No. 18 Oklahoma State will look to rebound from its worst loss in 23 seasons but will visit a rested Kansas team determined to clinch a postseason spot and beat the Cowboys for the first time since 2007 when the two old rivals meet Saturday for a key Big 12 Conference game in Lawrence, Kan.
The Cowboys, who were ranked as high as eighth in the nation before losing at TCU in double overtime on Oct. 15, were the third of four Big 12 teams listed in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. TCU is the league’s highest ranked team at No. 7, with Kansas State at No. 13 and Texas 24th.
Oklahoma State (6-2, 3-2 Big 12) enters Saturday’s game with losses in two of its last three games after starting the season 5-0. Most recently, the Cowboys were lambasted in a 48-0 loss at Kansas State on Oct. 29.
Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said his evaluation of the review of the loss to Kansas State confirmed that his team was “outcoached” and “outplayed.”
“Kansas State was just more physical than us,” Gundy said. “We weren’t ready to play. I didn’t do a very good job getting our guys ready. We finished all that Monday. We went through all the plays and tape and such at practice. Back at it to get ready to roll for this week.”
Oklahoma State was limited to a season-low 54 yards rushing and 217 yards of total offense in the loss to Kansas State. It didn’t help that the Cowboys were missing receivers Jaden Bray and Braydon Johnson for a second successive game and were also without running back Dominic Richardson.
Kansas has dropped three consecutive games and out of the Top 25 but remains on the cusp of becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2008.
The Jayhawks (5-3, 2-3 Big 12) enjoyed an open week on Oct. 29 and, according to several players and coaches, used the time to clear their minds and get their bodies ready for the final month of the season.
“Open weeks are always challenging a little bit on the mental side as you’re trying to get healthy and you’re trying to get a break, but you still have things you want to do,” Kansas coach Lance Leipold said. “I was pleased especially for the younger players — players that haven’t played a lot — that were able to get some extra work.”
Kansas has scored 42 total touchdowns in eight games this season, marking the most TDs in a season since the Jayhawks racked up 42 in 12 contests in 2009.
Injured Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels returned to practice this week and is listed first on the Jayhawks’ Week 10 depth chart along with recent starter Jason Bean. Daniels missed the past two games with a shoulder injury sustained in the first half of the Jayhawks’ home loss to TCU on Oct. 8. His status for Saturday’s game remains to be determined; Leipold said the bye week helped, “but we’ll see.”
Although Kansas has lost all three games in which Daniels has missed time, Bean and the offense have scored 93 points in five halves without him. The Kansas defense, meanwhile, has given up 115 points in those five halves.
Oklahoma State has won the past 12 meetings, with the Jayhawks’ only victory since 1995 — 18 meetings — coming during Kansas’ epic 2007 season. That year, Kansas was ranked 5th at the time of the game, beat the Cowboys 43-28, and went on to win the Orange Bowl.
–Field Level Media