KU Football Falls at Oklahoma, 56-3

Sep 3, 2016; Lawrence, KS, USA; An overall view of Memorial Stadium before the game between the Kansas Jayhawks and Rhode Island Rams. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2016; Lawrence, KS, USA; An overall view of Memorial Stadium before the game between the Kansas Jayhawks and Rhode Island Rams. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports /

After a promising start, the real Sooners showed up, pounding the Jayhawks 56-3 in Norman. Did we learn anything about the KU football team?

With the quarterback position settled for the time being, can Montell Cozart continue his solid play?

Cozart had a poor first half compared to the rest of his season, with a line of 16-26 for only 102 yards and an interception. The interception was especially bad, coming after the defense forced a turnover and the Jayhawks were in Sooner territory, only down 7-3. Other than that very poor read, Cozart was accurate. He hit Quiv Gonzalez for what would’ve been a deep touchdown if Gonzalez didn’t drop the perfect pass. It’s concerning that KU’s quarterbacks, both Willis and Cozart, appear to make the same mistakes week after week. They both stare down receivers, and throw into windows they have no business risking a pass into. Cozart’s final line was 20/36 for 120 yards and two interceptions. The 3.3 yards per passing attempt is not nearly good enough for KU football to be successful in the Big 12.

Cozart was effective using his legs. Oklahoma plays mostly man to man defense, which opens up running lanes for the quarterback. He rushed for yards and several key first downs. He even showed more physicality tonight. On several occasions, Cozart lowered the shoulder to pick up a few more yards. Cozart continued to avoid sacks, evading the Sooner defense all night, and taking only sacks. It seems Cozart will be the quarterback for at least the rest of the season, even with the offense’s putrid night tonight.

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Clint Bowen’s defense has overachieved. Can they do that against the explosive OU offense?

Like we said last week, it seemed to be a bridge too far. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 236 yards and four touchdowns, while not throwing an interception. Dede Westbrook continued to be a lethal weapon on the outside for Mayfield, continuously torching the Jayhawk secondary for five catches and 105 yards. The Kansas secondary actually played well, but is woefully undermanned against the talented receivers on the opposing sideline.

The Jayhawk defensive line continued its solid play. It sacked Mayfield times, including one from sophomore Dorrance Armstrong, extending his streak of games with a sack to six. The line and linebacking corps did a great job and keeping a lid on the Sooner rushing attack. Star running back Joe Mixon struggled to find running lanes all night, carrying nine times for only 82 yards, 52 on a single carry. Oklahoma resorted to end-arounds and reverses to use their athleticism on the outside, and did find some success.

Can Kansas limit turnovers?

Thankfully, the Jayhawks cut down on their average turnover deficit, -2.3 before the game. The bad news is; it wasn’t by much. Kansas turned it over twice, on two very poor Cozart interceptions. Freshman safety Mike Lee forced a Joe Mixon fumble by putting his helmet on the football, right where it needed to be. Lee continues to impress.

Baker Mayfield continued to be one of the best in the country taking care of the football, and didn’t throw an interception or fumble tonight. His last three games, he’s thrown 15 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Kansas losing the turnover battle didn’t lose them the game, but certainly led to it being the blowout it became.

Bottom Line

I’m not going to call this a setback, because the outcome was nearly never in doubt. I am concerned by the lack of progress on offense, and the amount of time the defense has to spend on the field. Next week, Kansas stays on the road for a matchup with the West Virginia Mountaineers.