Oklahoma football: Sooners take care of business at Kansas

LAWRENCE, KS - NOVEMBER 18: Quarterback Baker Mayfield
LAWRENCE, KS - NOVEMBER 18: Quarterback Baker Mayfield /

It was particularly pretty by Oklahoma football standards, but the Sooners did what they needed to do on Saturday against a bad Kansas team.

In a number of games this season, Oklahoma has jumped out of the gate quickly, leaving its opponent choking on the Sooners’ offensive dust, only to take their foot off the pedal a little in the second half of the game. The exact opposite was the case at Kansas on Saturday.

Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma offense appeared sluggish and a bit tentative early, gaining just 170 yards of total offense and 21 points over the opening 30 minutes.

A brisk wind out of the north had something to with the Sooners’ erratic first-half performance, making it difficult to throw the ball down the field, which is something that Oklahoma has done more often and more effectively this season than any other team in the nation.

Oklahoma led 7-0 after one quarter. The Sooners second touchdown came on a gift from the Kansas offense. Jayhawk quarterback Carter Stanley was intercepted by OU linebacker Emmanuel Beal at the KU 11-yard line, and the Sooners punched it in the end zone three plays later on 3-yard TD run by senior Jordan Smallwood.

The last of Oklahoma’s three first-half touchdowns came with 10 seconds remaining in the first half on a 24-yard catch and run by Sooner wide receiver Marquise Brown. Mayfield had only 105 yards passing in the opening half, his lowest total of the season.

With the wind gusts less problematic in the second half, the OU offense starting looking like its old self, with Mayfield connecting with open receivers downfield. The Sooners were forced to punt on their first possession of the second half, but scored on their next three – a touchdown, a 27-yard field goal by Austin Seibert and another touchdown.

That gave Oklahoma a 38-3 lead with over 12 minutes remaining in the game. The Sooners added a 32-yard field goal later in the final quarter to finish out the scoring for the afternoon. OU could have probably scored one more time, but chose to run out the clock and call it a day at the Kansas 35-yard line, with backup quarterback Kyler Murray taking a knee on two consecutive downs to end the game.

Oklahoma Sooners Football
Oklahoma Sooners Football /

Oklahoma Sooners Football

The much-maligned Sooner defense held Kansas to 155 yards to total offense (123 passing, 32 yards rushing).

Mayfield finished with 20 of 30 passing for 257 yards and three touchdowns and running back Rodney Anderson rushed for 77 yards on 16 carries before leaving the game in the second half with an injury.

Mayfield has now thrown 122 touchdown passes in his college career, which puts him one away from Landry Jones, the Oklahoma career leader in that category.

The game became chippy on both sides right from the opening coin toss. The Kansas captains refused to shake Mayfield’s hand during the coin toss, keeping their hands clasped behind their backs. Mayfield responded with a hand clap and a few choice words, and the back and forth between the two sides continued throughout the game, resulting in several unnecessary personal foul call and a questionable no-call on what appeared to be a first-half targeting by Kansas defensive back Hasan Defense against Mayfield.

The win, the Sooners 10th of the season with just one loss, clinches a spot in the Big 12 Championship on Dec. 2, most likely against TCU.

Oklahoma closes out the regular season next weekend with a home finale against West Virginia (7-4 overall and 5-3 in the Big 12).