Kansas (1-5) at (10) Oklahoma (4-1)|
Saturday, October 20, 7:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: Coming off a pair of double-digit wins against what were thought
to be very good football teams, the 10th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners seemingly
catch a break with this week's visit from the Kansas Jayhawks.
Kansas has just one win in six opportunities to this point, with that victory
coming against FCS foe South Dakota State (31-17) in the season opener. Since
that time, the Jayhawks have lost five straight, the most recent of which
being a 20-14 setback at home to Oklahoma State last weekend. Following this
bout, KU will close out the season against Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa
State and West Virginia, which means securing that first win against a fellow
FBS team isn't going to be easy.
Since suffering a 24-19 loss to visiting Kansas State on Sept. 22, Oklahoma
beat up on both Texas Tech (41-20) and Texas (63-21), the win over the
Longhorns in Dallas last Saturday being the second straight rout by the
Sooners in the annual Red River Rivalry matchup following last year's 55-17
triumph. After this week's game, OU will play host to undefeated Notre Dame
before returning to Big 12 action the rest of way against the likes of Iowa
State, Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and TCU.
Oklahoma owns a commanding 69-27-6 lead in the all-time series with Kansas,
and the Sooner have won the last seven meetings.
The Kansas offense is the least productive of the 10 teams currently calling
the Big 12 Conference home, averaging a mere 19.0 ppg behind typical outputs
of 179.3 ypg rushing and 198.3 ypg passing. The team boasts three players who
have run for more than 300 yards on the season, with James Sims and his 344
yards leading the way. The trio, which also includes Taylor Cox and Tony
Pierson, have combined for eight of the club's nine rushing TDs. Notre Dame
transfer Dayne Crist has been relatively ineffective under center this year,
completing a paltry 49.4 percent of his passes for 1,088 yards with three TDs
and seven interceptions. A total of four guys have double-digit receptions on
the year, with Daymond Patterson pacing the unit with 19 grabs, while Kale
Pick has a team-high 248 receiving yards.
As for the Jayhawks defense, it yields 28.0 points and 433.7 total yards per
contest, with their effort against the run being especially worrisome as foes
grind out 200.8 ypg which ranks the team ninth in the conference. The pass
defense permits a middling 232.8 ypg, although that number would be
significantly better if there was more pressure at the point of attack, the
team logging a mere six sacks through the first half dozen games. Ben Heeney
and Bradley McDougald have 50 tackles apiece, and they have combined for seven
of the team's 28 TFL.
Despite a 138-yard, one-TD effort by Sims, Kansas failed to muster much in the
way of offensive production last week against Oklahoma State, that was until
the fourth quarter when it finally put some points on the board. The team
generated 398 total yards before it was all said and done, although Crist went
a dismal 10-of-22 for 136 yards. Backup Michael Cummings hit 5-of-10 pass
attempts for 75 yards, tossing a 21-yard scoring strike to Jimmy Mundine. Pick
finished with four catches for 74 yards.
Defensively, the Jayhawks held their own against the Big 12's top scoring
team, allowing the Cowboys just 116 rushing yards and a total of 371 for the
day. McDougald and Jake Love each logged a dozen tackles, with the latter
making three of his stops behind the line of scrimmage.
First-year head coach Charlie Weis praised the effort put forth by his
"I thought that [the defense] was very solid today. They stopped the run
pretty well. We gave up a couple of chunks but they really kept us alive into
the fourth quarter and gave us a chance to win. I'm really proud of their
Oklahoma possesses the third-best rushing offense in the Big 12, churning out
221 ypg and scoring 18 TDs on the ground. The passing game accounts for 285.4
ypg, and veteran QB Landry Jones has completed 62 percent of his attempts with
nine TDs against three interceptions. Kenny Stills is the top receiver with 32
grabs for 381 yards and three scores, while the OU run game is paced by Damien
Williams and his 508 yards and six TDs. All that production leads to a scoring
average of 43.2 ppg, which in the wide-open Big 12 has the Sooners ranked
fourth coming into action this week.
For the most part, the Oklahoma defense has performed well this year, with the
opposition averaging just 17 points and 300.2 total yards per game. The effort
against the pass has been top-notch, with those same foes airing it out for
only 171.4 ypg and a mere three TDs. The Sooners are giving up 128.8 ypg on
the ground, with only four rushing scores, and they have allowed the fewest
first downs (74) of any team in the league. Tony Jefferson currently sits atop
the team's tackles list with 37, while both Javon Harris and Aaron Colvin have
a pair on interceptions.
Oklahoma scored early and often in last week's showdown with Texas, the
Sooners finishing with whopping 677 yards of total offense, compared to just
289 for the Longhorns. Williams rumbled his way for 167 yards and a TD, while
Blake Bell made the most of his limited carries (11) by scoring four TDs. As
for Jones, he connected on 21-of-37 passes for 321 yards with two TDs and one
pick, hitting Trey Millard five times for 119 yards and a score. Justin
Brown had five grabs as well, taking them for 73 yards and a TD.
The Sooners defense did a solid nice job keeping the Longhorns at bay, holding
them to 74 net rushing yards while coming up with three turnovers in less than
23 minutes of game time on the field. Jefferson led the way with seven stops,
and he had one of the interceptions.
Not surprisingly, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was proud of the way his team
played against a formidable opponent.
"I'll just start by complimenting our players just for their really excellent
play today and their assistant coaches for really having a good plan and
having them prepared to play. I was really quite pleased to play so well in
every facet of the game."
Playing well in every facet of the game probably won't be necessary for
Oklahoma to win this game, but for the sake of consistency and building for
the future, expect the Sooners to be firing on all cylinders once again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma 56, Kansas 10
10/17 10:43:56 ET