OU plays for first road win Saturday
Zach Butler, The Oklahoma Daily
What: No. 25 OU (3-3, 1-1 Big 12) vs. No. 24 Kansas (5-1, 1-1 Big 12)
When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
Location: Lawrence, Kan.
Venue: Memorial Stadium
• OU leads the all-time series 67-27-7, including a 31-15-4 advantage in Lawrence.
• OU has won five straight against Kansas since the Jayhawks won three in a row from 1995-97.
• OU and Kansas played 96 straight games against each other from 1903-97, ranking as the nation’s fifth-longest uninterrupted series.
Keys to the Game:
1) Old Friends. Bob Stoops and Kansas head coach Mark Mangino know each other better than Florida State players know the answers to their tests. OK, bad example. Nevertheless, the two men, both natives of Youngstown, Ohio, coached together at Kansas State under current Wildcat head coach Bill Snyder.
More importantly, Mangino was on OU’s coaching staff from 1999-2001, serving as the Sooners’ offensive coordinator for the 2000 national championship. Coaches tend to downplay history, but if either Stoops or Mangino are able to gain an advantage over the other then the scales would tip heavily.
2) Receiving Corps. Kansas wideout Dezmon Briscoe leads the nation in receiving yards per game (134.2) while fellow wideout Kerry Meier is second in receptions (9.00). Combined, the duo leads the NCAA in receptions per game (18.34), receiving yards per game (230.87) and career touchdown receptions among active duos (42).
The Sooners proved last week against Texas they are capable of playing brilliant defense against anyone, but in the event Kansas’ wide receivers continue their hot streak, OU’s counterparts need to be able to match their production.
3) On the Road Again. OU has laid a giant egg in the road victories column this season (0-3). One thing those three teams’ boasting wins over the Sooners have in common with Kansas: They were all nationally-ranked (and all still are).
OU desperately needs to prove it can win away from Norman. Like in the last three losses, that will likely come down to whether or not the Sooners can make a defensive stop on the final drive (see BYU and Miami) or score on the final drive (see Texas).
OU will win if: Landry Jones can get OU’s offense back to the level of production it churned out during his three-game stint as starter earlier this season.
Kansas will win if: Its defense can slow down Landry Jones and Co. enough to let its fourth-ranked scoring offense make the difference.
They said it:
• Bob Stoops on Kansas’ Todd Reesing: “He has really lit it up in the past couple of weeks, not that he was ever not doing really well. When things are there on time he has a quick and accurate release. But where he is really dangerous is when it isn’t there and he pulls it down, spins around and takes off. You have to do a great job at corralling him and getting pressure.”
• Senior offensive lineman Brody Eldridge on the team’s confidence in Landry Jones: “We’re very confident. You saw what Landry can do when he stepped up for those first three games when he was in there. There’s no question about what Landry can do.”
• Senior defensive back Brian Jackson: “They definitely have a great group of receivers. I have to give [junior wide receiver] Dezmon Briscoe credit. He did his thing last year. That gives me another reason to have a chip on my schedule.”