakers, this season always will carry some level of disappointment.
"Yes, this was a special group," Gundy said. "Does that part eat on me that they couldn't get to whatever their ultimate goal was? Yes, it does. But life is full of events that make us feel not so good about things, which is why we believe in systems and things that say, 'Let's keep rolling.'
"Until you can't draw another breath, you have a chance."
The Cowboys still have a chance at 10 wins and a good bowl destination. And the seniors get one more chance to play before the home crowd.
"I'm really happy about the time I've had here at Oklahoma State," senior linebacker Chad Whitener said. "Finishing out the right way is how I want to go out."