The Oklahoma Sooners and Kansas football square off in the Jayhawks’ homecoming today. These are our predictions for the game.
Kansas (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) takes on what might be its toughest test of the season against Oklahoma (7-0, 4-0) in just a few hours. The Jayhawks have fresh legs off of their much-needed bye week following a loss to Oklahoma State. Meanwhile, Oklahoma escaped an upset against UCF in a game where they looked like a far different team than what we’re used to.
Brett Venables and the Sooners have taken a huge jump from 2022 this season, already surpassing last year’s win total and entering College Football Playoff talks after they beat Texas during the Red River Showdown. Their defense ranked in the bottom half of the Big 12 a year ago, but it is now top 10 in the nation.
While their defensive adjustments have certainly contributed to their success, they have one of the most high-octane offenses in the Big 12. They average 43.1 points per game, which ranks fourth in the nation. That number has dropped to 33.8, but there’s no denying quarterback Dillon Gabriel can dominate opposing defenses.
OU allows 118.7 yards on the ground per game (33rd in FBS), which could become a problem for Kansas football, a team that relies heavily on the ground game. Offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki will need big-time performances from Devin Neal and Daniel Hishaw Jr., especially with the oft-shaky Jason Bean under center.
We’ve seen improvements from this Jayhawk defense compared to 2022, but they have failed to prove they belong, especially in the team’s two losses. Defense partially lost them the game in the second half against Okie State, while Texas ran for 351 yards and four scores when the Jayhawks traveled to Austin.
Ultimately, Kansas can’t make the same mistakes two weeks ago. Those blunders include conservative playcalling, soft defense, and a couple of untimely interceptions from signal caller Jason Bean. He’ll need to be practically flawless to overcome the Sooners, and that’s something he hasn’t been in any game yet.
I think KU keeps it close for the third quarter, potentially even taking a lead into the final 15 minutes with stakes being high for homecoming. However, I think OU pulls away late in the fourth and keeps their playoff hopes alive.