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Dawg Preview 10 Oklahoma Sooners vs Kansas Jayhawks

The Jayhawks are coming off their bye week, and not only are they jumping right into Homecoming weekend, but they're welcoming Big 12 leader and #10 ranked Oklahoma to Lawrence. After coming off a loss to Oklahoma State and going into perhaps the biggest game of the season, the Jayhawks needed this past week off, as Oklahoma looks primed and ready to run the table in this year's Big 12. This week off to rest, reflect, and prepare gives them as good of a chance as any to spoil Oklahoma's chances, let's look into the details of Saturday's Big Noon Kickoff matchup and see how this contest could go for both squads.

Broadcast Info:

Date: Saturday, October 28th, 2023

Time: 12:00 pm EST/ 11:00 am Local

Where: David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium


Calling: Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt, Jenny Taft

Radio: 105.9 KISS FM, Jayhawk Sports Network (Kansas)/107.7 The Franchise, Sooner Sports Radio Network (Oklahoma)

Betting Line

Oklahoma -9.0

Over/Under: 65.5

Tale of the Tape: Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas is in an interesting spot right now. Before this past week being on bye, the Jayhawks lost a heartbreaker in Stillwater to the Oklahoma State Cowboys, a game they could have easily won if they just kept their foot on the gas offensively. Nonetheless, though, that is in the past, and the Jayhawks have been working during this bye to prepare for their next challenge, and the biggest one at that, in the Oklahoma Sooners. This being said, a lot of talk surrounding Kansas has mainly been around the status of their star quarterback Jalon Daniels. Daniels is suffering from back issues that have plagued him this entire season, and much to the chagrin of some has been kept out of multiple contests this year where the Jayhawks could have really used him. This contest will likely be no different, as Daniels is listed as doubtful. This being said, backup Jason Bean has shined through this adversity, only being held back by some questionable late-game play-calling in the loss to Oklahoma State. Bean threw for 410 yards and 5 touchdowns, masterful and unexpected work from a quarterback on a run-heavy football team. The Jayhawks will still look to balance out their offensive attack, however may want to shift focus back to the run game with this upcoming contest. The forecast looks rainy and gloomy, which could benefit the Jayhawks being that they are run first, and quite good at it at that. Devin Neal is one of the top backs in the nation, and Daniel Hishaw is not far behind as his backup. Oklahoma's run defense ranks 33rd in the nation, allowing an average of 118.7 yards per game on the ground. Kansas's ground attack ranks 12th in the nation, rushing for 212 yards per game. This will be the matchup to watch between Kansas's offense and OU's defense, and if the Sooners cannot stifle this dominant Kansas run game much like the Cowboys did, only allowing 90 yards and not giving up a score on the ground, they could be in for a world of hurt dealing with a unit that will have a chip on their shoulder.

Defensively, the weather may benefit the Jayhawks once again, as slowing down the Sooner passing attack will be imperative in keeping this game competitive. Oklahoma is the 7th-ranked passing offense in NCAA Division 1 at the moment, tossing the ball for an average of 328.6 yards per game. While the Jayhawk secondary is formidable, having to defend against that will prove to be a challenge, and any advantage they can have is welcome. The Jayhawks will have to stifle the run too, which they failed to do against the Cowboys. The Sooners rank 51st in rushing offense and Marcus Major is no Ollie Gordon II, but this Kansas run defense has been severely lacking all year. They will need to step up and force the Sooners to throw in bad conditions against their stout secondary, and even then the Jayhawks will need to capitalize on poorly thrown balls. They failed to do so against the Cowboys, and allowing any second chances in this game will hurt a lot more.

Tale of the Tape: Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma wants to put itself in a prime position to make a run at the College Football Playoff. That starts with running the table this season and continuing their undefeated streak. While the Sooners are riding high they cannot take this Jayhawk team for granted. They're coming off a loss, they've had an extra week to prepare, it's their homecoming game, and it will be less than ideal conditions for throwing the football with a Sooner offense that relies heavily on it. This being said, Dillon Gabriel can still be lethal on his feet and Marcus Major is still a back that can slice through this weak Jayhawk run defense. Counting on the run isn't what the Sooners would like to do, but they can certainly make do with what they've got. Gabriel rushed for 22 yards and Major rushed for 82 to contribute to the Sooners' 189 total rushing yards last week vs. UCF, however, if you remember correctly Kansas ran for 399 total yards against the same defense. Keeping up with the Kansas run game may be a tough ask, but it's doable against a defense still trying to figure out how to adequately stop the run. If all else fails, short, choppy passes may be the way to go, as the Kansas linebackers aren't super equipped to stop a screen or pass to the flats either.

Defensively, the Sooner's #1 goal in this game is to make sure the run game does not gain steam. This means being physical at the line of scrimmage and dominating this offensive line much like the Cowboys did in the second half of their game against the Jayhawks. It's plenty doable with the weapons the Sooners have on their front seven like Ethan Downs and Danny Stutsman. This defense did get shell-shocked last game by UCF's offense though, as John Rhys Plumlee threw for 248 yards and 2 touchdowns while RJ Harvey ran for 101 yards on 23 carries. They cannot allow any room for guys like Devin Neal or Jason Bean to breathe and get confident, otherwise, they could get shredded by an offense far superior to that of the Knights when at their best.

Conclusion and Final Score Prediction

This game will be closer than many people think. Kansas under Lance Leipold has been in basically every single game they've played in, and this game will be no different especially if the Sooners come out flat as they did last week. If the Jayhawks can execute, be confident that they can play with the juggernauts of this conference, not get complacent if they do get up on the Sooners, and overall, just play physical, motivated football, then this will be a shootout for the ages and Kansas has every opportunity to come out with a huge win. Things will need to go right in basically every facet though, and every mistake made will be capitalized upon if Oklahoma is on their A-game. This being said, Oklahoma showed cracks in the armor this past week, they're vulnerable and Kansas has been hard at work during the bye week to draw up exactly how to expose those weaknesses. Lance Leipold is very, very good at what he does despite the criticisms he's faced, and knows what to do in situations such as these and how to coach with a chip on his shoulder. The underlying conditions all favor Kansas as well, such as the weather, a Homecoming sellout crowd, and bowl eligibility on the line, among others. With all underlying factors being taken into account, if Lance Leipold and the Jayhawks can execute and make the right decisions, they will make this one a tight contest to the very end and will shock the world with the narrow upset victory.

Final Score Prediction: Kansas 38- #10 Oklahoma 35


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