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Dawg Preview: #23 Kansas vs. Oklahoma State

The #23 Kansas Jayhawks will look to become bowl eligible for the 2nd straight year, a first for the program since 2008-2009 when they travel to Stillwater to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Kansas is coming off a huge win at home against a struggling UCF Knights squad 51-22, while Oklahoma State is coming off a big upset win of their own over Kansas State 29-21 to gain a lot of confidence back after struggling most of the season so far. Let's have a look at the tale of the tape.

Broadcast Info: Kansas vs Oklahoma

When: October 14th, 2023

Time: 3:30 pm EST

Where: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Oklahoma

TV: Fox Sports 1

Calling: Jeff Levering and Mark Helfrich

Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Oklahoma State), Jayhawk Sports Radio Network (Kansas)

Tale of the Tape: Kansas

Kansas flexed their muscle in a big win over conference newcomers the UCF Knights, doing it, no less, without Preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Jalon Daniels. The Jayhawks have shown they have a complete team, especially when backup quarterback Jason Bean is given time to prepare, and can solidify their bowling status with a win over the Cowboys here. The Jayhawks' biggest strength is their run game, led by Devin and Deuce Moving Company Devin Neal and Daniel Hishaw Jr., the Jayhawks ran for 399 yards in their win over the Knights last week. Don't expect those yards to come so easy though against this Oklahoma State front, who has a ton of depth and size along the defensive line that makes up for lack of experience. That may just be it though, Kansas has a very experienced offensive line that can dominate the line of scrimmage and has done so against very good fronts such as BYU's. If Kansas can be physical up front once again, we may see another big showing from the All-Conference running-back tandem. If not, then Kansas has receiving options as well and if Bean can make good decisions could open up a new dimension of this offense, but should probably stick to the run as the Cowboy defensive backs had a pick party against Kansas State quarterback Will Howard last weekend. Defensively, the Jayhawks match up well against an Oklahoma State team that relies heavily on the passing attack, tallying around 225 yards a game. With starting quarterback Alan Bowman's completion percentage only hovering just about 50% though, these Jayhawk defensive backs could feast. Don't count out Oklahoma State just yet though, as while they do rely on the pass their run game is still something to keep an eye on with Ollie Gordon II averaging 6.3 yards a carry. Kansas's weak run defense means the Cowboys could expose that, if they can do it to a defensive front like the Kansas State Wildcats, they can certainly do it to the Jayhawks as well...

Tale of the Tape: Oklahoma State

The Cowboys got a huge confidence boost with a win over conference rival Kansas State. They will look to build off that when they face another Kansas school in the Jayhawks, a team that while they've handled in years past, trounced them last year 37-16 in a game that gave the Jayhawks bowl eligibility. Call it Deja Vu, but once again the Jayhawks will be looking to become bowl-eligible at the expense of the Cowboys, however, this time the game is in Stillwater. A great home crowd willed this Oklahoma State squad to a win last week, but can it happen again against what some would argue to be a tougher opponent? The Cowboys will have to find a way around this tough Kansas secondary, that way may be through utilizing the run game more than they usually do. Ollie Gordon II has been on a tear as of late, so it may be to their benefit to feed him and exploit this weak Kansas-run defense. This could cause Kenny Logan Jr and Cobee Bryant to cheat up and open up those passing lanes, which we have seen before with this Kansas defense. Bowman still has a completion percentage just above 50%, however, so you have to play your cards right if you're offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn. Defensively, you have to match physicality with physicality, which Oklahoma State did perfectly against Kansas State. Don't allow those running backs any room to breathe especially off the edges and force Jason Bean into making mistakes. Nathan Latu will be working overtime to keep these backs contained inside for Justin Kirkland to feast on. Getting pressure will be paramount on passing downs too, Jason Bean played in last year's matchup and destroyed the Cowboy defense both in the air and on the ground because he was kept upright and gained confidence. It cannot happen again, otherwise, Kansas will run away with it just like they did last year.

Conclusion and Final Score Prediction

Kansas vs Oklahoma will provide a tough road test for the Jayhawks, much tougher than it looks. However, given the learning experiences from the Texas game as well as the confidence built back from the UCF game, Kansas is as prepared as ever to take on a hostile environment for bowl eligibility. It won't be easy, but Kansas has a ton to play for and a chip on their shoulder with all the doubters they have. The Cowboys will look to play spoiler and definitely could if things go wrong for Kansas, but as of now Kansas showed that they can prevail and make a statement when they need to. Kansas by 10.

Final Score Prediction: Kansas 31-Oklahoma State 21


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