However, the Jayhawks still believe in each other.
“We’re doing good,” redshirt freshman running back Brandon Bourbon said
after KU’s 45-34 loss to Texas Tech last Saturday. “(We’re 2-2), that’s
better than last year’s (start). We just got to stay positive. We had
some good things happen in this game, so take the positives and try to
improve the negatives and get ready for the next games.”
The next game is against OSU (4-0) in Stillwater today at 2:30 p.m.
(CT) at Boone Pickens Stadium. Kansas has dropped 10 straight road
games, while Oklahoma State holds a dominating 6-1 series edge against
KU in the Big 12 era with the Jayhawks’ last win coming in 2007.
But if KU can come out and play OSU strong the the full game like the
Jayhawks did in the first quarter against Texas Tech (KU led 20-0 at
one point), Kansas could shock the country with an upset.
Of course, that’s a big IF, especially when considering Oklahoma State
boasts the nation’s No. 2 passing offense, No. 3 total offense, and the
No. 6 scoring offense.
On the flip side, KU ranks 119th out of 120 teams in total defense and
is last nationally in scoring defense, allowing 44.25 points per game.
The task is certainly daunting in Stillwater, where Oklahoma State
enters the contest with convincing wins over Louisiana, Arizona, at
Tulsa, and a thrilling 30-29 victory at No. 8 Texas A&M on Sept.
24. The Cowboys feature what the program bills as American’s best
pass-catch combo in quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon. Weeden has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 17 straight
games, and cracked the 6,000-yard mark in career passing two weeks ago
against the Aggies.
He ranks second nationally with 398 passing yards per game and is
second in the country in total offense. Weeden is the only quarterback
in the nation to pass for at least 360 yards every game this season,
and set school single-game records for completions (47), attempts (60)
and yards (438) against the Aggies, where he earned national player of
the week honors (Walter Camp).
Blackmon, meanwhile, is a big-play threat with 24 receiving touchdowns
over his last 16 games and has a reception of at least 20 yards in 16
straight games. He’s tied for fifth in the nation with 9.5 receptions
per game, and ranks No. 15 nationally with 112.5 receiving yards per
"They're obviously a very good football team,” KU coach Turner Gill
said of the Cowboys. “Coach (Mike) Gundy has done a very good job. They
are a very good team on offense, defense and special teams. You hear
all about their offense. Their quarterback Weeden is extremely
talented. He's done a tremendous job understanding that offense.
They've got a hot tempo. Their receiver Blackmon is a very talented
person. He's done a lot of good things. Those two guys are very good."
Gill also likes OSU’s defense.
"Defensively, the thing that jumps out at me are their stats,” Gill
said. “They have caused 13 turnovers, so we have to make sure that we
have extremely good ball security.”
Gill and the Jayhawks are optimistic heading into their toughest battle
yet this season.
"I think our guys are really upbeat,” Gill said. “We still do a very
good job of instilling a culture in our football program that everybody
believes in. I think we are making some good progress. Obviously it's
not going as good (as we'd hoped) as far as wins, but again I feel very
good about where we're at and where we're going."
Gill knows his team must come out ready to play after halftime. The
Jayhawks have been outscored 49-0 in the third quarter their last two
games against Texas Tech and Georgia Tech. Gill said the coaching staff
has made some adjustments.
“We are going to do a couple little things that are going to help us
improve when we come out after halftime in the third quarter,” Gill
said. “We haven't responded as well as we've wanted to on all sides of
the ball, so we need to get those things worked out."
The Jayhawks are certainly hyped heading into their first Big 12 road
game against one of the premier teams in the country. Sophomore
quarterback Jordan Webb hopes KU’s halftime adjustments pay major
"We have to try something because we haven't come out with that same
fire that we did coming out to start the game,” Webb said. “We feel
like we're going to be consistent and if we play four quarters we're
going to be a hard team to beat."
The Jayhawks are a heavy underdog in Stillwater, and few observers are
giving the team any chance of pulling off a monumental upset.
But don’t count KU out just yet.
“It's going to be a tough challenge,” Gill said, “but we're ready to go
on the road and make it happen."