The next 279 days will be tough for Kansas football coach David Beaty.
The Jayhawks’ season ended Saturday with a 58-17 loss to No. 19 Oklahoma State at Boone Pickens Stadium. KU (1-11 overall, 0-9 in the Big 12) will not play a game again until Sept. 1, when the Jayhawks host Nicholls State to start the 2018 season.
“When we don’t win one, my life is terrible for about six days until we get back to that field,” Beaty said. “… If you sit right here in this chair, and you don’t prepare yourself and expect to win every game, why are you here? I truly expect to win every game we play, every single one of them. I know everybody that sits alongside of me in this chair expects the same thing. When you’re starting to build a program, they’re gonna feed off you, they’re gonna feed off what you see, what you feel.”
KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger released a statement after the game, announcing Beaty will return to Lawrence next year to continue coaching the program Beaty continually talked about building after KU’s loss to Oklahoma State (9-3, 6-3). KU has won three games since Beaty took over before the 2015 campaign.
“They understand and know the vision, and I’ve been very clear how we build it,” Beaty said. “Unfortunately, when you go through rebuilds, they are not always a quick fix. We are trying to do it the right way and do it with guys who have three or four-plus years to where we can develop.”
The program Beaty strives to be is what beat the Jayhawks on Saturday. Oklahoma State’s leaders were on display during Senior Day as the Cowboys became the first team in Big 12 history with a 4,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers. That feat was achieved thanks to three seniors — quarterback Mason Rudolph and receivers Marcell Ateman and James Washington.
“That’s a senior-led football team right there,” Beaty said. “One of my mentors used to always say, ‘You win with seniors.’ Those guys have been playing a bunch of ball now.”
While the Cowboyshad a four-year starter at quarterback, KU junior Peyton Bender made just his ninth career start, one of which was for Washington State in 2015. Bender started the first seven games of the season for KU before being replaced by Carter Stanley, who was under center the last four games. Stanley missed Saturday’s contest because of a knee injury and Beaty said the staff knew Thursday that Bender would start.
Bender was 17 of 32 for 172 yards and two touchdowns. His first scoring pass was a 33-yarder to Evan Fairs only seven seconds before halftime, giving KU its first touchdown of the game. Senior kicker Gabriel Rui put the Jayhawks on the board first with a 50-yard field goal in the first quarter while ending his career in his home state.
KU’s final points came on Bender’s second touchdown of the day, a 2-yard pass to Steven Sims midway through the third quarter. The score ended Oklahoma State’s run of 24 unanswered points that started early in the second quarter. The Cowboys ended the game with 17 unanswered points.
The loss was the Jayhawks’ 11th straight after starting the season with a win against Southeast Missouri.
“Obviously the season wasn’t what we anticipated and it wasn’t what we wanted,” Bender said. “But at the same time, I thought we showed glimpses of how good we can really be. At times I thought we played extremely well, but we gotta get extremely more consistent. This offseason we gotta get bigger faster, stronger. I know that’s cliché, but that’s what we gotta do.”