The Kansas Jayhawks will host the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Memorial Stadium at 11 am on Saturday.
If the Hawks (1-5, 0-3 Big 12) want the celebrations to last past kickoff, they will need a 180 degree turn from last week’s 49-7 loss against Baylor.
The Jayhawks were completely outmatched in the first half against the Baylor Bears as sophomore Ryan Willis followed up the first full game start for a KU quarterback this season with an 89 yard, three interception day.
“We have to bounce back, and our guys will,” David Beaty said to the media on Tuesday. “They will bounce back. They know what the expectations are.”
KU will have to bounce back against an Oklahoma State team that hasn’t lost in Lawrence in the last 22 years.
Oklahoma State (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) rolls into Lawrence coming off a bye week with junior quarterback Mason Rudolph looking to not miss a beat after his 350 yard, four touchdown performance against Iowa State. The Cowboys beat the Cyclones, 38-31.
Offense: Oklahoma State. Rudolph’s passing is now being complimented by an effective running game lead by breakout freshman running back Justice Hill. The Cowboys have scored 15 rushing touchdowns, and this balanced attack should be another tough test for the Jayhawks.
Defense: Oklahoma State. While the KU defense has done an admirable job despite lopsided scores, this Cowboys defense should be in better position to take advantage of the Jayhawks struggling offense.
Special Teams: Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks avoided special teams blunders against Baylor, but a history of muffed punts and three missed field goals by Matt Wyman against TCU still make this squad the bigger question mark in this matchup.
Keys to the Game
KU: Protect the football. The Jayhawks lead the Big 12 with 22 turnovers on the season, and have had nine in the last two games. It won’t be easy to reverse that trend against the Cowboys. Oklahoma State is second in the Big 12 in total turnovers at 13, just one less than the Baylor Bears who forced five from the Jayhawks last Saturday.
OSU: Mix it up. The Jayhawks have been the most competitive when their talented big boys up front, redshirt freshman defensive tackle Daniel Wise and freshman defensive end Dorance Armstrong, get in a rhythm coming after the quarterback. If the Cowboys can get their running game going early, Rudolph will have a cleaner jersey and better passing numbers by the end of the game.