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2019 Season

Preview: Cowboys Welcome Back Les Miles and the Jayhawks

Two of the nation’s best running backs will face off as Les Miles returns to Stillwater.

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Ed Zurga

A reunion of sorts is happening in Stillwater this Saturday, as Les Miles and his Jayhawks are visiting Mike Gundy and his Cowboys. For those who somehow do not know this, coach Miles was the head coach of the Oklahoma State Cowboys from 2001 to 2004. Coach Miles is also the person who brought Mike Gundy back to Stillwater. Which is why some consider Les Miles as the architect of this golden-age of Cowboy football. Fun fact about this coaching matchup also, this will be the first time Oklahoma State has played against a former coach, (should have happened 2011.)

Enough about the coaching matchup lets preview this game. Both the Cowboys and the Jayhawks are coming off a bye week, so both teams should be as fresh as possible at this point in the season. Oklahoma State’s previous game was one that saw them win on the back of a defense that played up to its potential and a strong running game led by Heisman hopeful Chuba Hubbard.

The Jayhawks’ previous game was against Kansas State and was not the outcome Jayhawk fans had in mind. The Jayhawks were not able to put together their offensive game plan and only were able to muster ten total points. Kansas and new offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon have had a week to evaluate what happened in the Sunflower State Showdown and prepare for Oklahoma State.

The all-time series record is 38-29 with an advantage Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have won the last seven meetings with the previous Jayhawk victory coming in 2007 during their run to the Orange Bowl. In the previous four meetings in Stillwater, the Cowboys are averaging 57 points, and the Jayhawks are averaging 15 points. Could this be another runaway game for the Cowboys? This Jayhawk team is different than previous Kansas teams, and Les Miles as Cowboy fans know is good for at least one major upset in a season.

Game Details

  • When: Sat, Nov 16, 11:00 AM CT
  • Where: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK
  • Forecast: Mostly Sunny, High of 62°F
  • Broadcast: FoxSports 1
  • Stream: FoxSports Go
  • Betting Line: OKST -17.5 O/U 67

Kansas Jayhawks (3-6)

BY ANDY MITTS

The Kansas Jayhawks had a week off to figure out how to move forward. Their last outing was supposed to be the most competitive Sunflower Showdown in at least a decade. Instead, Kansas suffered a humiliating defeat.

The Jayhawks were utterly dominated on both sides of the ball. Both lines couldn’t match the intensity of Kansas State. Carter Stanley couldn’t get a clean pre-snap read. He didn’t have enough time to make any reads post-snap. With nothing going on offense, the defense wasn’t able to stand up to the consistent pressure from the Wildcats.

Yes, it was brutal last week. But no one else in the conference is as dominant on the lines as that team. Kansas WILL be able to get the offense going again. The question is whether it will be enough.

Jayhawks Keys To The Game

Start Quickly – It seems like I say this every week, but Kansas can’t afford to keep playing from behind. It’s been a focus of the coaches, so it seems like it is rather important. Scoring on the first few drives should give them confidence and a cushion to work with.

Containment – The defense has to keep Spencer Sanders inside the pocket. They have real problems with mobile quarterbacks, but funneling everything into the middle of the field should help with both the pass rush and the running game. Chuba Hubbard is going to get yards, but they should be able to at least contain that output to some degree if they can focus inside the pocket.

Eliminate Mistakes – Whether it’s bad reads on offense, or missed blocks on special teams, Kansas needs to eliminate mistakes. These are all things that are theoretically fixable. The offensive line should be able to give Carter Stanley some more time. The special teams coaches have been hammering home blocking assignments and changing up snap counts. How quickly they clean it up will determine how well they will stay in the game.

Prediction

This Kansas team has shown the ability to score. Kansas State’s dominance was due to their unique abilities on the lines. The Jayhawks won’t have to face that again, and I don’t expect them to get shut down like that again.

Chuba Hubbard is going to have a fantastic day. But he won’t be able to do it alone. The Kansas defense should be able to get to Spencer Sanders enough that the game will stay close. But ultimately, I think the talent gap is just a bit too much for Kansas to overcome. It will never get completely out of hand. The Jayhawks will close the gap late. But the home team is going to theoretically stay alive in the race for an improbable spot in the Big 12 championship.

No. 22 Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-3)

BY HAYDEN DENNIS

Tell me if you have heard this one before. The Oklahoma State Cowboys have a home game and are double-digit favorites. Over the past three seasons, the Cowboys have a record of (18-10) when they are the betting favorites. Will the Cowboys be able to withhold Les Miles and his return trip to the Palace that Boone built?

In their first game without Tylan Wallace, the Cowboys came out strong with the running game. For this game against Kansas, who is giving up 235 yards per game and five yards per carry, Chuba Hubbard is going to be a focus again. This leads to our weekly Chuba Hubbard stat line update. Chuba now has 1,604 yards of rushing as well as 18 touchdowns, which are nationally first and second place respectively.

Quarterback Spencer Sanders had a good game against TCU, especially playing without Wallace. However, Dillion Stoner stepped up in his place, for the remainder of this season, it looks like there will be a receiving corp by a committee comprised of Stoner, Jordan McCray, Braydon Johnson, and Landon Wolf.

Coach Knowles has the Cowboy defense playing with some inspiration after the two-game skid against Texas Tech and Baylor. Over the previous two games, the Cowboy defense has forced seven turnovers, which has helped switch momentum and lead to Cowboy victories.

Cowboy Keys to the Game

Unleash Chuba: There is nothing worse for an opposing defense than seeing someone break off a 90 plus yard run; just ask TCU. If the Cowboys offensive line can lay down their blocks and open up holes for Chuba, he can put the Jayhawks away. Against TCU, there were moments in the game where the Horned Frogs were creeping back into the game. But Chuba was able to steal and swing the momentum back.

Avoid turnovers: The previous two games for the Cowboys, Spencer Sanders amassed four touchdowns and only two interceptions. Now it would be fantastic not to have any turnovers, but if Spencer can avoid the turnover bug and guide the offense like he has the potential to, then the Cowboys will be alright.

Defense, defense, defense: This Kansas offense can be explosive, and they can hang around in shootouts. Texas and Texas Tech showed that this Kansas team is not afraid to have a track meet, and they can win if given the opportunity. Malcolm Rodriquez and Co. need to stay calm and collected and play their game. Bring pressure, force quarterback Carter Stanley to rush his progressions, and cause turnovers.

Prediction

The Cowboys come out fast just like they did against TCU. A combination of Chuba, and passes to Stoner and McCray, forcing Kansas to play catchup. The Cowboy defense plays with the same level of intensity that they have had over the previous three weeks and put Kansas away early.

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