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2020 Season

Preview: Oklahoma State Looks To Jump Start The Offense Against Kansas

The Pokes hope to stay undefeated as the Jayhawks aim for an upset at home.

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Getty Images - Brian Bahr

The Kansas Jayhawks had just finished a furious comeback, tying the score at 20 with just under 7 minutes to go in the game with a short field goal. It looked like a tense finish was in order against the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Instead, Tyreek Hill took the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for the final score of the game.

October 11, 2014. That was the last time that Kansas was competitive in a game against Oklahoma State. Since then, these games have been characterized by breakout performances by various OSU players:

  • Backup QB J.W. Walsh passed for 2 touchdowns and ran for 3 more in a 58-10 win in 2015.
  • RB Justice Hill rushed for 162 yards and a score in 2016.
  • Three OSU WRs get 100+ receiving yards in 2017.
  • QB Taylor Cornelius (15-20, 312 yds, 4 TDs, 1 INT) and Hill (31 carries for 189 yards and 1 TD) dominated in 2018.
  • RB Chuba Hubbard (23 carries for 122 yards and 2 TDs and 2 catches for 42 yards) and WR Dillon Stoner (5 catches for 150 yards and 2 TDs) single-handedly destroyed the Jayhawk defense in 2019.

Kansas will try to stop the bleeding in a series that was fairly competitive until recently. The last Kansas win came behind the efforts of Todd Reeding in that magical Orange Bowl season in 2007. At that point, the series was tied at 29-29-2. The Cowboys have won the last 10 meetings.

Game Details

  • When: Sat, Oct 3, 2:30 PM CT
  • Where: David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS
  • Forecast: Partly Cloudy, 54F
  • TV: ESPN
  • Betting Line: OSU -23.0 O/U 54

No. 16 Oklahoma State Cowboys (2-0)

The Cowboys are coming off of two lackluster offensive performances against Tulsa and West Virginia behind backup QB Shane Illingworth, who was thrust into the role after an injury to Spencer Sanders early in the opener. RB Chuba Hubbard has taken a step back from his dominant season, and WR Rylan Wallace has felt the effects of altered timing with a new quarterback. RB L.D. Brown has stepped up big for the Cowboys, providing another weapon to help stabilize the offense. But the offensive line has been a real problem this year. It will need to improve quickly for the Cowboys to compete at the top of the Big 12.

For the defense, most of names that have terrorized opponents on the line are back. Amen Ogbongbemiga, Cameron Murray, Trace Ford and Calvin Bondage are off to a torrid start, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down. Where this defense can use some work is in the secondary. Open field tackling has been a weak point early in the season, but it hasn’t been bad enough that fans can’t expect it to improve as the schedule gets tougher.

Oklahoma State Keys To The Game

Early Pressure: Kansas has plenty of skill position players that can do damage, but they haven’t had time to get the ball to them. Oklahoma State will need to make sure that this continues, and they have the talent to do it.

Mix It Up: Kansas has had trouble dealing with varied attacks so far. Getting both running backs involved and spreading the ball around to multiple receivers can easily confused this young defense and open up options across the field.

Kansas Jayhawks (0-2)

It’s been a rough start for a team that was relying on spring practices and a robust off-season program to get this team ready to play. Last year, senior QB Carter Stanley had one of the best seasons for a passer since Todd Reesing, and there wasn’t a clear replacement on the roster. Senior Thomas MacVittie started the season behind center, but he rotated during the opener with junior Miles Kendrick. A MacVittie injury seemed to hand the job to Kendrick, but true freshman Jalon Daniels played the entire Baylor game. While new offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon’s system is said to be able to get success out of anyone, there hasn’t been much time for the coaches to find the right combinations of scheme and players to be successful over the course of a full game.

On the defensive side, the Jayhawks lost nearly their entire defensive secondary to graduation. The only notable names coming into the season were Corione Harris, who moved from CB to Safety after returning from his suspension for off-season legal troubles, and LB Dru Prox, who missed most of last season with an injury. The rest of the defense is young and inexperienced, although some players have started to show early promise.

With two early definitive losses, the rest of this season is going to be about building and getting experience for the next few seasons.

Kansas Keys To The Game

Protect the QB: Regardless of who plays QB, the offensive line play has to get better. If pass protection doesn’t last longer than 2 seconds, it’s going to be a long day for this offense.

Defend The Sidelines: Kansas has been getting killed on outside runs and passes down the sidelines. If they can keep the play in the middle of the field, they will have an opportunity to slow down the OSU offensive march and keep the game close.

Prediction

It’s hard to see how Kansas keeps this game close. In all facets of the game, the strengths of the Cowboys line up with the weaknesses of the Jayhawks, and Kansas isn’t poised to take advantage of the Oklahoma State weaknesses. There should be fireworks early, but I’m guessing that this one settles in by the end of the first quarter.

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