OU vs. Kansas: Sooners Have Not Lost to Jayhawks in 18 Years


Over 20 million people in the United States were not even alive the last time an OU vs. Kansas football game produced a Jayhawk victory?

The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl, defeating the New England Patriots, the then-Florida Marlins were the World Series champs and Michigan and Nebraska split the national crown in college football. Those were some of the major sports headlines in the year that Kansas last defeated Oklahoma in a football game.

The Jayhawks’ last victory over the Sooners came in 1997. Kansas defeated Oklahoma 20-17 that season in Lawrence, where the Sooners will play on Saturday, and it was the Jayhawks third consecutive win over a very sub-standard OU football team that had only logged a combined seven conference wins over three seasons (1995-97).

Oct 24, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; The Oklahoma Sooners celebrate after a touchdown against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the third quarter at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Needless to say, times are much different in 2015. Kansas has not won three games in the Big 12 in the last four seasons and has never beaten Oklahoma since Bob Stoops became the head coach in 1999. The Sooners are 10-0 under Bob Stoops against the Jayhawks and own a 72-27-6 all-time record over Kansas in football.

As a member of the Big 12, Kansas has won a total of 88 football games over 20 seasons. Stoops has won 174 at Oklahoma in 17 seasons.

All of this to say that there is a better chance of snow falling in Lawrence, Kan., on Saturday than the Jayhawks pulling out a victory over the Sooners. Not impossible, but highly, highly improbable.

Were talking about the nation’s 13th best overall offense – but just the fourth best in the Big 12 – going up against the nation’s worst team in total defense (127th among 127 FBS teams).

Oklahoma rushed for 405 yards last week against Texas Tech and had 232 yards on the ground against a good Kansas State run defense. The Jayhawks rank next to last in the Big 12 in defending the run, just above Texas Tech, allowing opponents an average of 238 rushing yards per game. This is just one of several highly unfavorable matchups for the Jayhawks.

Nov 15, 2014; Lubbock, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Samaje Perine (32) rushes against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the second half at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Sophomore running back Samaje Perine ran for 201 yards a week ago against Texas Tech. Kansas knows all about the damage Perine can do on the ground. He set an NCAA single-game record last season, gashing the Jayhawks for 427 rushing yards, an average of 12 yards per carry, in a 44-7 Sooner runaway.

Oklahoma piled up 510 yards on the ground against the Jayhawks in last season’s contest. Kansas managed just 19 total rushing yards as a team in the game.

If the Sooners are able to establish the run game, as they have in winning big over their previous two Big 12 opponents, it will make the Kansas defense relatively easy pickings for quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Sooner pass offense, which ranks 18th in the country, but only 4th best among the loaded pass offenses in the Big 12. Of double concern to the Jayhawks when OU throws the ball is the glaring fact that the KU defense has not put up much resistance to the passing teams its has faced this season, allowing a Big 12-worst 319 yards per game through the air.

Four Key Factors in the Game

Make the Sooners drive the length of the field: The Jayhawks cannot afford to give Oklahoma a short field in which to operate. The longer the Sooners must drive to score, the better chance of them making a mistake – costly penalties, turnovers and other factors that could weigh in favor of the Jayhawks. Kansas has the worst punting average in the conference (32 yards per kick). The Jayhawks must do better than that if they want to pin the Sooners deep in their own territory.

Stop/slow down the Oklahoma run game: If the Sooners get the run game going, it will mean “Katy bar the door” time for Kansas. The more balanced Oklahoma is in its offense, the more lethal the Sooners will become moving the ball and the more out of hand the game will become.

Time of possession: Kansas’ best and perhaps only defense against the Sooners could be ball control and keeping its offense on the field, thereby keeping the OU offensive weapons on the sidelines and the leaky Jayhawk defense off the field. That is much easier said than done, but the Jayhawks don’t have much of a chance otherwise.

How Seriously Will the Sooners Take This Game? I would be surprised to see Oklahoma come out as fired up and determined in its second trip to the Sunflower State this month. The Sooners are by far the more talented and better team, but I don’t expect to see them exert their will and dominate the game the same way they did at Kansas State two weekends ago. Having said that, I don’t expect this one to be a close encounter, either.

My pick: Oklahoma 49, Kansas 10 – This should be the easiest win the Sooners will have all season, but it won’t be their best effort by far. Trevor Knight could see quite a bit of action in this one.