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Oklahoma Football vs. Kansas: Game preview, storylines & predictions

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Can OU cover the spread for the third week in a row?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 03 South Dakota at Kansas Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This weekend, the surging No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners (7-0, 4-0) are headed back to the Sunflower State where the struggling Kansas Jayhawks (1-5, 0-3) await their fate. Normally, there isn’t much hype going into a game between the top and bottom teams of a given conference, and unfortunately for KU that remains true for this contest, as this appears to be an extremely lopsided Big 12 matchup. Nevertheless, let’s go.

It’s official. OU will rock its rough rider alternates on the road this Saturday in Lawrence. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, it would likely take a miracle or two for this team to look bad against this next opponent.

Date, Time & TV: Saturday, Oct. 23 at 11 a.m. CT on ESPN

Line: Oklahoma -38.5 (as of Friday at 1 p.m. CT)

O/U: 66.5

Game Notes:

OU-Kansas Game Primer

Mike Plank’s preview of Oklahoma at KU for Rock Chalk Talk

Allen Kenney looks at where the Sooners can improve going into the back half of the season

Week Eight Gambling Picks from Allen & the Skinny

Friday’s Final Word

Major Storylines

The Caleb Williams Show continues

After accounting for 361 total yards and five total touchdowns in his first collegiate start, true freshman QB Caleb Williams has totally solidified himself as the new leader of Oklahoma’s offense. For his sensational performance last Saturday, he was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week. Looking ahead to this weekend, one can only expect his outstanding play to continue against Kansas’ poorly rated defense.

How much does Spencer Rattler play?

If all goes according to plan, and I’m assuming it will, Spencer Rattler will play most of the second half against the Jayhawks once the Sooners are up by five or six scores. Now, the last time anybody saw the former Heisman Trophy favorite on the field in live action was when he connected with Drake Stoops on a two-point conversion to tie things up against Texas. Before that, he was pulled for Caleb Williams after coughing the ball up one too many times. It’ll be interesting to see how he and the offense around him responds when his number is inevitably called.

No more injuries, please

Like many teams around college football, Oklahoma is quite banged up, especially on defense. Some of the players that are working their way back to the field include NB Jeremiah Criddell, CB D.J. Graham, DL Jalen Redmond, S Delarrin Turner-Yell, CB Woodi Washington and offensively, highly experienced and talented WR Theo Wease has yet to play a down this season. Lists like that tend to happen when you’re going on your eighth consecutive game week without a BYE. Fortunately, Lincoln Riley’s team will have a chance to rest some starters and dip into the depth chart as long as they can take care of business from the opening kick-off.

Which Jayhawks should OU be aware of?

Offensively, junior QB Jason Bean has established himself as a capable dual-threat, and with how vulnerable the Sooners’ secondary is right now, he could find some success if the rush isn’t able to get home. On the other side of the ball, KU senior defensive end Kyron Johnson currently leads his team with 2.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles on the season, so he’s a guy that Oklahoma will need to stay mindful of whenever he’s on the field.

Prediction

Folks, as much as I want to temper my expectations about this matchup, Kansas simply hasn’t shown me any good reason to believe it can make this a competitive contest for longer than a quarter. I think Caleb Williams picks up where he left off against TCU, both with his arm and his legs, and guys like Marvin Mims and Jadon Haselwood are primed to go to work against the Jayhawks’ hapless secondary. Look for Kennedy Brooks to also continue his midseason surge on the ground, as well as Oklahoma’s rushing attack as a whole. Defensively, KU hasn’t had to protect against the kind of front the Sooners are bringing to Lawrence, and because of that I envision a great many third-and-very-longs for the home squad. In the end, not only do I predict OU to win big in this game, I expect the Crimson & Cream to cover with ease.

Oklahoma 65, Kansas 9

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