The Jayhawks travel to Norman on Saturday to face the 16th installment of the Bob Stoops Sooners. Oklahoma has the nation’s #9 offense and #47 defense, and an overall rank of 12, according to the F/+ rankings. At 7-3 on the season the Sooners have played very well against the lower tier teams and have seemingly been unable to compete with the big 3 of the Big 12. What should we expect from the Sooners this weekend?
The Oklahoma offense opens in a flurry averaging 2 touchdowns in the first quarter this season but tends to slow down as the game goes on. The co-coordinator ran no-huddle offense has produced the Big 12’s best rushing attack at 5.9 yards per rush. The rushing attack is led by freshman Samaje Perine who has already rushed for over 1,000 yards on the season. Backup quarterback Cody Thomas, who’s making his second start in place of starter Trevor Knight (neck), has contributed to the run game immensely with an excellent ability to make plays with his legs.
The passing game has fallen short with Knight’s injury. Thomas averages 5.1 yards per completion on 47% completion with 1 touchdown and 4 interceptions. If the quarterback can get the ball to the receivers look for Sterling Sheppard to continue his breakout year. The junior averages 19.1 yards per reception and has five touchdowns on the season. Expect Oklahoma to attack KU’s 99th ranked rush defense (5.0 yards per carry) allowing Thomas to open up and try to get the passing game working.
The defense remains the quintessential Stoops 3-4 bruising defense with swarming linebackers and a stout defensive line. The Sooners are currently 16th in the nation in rush defense holding opponents to 3.3 yards per rush. The Sooners weakness lies in their secondary which gave up 393 yards and four passing touchdowns to Texas Tech last week.
The Sooners have a prospective first-round draft pick in redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. Phillips is a special talent with a quick and resolute first step and excellent pull. Along with Phillips, sophomore linebacker Dominique Alexander lead the Sooner youth movement. Alexander leads the team with 87 tackles and has added two sacks. The Sooner pass rush definitely needs some work, the team is currently 67th with a sack rate of 5.7% and 76th with an interception rate of 2.4%.
The Sooners have won 4 straight home games and 9 overall against the Jayhawks. I don't think that ends now, Oklahoma 35-20.