Kansas once again hits the road as the Jayhawks head to Stillwater to take on the Cowboys of Oklahoma State.
Kansas (1-6, 0-4) clings to bowl hopes after
defeating playing the Oklahoma Sooners in a closer-than-the-scoreboard-said 35-23 affair last week. Meanwhile, OSU (6-1, 3-1) still has its Big 12 Championship dreams alive despite a 24-21 loss to Iowa State in Ames last week.
Oklahoma State has won 11-straight against Kansas, with KU’s last win in the series back in 2007.
Kwamie Lassiter has tied Richard Estell for 9th in the KU record book for career receptions. He needs six more to pass Clark Green, who is next on the list.
Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 in rush defense, allowing just over 94 yards per game.
Through seven games last year, the KU offensive line had allowed 38 sacks. Through seven games this year, they have allowed just 9 sacks, the best mark through seven games since 2005.
If I would have written this two weeks ago, or even seven days ago, I would have thought there’s no way Kansas would be competitive in this one. However, it seems like we see something like what happened last week once or twice a year out of Kansas. It also seems like KU goes out and gets smoked the next week after pulling off a “surprise” showing like that.
So if Kansas wants to show progress, now is the time. Don’t go out and lay an egg. If this game goes 55-13 or something similar, any and all momentum picked up last week is out the window. The game plan for this one should be the same as last week - control the clock, keep OSU’s offense on the sidelines, convert third and fourth downs, be aggressive early and try to put the pressure on the Cowboys.
After all, no one wants to be like Texas.
Oklahoma State brings a fairly mediocre offense into the matchup this year. As noted above, OSU has won the last 11 meetings, including the last six by an average score of 48-16. If the Cowboys are going to get into the 40s in this one, though, they’ll have literally accomplished something they haven’t done all year. In fact, OSU has only scored into the 30s twice this year, which is a stat you’re more likely to believe once I tell you the Cowboys rank in the bottom third of FBS in Passing Offense, Total Offense, and Scoring Offense.
OSU’s offense really hinges on which Spencer Sanders shows up - the good version who ripped K-State or the erratic one who struggled against Boise State and Tulsa. Defensively the Jayhawks rank near the bottom of FBS in Rush Defense, Total Defense, Scoring Defense, and even Net Punting. Therefore, it makes sense to think that Oklahoma State will be confident that they’ll be able to execute their offensive gameplan on Saturday.
The flip side of that, of course, bodes even worse for the Jayhawks. OSU claims the Big 12’s second best defense per Total Yards allowed; the Cowboys rank in the top-20 in FBS in Rush Defense and Total Defense. Although KU’s offensive line has performed admirably over the last five games, the Jayhawks will need for that to continue if they are to have a chance in this one.
Despite a good showing against the vaunted Sooners defense, Kansas still ranks near the bottom of FBS in Passing Offense, Total Offense, and Scoring Offense. The KU offense found ways to move the ball against all of the five-star recruits on OU’s defense - can they do the same again this week to Oklahoma State?
ESPN’s FPI Matchup Predictor is not too much different, giving the Cowboys a 97.3% chance of victory.
Meanwhile, Sagarin also prefers the Cowboys by a similar margin, giving OSU a 95% chance to come away victorious. Sagarin has Kansas ranked #134 and Oklahoma State ranked #9 (out of 258).
All the numbers say that this game should end up the way the OU game should have ended up - i.e., a 40-point Kansas loss. But Kansas didn’t lose to Oklahoma like that. So does that change our expectations at all?
Well, honestly? Not for me it doesn’t. Look, I like Lance Leipold. At the very least, I think he’ll get us back to where we aren’t the laughing stock of FBS. And don’t kid yourself, Kansas has been that for the last 10 years. As mentioned earlier, we see games like last week out of Kansas once or twice a year. The problem is, over the last 11 years nothing has really changed. Kansas has never built on those games.
Can Leipold really get things changed around in less than half a year? Maybe. But this is absolutely a case of “I’ll believe it when I see it,” and it may even be a case of “I’ll believe it when I’ve seen it more than twice.” The Cowboys are looking for a “get right” game on offense, and more often than not, Kansas has been more than happy to oblige.
Oklahoma State 44, Kansas 17.
Oklahoma State comes into this matchup ranked #15 in both major polls. Kansas has never defeated a ranked Oklahoma State team; that said, in the 71 all-time matchups between KU and OSU, the Cowboys have only been ranked 12 times. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 7 of those 12 matchups with a top-25 OSU squad have come over the last 8 seasons.