Kansas' players slowly filtered into the postgame press conference and settled into desks scattered throughout the room.

They talked about a handful of missed plays and mistakes, about disappointment and they talked about a frustration gripping each individual on the team.

Moments before, on the final home game for 15 seniors, the speed bump lingering in Kansas' season grew a little higher.

Nebraska 31, Kansas 17.

"It's been one of the more difficult things of my life so far," senior wide receiver Kerry Meier said. "It's definitely been tough. Nothing I've experienced like it in the sports aspect. I'm a frustrated guy right now and I think a bunch of guys are frustrated."

Kansas entered Saturday afternoon's game against Nebraska with hopes of snapping a four-game losing streak while also picking up a sixth victory to become bowl eligible.

Instead, the Jayhawks lost five consecutive games for the first time since 2002.

"We feel like we've had chances to win each and every one of those ball games," senior defensive back Justin Thornton said. "When it rains, it pours. And we're getting poured on tonight."

On Kansas' opening drive of the third quarter, Meier hauled in a pass from senior quarterback Todd Reesing and headed toward the end zone. But Meier was stripped from behind and Nebraska recovered the fumble at its own four yard line.

The Cornhuskers drove down the field for a field goal on their ensuing possession to take a 13-10 lead.

"It turned out to be a pretty pivotal point in the game," Meier said. "That took the wind out of our defense."

Then, midway through the fourth quarter, Kansas appeared to hold Nebraska on third and long. But Thornton was flagged for a facemask penalty when he made the tackle.

Nebraska running back Roy Helu Jr. scored a 20-yard touchdown run on the next play, giving the Cornhuskers a 24-17 lead.

"It was definitely one of those plays you wish you could have back," Thornton said. "That's why it's so disappointing. I feel like that play changed the outcome of the game. The whole momentum of the game shifted after that play."

A similar sentiment reverberated throughout the game: Kansas never seemed to make enough plays to win.

With slightly more than six minutes remaining in the game - and with Nebraska holding a 24-17 lead - Kansas' offense failed to put any points on the board. The Jayhawks punted after just three plays.

In the final five minutes - in desperate need of a stop - Kansas' defense simply couldn't get the job done. The Cornhuskers scored a touchdown with 29 seconds left in the game, putting the final touches on the victory.

"It's something that we have to get fixed as a defense because that seems to be the case," Thornton said. "We play good all the way to the fourth quarter. Then we give up a run right there at the end in the fourth quarter that makes it look like they whooped us. And that wasn't the case at all."

Added coach Mark Mangino: "It hurts. There's no question we needed a stop."

The loss puts more pressure on the Jayhawks to become more bowl eligible. With Texas - Kansas' next opponent - rolling right now, the final game against Missouri could likely determine the Jayhawks' bowl possibilities.

Still, Kansas' seniors spent much of the postgame press conference simply reflecting on their careers in Lawrence.

"I'm sure going to miss playing here," Reesing said. "There's no doubt about that. I've absolutely loved my time at Kansas. It's been unbelievable. I love every guy I've played with, all the coaches and all the fans. It's been a heck of an experience."

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