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Oklahoma Sooners Football at Kansas Jayhawks Preview: Can OU get the run game going?

A big game on the ground sure would be nice.

Oklahoma v Texas Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

What’s good?

The Oklahoma Sooners somehow feel like they snuck one out last week, but everything I read tells me that the efficiency metrics show that the Oklahoma Sooners actually played okay and everything is fine.

I would like to be on the record that while this team is good and so much better than last year — especially in close games — I still have some moments where I look at drives, game choices, and momentum swings and think... well, there is some 2022 still in there somewhere.

It makes it interesting and fun. I am actually pretty pumped for this game this weekend.

What will I be watching?

  • The first quarter offense again seems to be a focal point for me. This offense seems like it takes some time after the first drive to establish itself, and third downs have been killers. So, I don’t know how this can’t be one of the biggest stories on this team. At this point, at any moment it feels like it could rack up 65 yards on one play, but when it just HAS to have four yards... we all clinch. I don’t know how to describe it, but its a gut feeling. I think this offense is going to lock up this year against a bad defense and it is going to cost them. We’ve seen glimpses of it already. I’m very open to being wrong, and frankly hope I am, but it is just sitting in my gut.
  • The run game woes continue. I have no idea what to make of it. The running backs seem to be getting a lot of the talk from the coaches. They continue to say they are “searching” for the guy. My assessment is that the blocking kinda stinks. I mean sure, can the running backs do more with what they’re given? Sure! But man, can we see a guy get seven yards without being touched a few times? Feels like those guys are trying to make a move in the phone booth.
  • Big play prevention will be key for Oklahoma. Last week I wrote about UCF’s ability to do this, and man did it show up. Kansas is about 10 times better at that than UCF. The Jayhawks can be explosive and score in bunches. The back end is going to have to be dialed in, and the pass rush from the edges is going to be important to make Jason Bean uncomfortable.

Know your opponent: Kansas Jayhawks

  • KU’s QB room brings a ton to the table. Those two guys are so good, but they’ll only have Bean this weekend. Regardless, the Sooners are going to be tested. Bean is a running threat who also can push the ball down field. He is also a lot more of a loose cannon and risk taker than Jalon Daniels. That can play into Oklahoma’s favor, or like this game last year, be a huge gap closer.
  • Devin Neal is a really fun piece in the backfield for Lance Leipold. He is your high school coach’s favorite running back — always falling forward. I think Neal’s ability to slip and slide from tackles has been great this season and the backbone of the Jayhawk offense. Slowing him down can be critical for Oklahoma.
  • Austin Booker has five sacks this season already. Coming off a bye week and playing at home, I am sure Kansas is hoping it can get some juice up front to make Gabriel uncomfortable. We saw last week that at times Gabriel can be sped up and the offense can be out of sync.

Score Prediction

The Sooners are going to have their hands full at times. Kansas has a high-flying offense. In spite of his faults, I really like Jason Bean. The Oklahoma defense has stood tall all year, but Kansas has the best offense they have seen aside from Texas. On the other side, the Kansas defense has issues. Oklahoma’s offense should be able to rack up points.

This could be a wild one.

Oklahoma - 37

Kansas - 34

Talk to you later, knuckleheads!