Opponent: Oklahoma State
Opponent’s Record: 6-3 (3-3 in the Big 12)
Location: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Game time: Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 11:00 AM
TV channel: Fox Sports 1
Radio: 810 WHB
Line: Oklahoma State -17
Kansas has had two weeks to flush away the embarrassing K-State loss. The bye week also gave people time to forget about my foolish decision to back the Jayhawks for an upset over the Wildcats. For a rebuild as steep as Kansas’, there will likely be a pattern of two steps forward (Texas, Texas Tech) and one step backwards (Kansas State). As long as the program doesn’t turn one step into three or four they can still progress. Kansas has an opportunity to show progress on Saturday in Stillwater against Les Miles’ former program.
When Kansas has the ball
For the first time in the Brent Dearmon era, a coordinator has found a way to slow down the Hawks. Wildcat defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton forced Carter Stanley to make the intermediate throws and really was able to generate pressure in the right spots. Oklahoma State will likely do the same thing. They’ll play zone and force Stanley to make tight throws into spaces while also bringing the occasional blitzer to disrupt the mesh point.
The Cowboys are ranked 57th in defensive SP+. Oklahoma State was able to stifle K-State’s defense early in the season and has shown an ability to get to the quarterback. That being said the back half of Oklahoma State’s defense has shown lapses this season defending the pass. They on average give up 275 yards passing per game. If Kansas can take advantage over the top like they did against Texas and Texas Tech, it’s not hard to imagine the Jayhawks scoring against the Cowboys.
When Oklahoma State has the ball
Oklahoma State will be without superstar receiver Tylan Wallace, but that might not matter on Saturday as they feature the two things KU has struggled against this season: an athletic mobile quarterback and an all world running back. Spencer Sanders has drawn comparisons to Patrick Mahomes and might be the biggest breakout quarterback in the conference this season. His mobility allows him to buy time to uncork the ball down the field similar to how number 15 for the Chiefs plays.
Combining Sanders ability to create plays with Heisman candidate running back Chuba Hubbard gives the Cowboys lethal potential on offense. The Jayhawks have struggled against the quarterback run and the option in particular. They rank 126th in the country against the run and are giving up an astonishing 235 yards per game on the ground. If KU fails to get downhill against the run on Saturday we could be in for a record breaking game from Hubbard.
This game as some intriguing narratives: Miles’ return to Stillwater, Kansas’ ability to bounce back following a deflating loss, or Chuba Hubbard’s potential record game. According to OddsShark, the line is sitting around 17 points with an over under in the 63.5 point range. Sagarin has the Jayhawks losing by 20. I think Kansas ultimately falls to the Cowboys, but plays inspired football for three and a half quarters.
Oklahoma State 38, Kansas 24 (KU +17)
Season Record: 6-3 (4-5 TS)