Oklahoma State makes its first true road trip of the season to Lawrence where it has won six straight. The Cowboys have been on easy street as of late after playing respectively in Jerry World where they opened the season with a loss to the defending champs.
The Cowboy offense averages 5.6 yards per play on the season on the heels of a dynamic top 15 passing attack (8.9 yards per pass). They spread the ball around plenty as three receivers have at least 14 catches and average more than 10 yards per catch. The running game averages 3.5 yards per carry (98th in the nation).
With J.W. Walsh’s injury, Junior Daxx Garman has emerged as a reliable substitution. Look for Garman to challenge the secondary early and often to open up the running game. Oklahoma State will look exploit the 5.4 yards per carry the Jayhawks currently allow. Keep in mind the Cowboys are currently 28th in the nation in explosive drives (drives averaging at least 10 yards/play).
The Jayhawks will try to take advantage of an offensive line that still hasn't found a rhythm and play calling that has yet to take advantage of their playmakers (cough…Reagan…cough). I hope to see the defensive line pressure Garman consistently and make it a long day for the signal caller.
The defense is giving 4.9 yards per play on the season, good for 49th in the country. Jayhawk fans decry the use (or lack thereof) of the dynamic RB tandem of Avery and Mann, but the Cowboy defense has been very stingy against the run allowing a mere 3.2 yards per rush (#21). The Cowboy pass defense is one of the worst in the Big 12 (274.2 yards per game, 98th). Not sure I see a scenario where that information is helpful to us, but there it is.
Depth is an issue with the Cowboys especially in the linebacker corps where junior Ryan Simmons (35 tackles, 3.5 TFL and a sack), sophomore Seth Jacobs (35 tackles, 2 interception, 3 BPU), senior Josh Furman (30 tackles, 7 TFL, 4 sacks) lead the way but an injury to one of those key players will substantially change the face of this defense.
WHO TO WATCH
It's all about the Freek. Tyreek Hill is a special talent and, if they can get him the ball in space, he will break even really great defenses down. He will be in the backfield, in the slot, out wide and in the return game, but if they continue to run him between the tackles then look for OSU fan protests to build.
KU hasn’t beaten OSU in Lawrence in 20 years and won’t overcome their own offense, OSU 41-10.