OU Football Point After: Sooners Hammer Hapless Hawks


ESPN predicted the visiting OU football team had a 99 percent chance of winning at Kansas this weekend. Make that 100 percent.

If you follow this OU Sooner sports site, you may have noticed that there was not a “Where Do the Advantages Lie?” article this week. That is because the non-basketball version of the Kansas Jayhawks did and does not own any advantages over Oklahoma, save for perhaps the fact that the game was played at Kansas.

Even the slight edge of owning the home field, though, was marginal at best, given that OU fans made up a good number of the 26,000 that were in attendance for this game.

Oct 31, 2015; Lawrence, KS, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws a pass against the Kansas Jayhawks in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

In Oklahoma’s two October visits to the state of Kansas, the Sooners stormed through the Sunflower State, crushing both opponents on their respective homecoming weekends. OU first crushed Kansas State and then, two weeks thereafter, flattened Big 12 cellar-dweller Kansas, outscoring both teams by the ridiculous combined margin of 117-7.

The Sooner offensive unit, going three-deep by the end of the afternoon, rolled up and down the field virtually at will rolling up a season-high 710 yards of total offense, almost 500 more than the young and far-inferior Jayhawks. An FCS (Football Bowl Championship) team probably would have posed a stiffer challenge to the No. 14-ranked Sooners, who are now 11-0 against Kansas since Bob Stoops became the OU head coach.

After the first 15 minutes of play, the Oklahoma offense had outgained Kansas in total yards 248-41 as well as building a 21-0 advantage on the scoreboard.

The loss also represented the 11th straight for the Jayhawks, dating back to last season.

The Jayhawks’ lone score came on an Oklahoma turnover, a muffed fair catch by Sterling Shepard on a punt, giving Kansas a short field and what turned out to be the Jayhawks only real scoring opportunity in the game. Kansas turned the OU turnover into a short drive of 29 yards and a touchdown on the opening play of the second quarter. Otherwise, this game just as easily could have been a second straight Sooner shutout in as many trips this season to the land that borders the Sooner State to the north.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield had another banner day, completing 27 of 32 passes for 383 yards and four touchdowns in just two and a half quarters of work on Saturday. He has now thrown for over 300 yards in a game four times in eight games this season and for four or more touchdowns three times.

The junior transfer from Texas Tech now has 2,470 passing yards in 2015. That is just 200 yards shy of OU’s total passing yards all of last season, and his 25 TD passes in eight games are 8 more than the Sooners posted in 13 games a year ago.

Oct 31, 2015; Lawrence, KS, USA; Oklahoma Sooners tight end Connor Knight (89) celebrates with wide receiver Grant Bothun (84) after catching a touchdown pass against the Kansas Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium. Oklahoma won the game 62-7. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Shepard had a season-high 11 receptions in the game for 183 yards and was one of 10 OU receivers to catch a pass, including one by Connor Knight for a touchdown, thrown by his twin brother, Trevor Knight. It was a great storyline in an otherwise one-sided game, and a special moment for Connor, making the first catch of his college career and having it come from his brother and result in a touchdown.

The Oklahoma offense looked spectacular all day long, but even though the Sooner defense allowed Kansas only 210 total yards in the game and only 107 in the second half, when most of the OU starters were out of the game, their were times when Oklahoma did not look particularly crisp and a little passive in defending Jayhawk pass routes.

Granted, the Jayhawks did not have a play of longer than 24 yards the entire game and didn’t really pose much of a scoring threat, but the Sooners are clearly going to have play much tighter defense, particularly on pass routes, against much tougher opponents in the remaining four weeks of the season. Another area that is troubling for the OU offense looking ahead is ball protection. The Sooners turned the ball over twice on fumbles against Kansas, their seventh and eighth fumbles lost in 2015. They only lost seven fumbles all of last season.

Baylor, Oklahoma State and TCU, three of OU’s next four opponents all thrive on forcing turnovers, something the Sooners have to do a better job of preventing.

Notwithstanding the breakdowns in the Red River game with Texas, the Oklahoma defense is definitely playing more inspired and much-improved football from a year ago. It is pretty hard to criticize a defensive unit that stands No. 1 in the Big 12 in a handful of defensive categories, including scoring defense (18.4 points per game), pass defense (allowing 168.4 passing yards/game), pass efficiency defense and total defense (321.4 yards/game). The big test, however, still lies straight ahead.

“We know what’s coming. That’s why we’re preparing,” OU quarterback Mayfield said to reporters in the Kansas postgame press conference.

"“We knew from the beginning that our toughest three games were at the end of the season,” Mayfield said. “Obviously, you have to win one game at a time with Big 12 play, but we knew that our little gauntlet at the end was the most important.”"

That gauntlet to which Mayfield refers begins in two short weeks. But Oklahoma still has Iowa State, 24-0 winners over Texas, the one team to beat the Sooners this season, to contend with before getting to those critical final three games.

The good news is that OU has a 16-game winning streak over Iowa State, the Sooners longest active winning streak against a Big 12 foe. The bad news: Iowa State’s last victory over Oklahoma came in Norman, a 33-31 upset over the Sooners in 1990.