After a climatic week last week, the Oklahoma Sooners are hosting the Kansas Jayhawks in Norman. When you hear the name Kansas Jayhawks, the first thing that comes to mind is definitely not football. When you are looking at their 1-5 record, the typical assumptions are made: this is same ole’ Mark Mangino-less Kansas. Going a little deeper, you would see this is an improved same ole’ Kansas.
One of the main signs of improvement for the Jayhawks has been their defense. They held Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle to only 80 yards last week, when he had previously been averaging around 300. They have also forced 14 turnovers and if they want to stay competitive for any length of time, this trend will need to continue.
After pulling QB Dayne Crist last week, back up Michael Cummings came in and stole the show, digging the Rock Chalk out of a 20-point hole and putting them within reach of winning. Kansas head coach Charlie Weis did announce he would be playing both QB’s this weekend, but with Cummings’ arm and his performance last week, I’d expect we will see more Cummings than Crist.
The Jayhawks also have a decent running game with RB James Sims. He has only played in 3 games so far this season because of a suspension but is averaging a 100+ yards per game. Sims had 138 yards and a touchdown last week against the Pokes.
Oklahoma will build off their great ground game from last week again this week against the Jayhawks. I’d expect to see more from fullback Trey Millard, who had a phenomenal showing in the Red River Shootout. RB Damien Williams may also steal the show again. The Sooners would be smart to continue working on their running game this week with Notre Dame looming next week. Get the ground guys some more reps in.
Regardless of it being “just Kansas”, the Sooners need to take this seriously. Some people are calling this a possible trap game for Oklahoma. If it was a different team they were playing, I could see it. Especially after last weekend and the big game implications coming next week. Kansas is the worst team in the Big XII right now and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I’m not sure they have a trap game in them.
The Sooners have had a major turnaround in play over the last couple weeks and they need to keep the momentum going. Playing down to the Jayhawks won’t help anything. They should be able to handle them easily if they keep themselves in check and hold the turnovers to a minimum.