Saturday’s matchup between Oklahoma (6-1) and Kansas (0-7) won’t be on anyone’s radar as “the game to watch”, but it’s likely the Jayhawks show up ready to play as they try to take down Bob Stoops for the very first time.
KU is 0-10 against Stoops since he’s taken over as the Sooners’ head coach, and it’s likely he extends his streak to 11 this weekend seeing his squad is 40-point favorites on the road. On the other side, first-year Kansas coach David Beaty is still looking to get his first win as head man.
Getting a win will be no easy task for Beaty, as his KU team faces one of the top offenses in the nation. OU ranks No. 13 in the nation in total offense, and is looking to score 50 points or more in its third straight game.
“We’ve got to push ourselves this week to be better than we were last week,” Stoops said at his weekly press conference. “That’s what our mission will be as we prepare to go to Lawrence to play Kansas.”
The Jayhawks have the worst rushing defense in the entire nation, ranking 127 out of 127 FBS teams. Not only have they had some rough Saturdays stopping the run, but they have a matchup with OU running back Semaje Perine to look forward to. For those who don’t remember, last season Perine set a NCAA single game rushing record with 427 yards against the Jayhawks. It was a memorable day for the entire OU team.
“I remember blocking really well and him running really well by making people miss and running through some things. It was a total team effort,” Stoops said. “He knows he couldn’t have done it alone.”
It appeared early on in the season that KU wouldn’t have to suffer through tons of Perine carries since the Sooners primarily operate an Air-Raid offense that features mostly passes. That was until last week when Perine rushed for 201 yards against Texas Tech, while the offensive line looked to be much improved from earlier in the season.
“It’s always good when we’re running the football well, and it opens up the play action pass,” Stoops said.
OU quarterback Baker Mayfield should have no trouble finding open passing lanes with a thriving run game at his disposal, not to mention the Jayhawks allow opposing teams to throw for an average of 318 yards per contest.
Leading the Jayhawks in tackles is safety Fish Smithson with 65. It’s never good when someone from the secondary leads the team in tackles, but Smithson is still capable of making the big hit. Defensive end Ben Goodman leads the KU defense with 4.5 sacks followed by tackle Daniel Wise with 3.5 of his own. Safety Greg Allen has a team-high two interceptions.
Regardless of KU’s poor record and underwhelming stats, OU will need to make sure it doesn’t overlook the Jayhawks. Games such as these will be good for the OU offense to get even more in sync before they face a tough November schedule.