Les Miles returns to Stillwater for the first time since 2004 as he brings his Kansas Jayhawks to the land that Boone Pickens built.
Kansas has lost 9 consecutive matchups with Oklahoma State. KU’s last win was in November of 2007.
Kansas has not won a Big 12 road game since Iowa State in October of 2008.
Kansas has not defeated two conference opponents in the same season since 2008.
Kansas has never defeated a ranked Oklahoma State team. (OSU is currently #25 in the AP Poll.)
Oklahoma State leads the FBS with 18 offensive plays of 50 yards or longer.
You thought K-State ran the ball well? Wait until you get a load of Oklahoma State. Regarding KSU two weeks ago, I noted (in this very section):
It’s a top-40 rushing offense with a bottom-25 passing offense, so KU must make K-State beat them through the air.
Kansas obviously failed to make K-State one-dimensional. As a team, Oklahoma State is a top-10 rushing offense, with a mediocre top-70 passing offense. Both marks are considerably better than the Wildcats’ season numbers, so the Kansas defense REALLY has its work cut out for it on Saturday.
Even IF Kansas manages to make Oklahoma State attempt to win the game through the air, unlike K-State the Cowboys probably have the players with which to do so. While QB Spencer Sanders has just a 15-11 TD-INT ratio, he still averages over 8 yards per attempt. His favorite target is Tylan Wallace, a 2018 Biletnikoff finalist who has nearly half of OSU’s receiving yards on the season.
OSU’s Chuba Hubbard leads the nation in nearly every statistical rushing category. He averages 6.8 yards per carry and 178 yards per game. For reference, the second-leading rusher in the NCAA is AJ Dillon of Boston College, who averages 5.3 yards per carry and 145 yards per game. Dillon, if you’ll recall, gashed KU back in week 3 for 151 yards at a 5.6 ypc clip.
But somehow, the Jayhawks beat BC. How? By limiting BC’s big plays and getting off the field on third (and fourth) down. Limiting big plays will be key on Saturday, as Oklahoma State leads the FBS with 18 offensive plays of 50 yards or longer.
I’ll leave off the obvious “win on third downs” this time to say: Kansas must not fall behind early. In at least four games (BC, UT, TTU, KSU), Kansas has faced a deficit of at least two scores early in the first half. The offense has been taking too long to get rolling, and against K-State, it never left the station. Hopefully Dearmon has utilized this second bye week to get the engine tuned up, and I can leave these terrible auto shop puns in the dust.
Oklahoma State is currently ranked #29 by S&P+ with the #13 offense and the #57 defense.
Kansas dropped from #80 to #94 after the abysmal showing against K-State. KU has the #67 offense and the #97 defense.
I think it’s pretty obvious that Oklahoma State will most likely be able to do whatever it wants to against Kansas offensively. So then, the question becomes, will the Jayhawks be able to keep up on offense?
It’s possible. Kansas can’t afford to start slow, and they’ll likely need some stops and/or turnovers along the way. OSU has a veteran offensive line, so similar to last week, KU will probably struggle to push up front.
It could get ugly fast, but for some strange reason I have faith in Brent Dearmon, especially coming out of a bye. Kansas should be able to put up some points, but I don’t think they’ll be able to hang for four quarters. Oklahoma State 52, Kansas 35.
With Les Miles returning to Stillwater, this is the first time in the history of Oklahoma State football that the Cowboys face off against a former head coach.