The Oklahoma Sooners will look to keep the momentum rolling and build on their blowout win against Texas last week when they take the field against the Kansas Jayhawks this Saturday in Norman, OK. Landry Jones and the rest of the Sooner offense is rolling after putting up 63 points against a Texas defense that was once thought to be the best in the conference.
OU Quarterback Landry Jones
The Kansas Jayhawks are coming off of a 20-14 loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a game which could easily gone the other way had it not been for a running into the kicker call that went against the Hawks giving OSU the ball back and a 1st down to enable the Cowboys to run out the clock.
The Sooners own a 69-27-6 all-time advantage against Kansas and have won seven straight. OU currently ranks ninth in the nation in scoring offense (43.2 ppg) while Kansas ranks 77th in scoring defense as they have given up 28.0 points per game.
OU will once again look to quarterback Landry Jones (who became OU’s all-time winningest QB with the win over the Longhorns) to pace the offense as he did so well the last two weeks against both Texas Tech and Texas.
“I think we are getting into a groove finally and we are starting to play like we wanted to at the first of the year,” said Jones. “I have some tremendous athletes around me that are very good at what they do and all I need to do is get them the ball and they will do the rest.”
Jones was 29-48 for 363 yards and 3 touchdowns the last time these two teams met in Lawrence and he aims to duplicate those numbers Saturday in Norman as his Sooners are tied for second in the nation with a Red Zone scoring percentage of 96.5 percent.
The Sooner ground game will look to junior Damien Williams (174 yards on 22 carries) and two other backs [Brennan Clay (8-62) and Dom Whaley (6-51)] to improve on their outstanding day last week in the Cotton Bowl. Williams has proved that he is a home-run threat but can also be a punishing runner as well as he has 528 yards on the season on 66 carries to go along with his 5 touchdowns. Junior Brennan Clay has been a nice change of pace back as he has started to show why the coaches were raving about him in the spring. Clay has added some weight and put on some extra muscle and it has shown as he has earned more playing time and has made the most of his opportunities (25 – 167 and 3 TD’s). Clay has contributed heavily in the return game as well as he has 178 total yards on kick-off returns. Senior running back Dom Whaley has started to show that he is back from his ankle injury as he is running hard inside and can be counted on if his number is called (38 carries for 241 total yards).
The Sooner offensive line has started to come into their own and to a man is playing good football. Last week, Lane Johnson and Daryl Williams shut down what many believed to be one of the best D-End combos in the country in Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat. Both were held to only one total sack on the day and the entire OU offensive line gave QB Landry Jones plenty of time to throw the football.
“I am really proud of our guys across the front,” said OU Offensive Line Coach James Patton. “They did an outstanding job against a very athletic and physical Texas defensive front and they just carried that over from the week before where they opened up running lanes and kept Landry (Jones) off the ground in Lubbock.”
With OU’s continued desire to establish their running game more and more, the progression of the O-Line is a welcomed sign to the OU coaching staff.
The Sooner wide receiving corps has become one of the best overall receiving corps not only in the conference, but in the nation as well. Led by junior Kenny Stills and senior Justin Brown, the “playmakers” as they like to call themselves have amassed 12.0 ypc, and 9 TD’s on the year and have done it by spreading the ball around to 7-8 different receivers.
“It has been a true pleasure to be able to mentor these young guys,” said Kenny Stills. “They all have come in and really caught on to our offense well and they have a burning desire to continue to get better and they want to make a name for themselves while they are here.”
Young players like Sterling Shepard (16-206-1) and Trey Metoyer (12-104-1), have complimented Justin Brown (20-227-2) and Stills (32-381-3) and others like Durron Neal, Jalen Saunders, Lacoltan Bester and now Trey Millard (11-165-1) have stepped up and have given QB Landry Jones multiple weapons to utilize in the Sooner passing attack.
Defensively, the Jayhawks will have their hands full trying to stop OU’s entire arsenal and they will look to senior safety Bradley McDougald who is tied for the team lead with 50 solo tackles and is also tied for the most interceptions on the squad with CB Tyler Patmon (2). Linebacker Ben Heeney and McDougald each lead the team with 50 tackles a piece and corners Greg Brown and Patmon have 67 tackles between them.
The ‘Hawks will load the box and try and stop the run forcing OU to go to the air and although it looks like a bad strategy, it is really the lesser of two evils.
“I think each team’s number one priority is to stop the run first and foremost,” said OU wide-out Kenny Stills. “If and when the defense is able to do that, we will just hit them through the air and get to them that way. We are fortunate enough that we have athletes all over the field and we can attack a defense multiple ways and that is what we plan on doing.”
Look for the Oklahoma offense to run up and down the field both on the ground and through the air on Saturday night and put up some gaudy numbers in the process. Landry Jones will pad his career numbers as will Damien Williams and the rest of the offensive unit. Fresno State transfer Jalen Saunders will start to establish himself as he gets more comfortable in the OU “O” and along with Sterling Shepard, have a big day over the middle. Stills will play both outside and in the slot throughout the game and should make some big plays there.
Even though the Jayhawks took Oklahoma State to the wire last week, look for the Sooners to name the score Saturday night as the Kansas defense will tire after spending most of the night on the field. Landry Jones throws for 300+ and the OU running backs will grind out another 200+ on the ground. Sooners roll in this one 55-17.