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OU football: 3 keys for Sooners against Kansas

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Lamb

Junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb runs down the field during the game against Texas Tech Sept. 28.

The No. 6 Sooners (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) played arguably their most complete game of the season in their 55-16 win over Texas Tech (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) Saturday, as the offense continued to be elite and the defense only allowed one touchdown. 

Now, the Sooners are traveling north to face Kansas (2-3, 0-2 Big 12). The Jayhawks are fresh off a 51-14 loss to TCU, and are looking for their first win in conference play.

Here are three keys for an Oklahoma victory:

Don't allow Pooka Williams Jr. to dominate the run game

Kansas was able to run at will against Oklahoma's defense in the 2018 game, and Williams Jr. had a lot to do with that. The running back had 15 carries for 252 yards and two touchdowns.

After sitting out of Kansas' first game due to suspension, Williams has gained 308 yards and a touchdown. TCU did a good job of containing Williams by only allowing him to gain 12 yards on the ground.

If the Jayhawks' offense has success on Saturday, Williams Jr. will likely have a lot to do with it. The Sooners haven't played a running back as good as him, and Williams will be a good test to see just how legitimate the Oklahoma's defensive success is.

Maintain success in stopping teams on third down 

Oklahoma's defense has shown clear improvements over 2018, but their most impressive statistic is their third down defense. The Sooners rank second in the nation in third down defense by only allowing conversions on 19.6 percent of attempts.

This has been a crucial part of reforming the defense, as the Sooners are able to get the ball back in the hands of quarterback Jalen Hurts and the rest of the team's offense. 

The Sooners' best third-down performance was against Texas Tech, when the Red Raiders were only able to convert one third down on 14 attempts. This gave more opportunities for the offense to put points on the board. 

Kansas ranks 94th in the nation in third down conversion percentage (.362). If the Sooners can repeat their third-down performance from last week, then they should be able to allow minimal points.

Keep humming on offense

At this point, no one expects Oklahoma to not have an offensive outburst every game.

In Lincoln Riley's third year as head coach, the Sooners' have continued to have a reputation of being one of the country's highest-scoring and most innovative offenses. Through four games, the Sooners are fourth in the country with 50.7 points per game.

If Kansas pulls off what would be the biggest upset of the season so far, then they'll need to find a way to keep up with Hurts, Riley and the rest of the offense.

As long as Oklahoma continues to be elite on offense, the Sooners should be able to leave Lawrence with a win.

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