The Kansas football Jayhawks travel to Stillwater, OK this weekend to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Both teams are coming off conference wins this past weekend with two different storylines. The Pokes pulled off a big upset at home under the Friday night lights, while the Jayhawks ran all over the UCF Knights without starting junior quarterback Jalon Daniels available for the third week this season.
Oklahoma State played host to the Kansas State Wildcats, looking for their first conference win of the season. The Cowboys have had an abysmal start to their season, with uncertainty at the quarterback position, losing to the South Alabama Jaguars out of the Sun Belt conference at home, and struggles on defense.
However, the tides may have finally turned for the Pokes after their 29-21 victory over the Wildcats last Friday night. It was their first conference win of the 2023 season. Total command of the offense, and making plays on defense with redshirt freshman safety Cameron Epps recording two interceptions, with one that ended up in the end zone for six which could have been the play of the game and one that ended up as the decider of the matchup.
Super senior transfer quarterback Alan Bowman was able to showcase his abilities to separate himself from the other quarterbacks on the roster with his leadership and command of the offense, throwing 19 completed passes out of 35 attempts for 235 yards. Sophomore running back Ollie Gordon contributed to the scoring with a rushing touchdown while rushing for 21 carries and 136 yards.
Bowman is spending his sixth and final year of eligibility with the Pokes after spending three years at Texas Tech, and the last two at Michigan. He spent his second year medically redshirting for the Red Raiders due to a collarbone injury, and spent his third and final year at Texas Tech during the COVID year, which allowed him to have the two extra years of eligibility that he has had.
However, this matchup may end up as one of the super senior transfer quarterbacks. Supersenior quarterback Jason Bean is also a transfer quarterback who is spending his last year of eligibility with his team like Bowman is with the Pokes. He has been with the program since 2021, and head coach Lance Leipold’s first year with the Jayhawks. He spent his first three years in Denton, TX at the University of North Texas. He redshirted his first year with the Mean Green and the next two years with meaningful playing time in his second year, and his last year with them as the starter for seven out of the 10 games that they played in 8 appearances.
Star junior quarterback Jalon Daniels for the Jayhawks missed last week’s game due to injury. He had been dealing with “back tightness” throughout the majority of fall camp before this season, which caused him to miss the season opener against Missouri State. He was a late scratch for the Jayhawks two weeks ago against the No. 3 Texas Longhorns as he re-aggravated his injury during warmups. He has been sidelined for the past two weeks while he continues to recover. There is no current update regarding Daniels status for this week, but it is likely that they will focus on getting Jason Bean ready for his fourth start this year.
Kansas earned their second appearance in the AP Top 25 poll this year on Sunday afternoon at No. 23 after their 51-22 victory on Saturday over the UCF Knights. It was the first-ever meeting in football between these two schools.
The Jayhawks were led by a dominant running game with the 1-2-3 punch in the backfield with junior running back Devin Neal, redshirt sophomore running back Daniel Hishaw, and transfer senior running back Dylan McDuffie leading the way. Neal ran in for a touchdown, while Hishaw and McDuffie ran in for two each. The running game had a total of 399 yards on the ground on Saturday afternoon.
Starting off the game hot, with a 24-0 lead at halftime with the defense making stops, an 82-yard punt return from junior wide receiver Trevor Wilson, who won Big 12 Special Teams Player of The Week honors on Monday, and the offense capitalizing on opportunities led to success for the Jayhawks on Saturday in dominant fashion.
The Jayhawks are looking to secure bowl eligibility with a win this weekend over the Pokes. A win would be a full-circle moment for Kansas, as they clinched bowl eligibility for the first time in 14 years at home over Oklahoma State, 37-16. Jason Bean was also the starter at quarterback for the Jayhawks in last year’s matchup. The Jayhawks have also not won in Stillwater since 2007. Oklahoma State is looking to replicate their performance on Friday night to this weekend’s game, also with improvement on all three sides of the ball with the extra day of preparation. With the possibility of Kansas being without their starting quarterback for the fourth time this season, it will likely be a battle of two quarterbacks who are sixth-year seniors spending their final year of eligibility with their team.
This game will come down to taking care of the ball and the time of possession game. Kansas will be attacking on offense with the running game, while Oklahoma State tries to limit the amount of times that the Jayhawks take the field on offense by drawing out the clock with the ball. The momentum appears to be in favor of the Jayhawks, and it very well could end up being the case. However, if Kansas doesn’t take care of the ball and execute, this game will end up in the hands of the Pokes. If Kansas does what they are supposed to, this game will be decided by two possessions or more. If Oklahoma State causes trouble and Kansas hurts themselves, this game will be decided in a possession in their favor.
Kickoff is set for this upcoming Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and will be played at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.