There are a number of different storylines that have occurred for the Kansas football team this season. From beating Oklahoma for the first time since 1997 to ending the 15-year road losing streak to Iowa State, it’s been an eventful season for the Jayhawks with more still to come.
But perhaps no storyline has been greater or more important for this team than the play of quarterback Jason Bean.
Bean was thrust back into the starting role for the Jayhawks in week one following an injury to Jalon Daniels’ back. That injury flared up again before the Texas game and Bean was asked once again to step up for his team, and he has answered the call in a big way.
Despite the lopsided loss to Texas, Bean had the Jayhawks within one score halfway through the third quarter. In the loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Bean admittedly had some mistakes down the stretch, but he still managed to throw for more than 400 yards and 5 touchdowns after having zero-to-little preparation with the first team offense during the week.
Then a couple weeks later, Bean led the Jayhawks to perhaps their biggest regular season win in more than 20 years with an upset victory over the Oklahoma Sooners.
It was the first win over the Sooners since 1997 and it was the first win over a top-10 team since KU beat Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. It was also likely the last time the two teams will face each other as the Sooners head to the SEC next year.
The win made the Jayhawks bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2008.
He followed that performance up by leading the Jayhawks to a win over Iowa State in Ames – something that also hasn’t happened since 2008.
The win put KU at 7-2 on the season and square in contention for the Big 12 title game as the Jayhawks are currently ranked third in the conference standings.
It’s been nothing short of impressive what Bean’s been able to accomplish this season. Has he been perfect? No. But he picked up the mantle when his team needed him most and now has the Jayhawks in contention for the Big 12 championship and their highest-profile bowl game appearance in 15 years
He’s earned the respect of his teammates, his coaches, and he’s earned the starting role for this team going forward.
Daniels has the higher upside, there’s no denying that, but due to his proclivity for injury he cannot be counted on week in and week out. And even if he is physically able to go, is that what’s best for this team right now at this stage in the season?
The team has been flourishing on offense with Bean at the helm, and a switch back to Daniels would almost certainly change the momentum and connection they’ve built the past few weeks.
We know as much about Bean as a starter at KU than we do Daniels at this point due to the number of games he’s missed. Not to mention, Daniels could retain his redshirt eligibility if he were to sit the remainder of the season.
The team has also rallied behind Bean in a big way. He’s their leader and he’s proven himself week after week. He can handle the role and this team can reach all their goals with him under center – they’ve shown that these past few weeks.
Bean has earned the starting job, and it should be his to lose from this point forward.