Sooners Overpower KU, 35-13

Stoops (left) and Mark Mangino (AP/Orlin Wagner)

Coaches often say that a handful of plays every game can be used to decide the winner.

Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, those plays went to the Oklahoma Sooners, who gathered a 35-13 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks.

The Sooners had their first big play on the first play from scrimmage. Looking to start off with a big gain, Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing lobbed the ball toward receiver Dezmon Briscoe down the sideline. But instead, he found safety Quinton Carter, who intercepted the ball at the Kansas 46. Ten plays later, facing a fourth-and-goal from the one, Sooner running back Chris Brown dove in for a 7-0 lead.

Kansas then drove the ball down to the Sooner 25 yard line, where Reesing was picked again, this time on a pass tipped by defensive tackle Adrian Taylor and intercepted by defensive end Jeremy Beal.

Reesing's third interception led to the Sooners' second score. Kansas again drove the ball well, taking it to the Sooner 10. But after a four-yard loss, cornerback Dominique Franks jumped on a lazy pass out to the flat and returned it 85 yards to paydirt.

"Certainly the turnovers set the tempo of the game … we had to play catch up football," said Kansas Coach Mark Mangino. "We've done that a couple weeks in a row. We just put ourselves behind early. You just can't do that with Oklahoma, or any good team for that matter."

The Jayhawks finally received a break of their own when punter Tress Way dropped the snap and was tackled at the Sooner 28. But the Jayhawks failed to generate a first down, and settled for a 39-yard Jacob Branstetter field goal. Branstetter set the Jayhawks into halftime down just one score when he connected on a 57-yarder with no time remaining. That field goal seemingly gave the Jayhawks the momentum, though they trailed 14-6, but the Jayhawks could have had more … just three plays earlier, Reesing and Briscoe failed to connect on an apparent wide-open touchdown pass.
All of that momentum quickly swung back the other way at the start of the second half. Twice Sooner quarterback Landry Jones kept the drive going on third and six plays, once with a 13-yard pass to Brandon Caleb and again with an 18-yard pass to Adron Tennell. He hit Tennell again to end the drive for a nine-yard touchdown and a 21-6 lead. That lead grew again on the Sooners' next drive when Jones found Jones from eight yards out.

The Sooners added the cherry on top with a Chris Brown 26-yard scamper in the fourth, before Kansas finally scored a touchdown on a five-yard Todd Reesing run with 4:27 left.

The Jayhawks did have some positives, based largely around the defense, which held the Sooners to just 110 first-half yards and only 85 rushing yards on the day. Mangino called the defense "not bad at all," before suggesting "we still have areas that need work."

But as good as the Kansas defense was at times, the Oklahoma defense was even better, holding one of the nation's most potent attacks at bay for the entire day. The Jayhawks managed just 304 yards, with much of that coming in the fourth quarter after the game was decided.

Jones led the Oklahoma attack with 252 yards passing and two touchdowns. Ryan Broyles was his leading target with 121 yards on 11 catches.

The schedule doesn't get much better for the Jayhawks (5-2, 1-2), who now face a Halloween road trip to Lubbock to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m.

"We have to come out and start better on offense and not turn the ball over," Mangino said. "Good teams will make you pay for it, and Oklahoma today made us pay for it."

Scoring Summary:
Oklahoma — Chris Brown 1 run (Tress Way kick), 11:06 1Q
OU—Dominique Franks 85 interception return (Way kick), 13:41 2Q
Kansas—Jacob Branstetter 39 FG, 2:03 2Q
KU—Branstetter 57 FG, 0:00 2Q
OU — Adron Tennell 9 pass from Landry Jones (Way kick), 11:29 3Q
OU — Chris Brown 8 pass from Jones (Way kick), 6:18 3Q
OU — Chris Brown 26 run (Way kick), 11:10 4Q
KU — Todd Reesing 5 run (Branstetter kick), 4:27 4Q

Notes:
  • Just one game after gifting Colorado 14 points and an early lead, two of Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing's interceptions helped the Sooners to 14 first-half points. For the game, Reesing was just 22 of 42 for 224 yards with three interceptions. Much of that yardage came courtesy of two plays, a 56-yard shovel pass to Jake Sharp and a 31-yard strike to John Wilson. Reesing did score a rushing touchdown.
  • The Jayhawks experimented with a Wildcat formation utilizing redshirt freshman Kale Pick as the quarterback for two plays, while flanking Reesing out as a wide receiver. But Pick's carries went for negative four and negative one yards, respectively, setting the Jayhawks up with a third-and-15. Pick then substituted out of the game and Reesing completed a short pass to Meier before Kansas punted.
  • D.J. Beshears looked strong at times in his first start, but had some freshman moments at others. He was twice flagged for pass interference, and was then replaced by Daymond Patterson. Beshears tied for second on the team with seven tackles, many on receiver screen passes.
  • Kansas substituted both running backs liberally through the game. Toben Opurum served largely as the pass-protection and short-yardage back, while Jake Sharp was in on most downs. Opurum did get 13 carries to Sharp's seven, and led the Jayhawks with 59 yards on the ground. Sharp, whose seven carries went for just 14 yards, had a bigger impact through the air, snagging three passes for 62 yards.

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