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Oklahoma State Preview

Fans finally return to Memorial Stadium.

Oklahoma State v Kansas Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Fans are finally being allowed to return to Memorial Stadium in Lawrence as the Cowboys of Oklahoma State invade the stomping grounds of Gale Sayers and John Hadl, both of whom will have statues unveiled outside the stadium at halftime.

PREGAME

Oklahoma State leads the overall series with Kansas 38-29-3. The Cowboys have won 10-straight matchups against the Jayhawks.

Kansas has never defeated a ranked Oklahoma State team. The Cowboys check in at #19 in the AP Poll this week.

Kansas has not defeated a ranked team since Georgia Tech in 2010, and has not defeated a ranked conference opponent since 2008 Missouri.

Among active players, Pooka Williams currently ranks second in the NCAA in average all-purpose yards per game, trailing only OSU’s Chuba Hubbard.

Last week, Jalon Daniels became the first true freshman to start at quarterback since Ryan Willis in 2015.

FIRST DOWN

Last week, Kansas did something we’ve been begging to see for most of the Les Miles era - start faster on offense! And they did! The Jayhawks went up 7-0 on Baylor - and then didn’t score again until the game was out of reach in the fourth quarter.

So we learned that simply starting fast isn’t enough. We need to see sustained offensive production - something that, if we’re honest, we simply haven’t seen much of in the last 12 years in Big 12 conference games. Kansas has got to figure out a way to move the ball and keep the OSU offense on the sidelines. (The reason why I say something like this every week is because it’s true!)

That’s easier said than done, however, as the Cowboys return most of their defensive production from last season, and have shut down their first two opponents this year, allowing 7 points to Tulsa and just 13 points to West Virginia.

SECOND DOWN

If MacVittie is healthy, he should play; at least, that’s my contention. However, shoulder injuries can be finicky things, so I would expect to see more of Jalon Daniels. Assuming he doesn’t get run over by OSU’s defense, he should once again play the whole game as well. The going may be rough in the first few games of Daniels’ career - after all, he’s still just 17 - but the payoff could be immense, as he appears to have all the physical tools.

THIRD DOWN

Kansas is one of three teams to have played at least two games this year and not created a takeaway on defense. That’s, uhhhh, not good, in case you were wondering. I know I talked about this each of the last two previews, but KU finished last season -12 in turnovers, and is currently -3 in 2020. There HAS to be a regression to the mean.

Right?

Doesn’t there?

Please?

A couple of turnovers, especially in the first half, could spark a KU upset.

FOURTH DOWN

I’m not sure I want to do this, but I have an obligation at this point...

S&P+ projects a 26-point Kansas loss, giving the Jayhawks just a 7% chance at pulling the upset. The Cowboys are ranked 28th in the updated version of this metric, while Kansas sits at #119.

ESPN’s FPI Matchup Predictor has about the same confidence level in the Cowboys, giving OSU a 92.1% chance at victory.

Sagarin is also similar with the other two, showing OSU as a 93% probability to win.

PREDICTION

This one doesn’t look good, folks. It’s another matchup that hasn’t been favorable - at all - for the Jayhawks lately, and I think it’s a case of “I can’t predict it until I see it.” It just seems like a lot of things would have to go right for Kansas to even keep this one close - multiple turnovers, or the offensive and/or defensive lines suddenly performing much better.

Considering how many players have returned on both sides of the ball, OSU has lofty expectations for this season, and despite lackluster offensive performances in their first two games, it doesn’t seem like they’ll let the Jayhawks derail those dreams. It’s just too difficult to predict anything other than another rough day for KU fans. Oklahoma State 55, Kansas 20.

EXTRA POINT

Kansas has lost to Oklahoma State by an average of 30 points over the past 5 matchups.