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Place: Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, Oklahoma
The Charlie Weis era at Kansas has not gotten off to the strongest start. The offensive guru has the Jayhawks ranked 111th in the nation in scoring average at 19.0 points and has yet to win a game in three chances in Big 12 play. A trip to No. 7 Oklahoma on Saturday is going to make it tough to find that first victory.
The Sooners blasted rival Texas last week and still believe they can make a run at the BCS Championship game with a strong back half of the season. Quarterback Landry Jones and the offense have put up 104 points in the last two games to bounce back from the lone setback.
Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops’ return has brought the defense back up to par as well. Kansas is beginning a stretch with four of its final six games on the road and has not won in Norman since 1996.
Kansas Jayhawks (1-5, 0-3 Big 12): The Jayhawks made a switch at quarterback late last Saturday against Oklahoma State, replacing Dayne Crist with freshman Michael Cummings. Cummings led a pair of touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to turn a 20-0 contest into a 20-14 loss, Kansas’ fifth straight setback.
Weis is overhauling both sides of the ball and was encouraged by the effort of his defense against the Cowboys. That unit was much improved from the last time the Jayhawks played a ranked opponent on the road, when they were pounded at rival Kansas State 56-16. Freshman linebacker Jake Love made his first career start against Oklahoma State and racked up 12 tackles, including three for a loss.
No matter who starts at quarterback, the Jayhawks are likely to lean on the running back combination of juniors James Sims and Taylor Cox, who have combined for 669 yards.
Oklahoma Sooners (4-1, 2-1): The Sooners came in at No. 9 in the first BCS poll released Sunday, with only Kansas State ahead of them among Big 12 teams. Oklahoma, which lost to the Wildcats on Sept. 22, needs some help to get to the big game but has certainly played like a contender the last two weeks.
Jones passed for 321 yards and the Sooners rushed for 343 against Texas last Saturday. But the biggest raves from the coaching staff have been reserved for the defense, which has hauled in five interceptions in the last two weeks and is holding teams to an average of 17.0 points.
Oklahoma finished outside the top 50 in total defense in each of the last two seasons. The Longhorns were the No. 6 offense in the nation before running into the Sooners, who should hound whichever quarterback gets the call for the Jayhawks.
1. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is 13-0 in games following the Red River Rivalry game against Texas, including five wins over Kansas.
2. The Jayhawks have dropped seven straight in the series and have lost 15 in a row on the road.
3. The Sooners will be trying not to overlook Kansas with a showdown against No. 5 Notre Dame looming next week.