Kansas Travels To No. 6/7 Oklahoma State For Big 12 Road Opener
Oct. 3, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas will travel to Stillwater, Okla., to take on the No.6/7 Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday, Oct. 8. Kickoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. The game will not be televised, however, an audio broadcast of the game will be available on the Jayhawk Radio Network, AT&T Jayhawk All-Access or Sirius Satellite Radio channel 138.
What To Watch For …
– Kansas (2-2 overall, 0-1 Big 12) will travel to Oklahoma State for its Big 12 Conference road opener under second-year head coach Turner Gill (5-11 at KU, 25-41 overall) on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 2:30 p.m.
– Kansas is taking on Oklahoma State for the 63rd time in its 122 years of college football. The Jayhawks are 29-29-3 all-time versus the Cowboys, including an 14-12-2 mark in games played in Stillwater.
– Kansas fell to the Cowboys, 48-14, in Lawrence in 2010, but won the last meeting between the two schools in Stillwater, 43-28, in 2007.
– The Jayhawks boast an all-time record of 572-561-58 (.505 winning percentage).
– Kansas has six players on its roster from the state of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State fields two Sunflower State natives on its roster.
– KU is 3-12 in Big 12 Conference road openers all-time. Kansas dropped its 2010 road opener at Baylor, 55-7. KU has never faced Oklahoma State in its first Big 12 road game of the season.
– KU is looking for its first road win under Turner Gill. Overall, the Jayhawks have lost 10-straight road games.
– KU is 4-6-1 all time in games played on Oct. 8. The Jayhawks last played on Oct. 8 at Kansas State in 2005, falling 3-12 to the Wildcats.
Kansas Head Coach Turner Gill
Turner Gill (North Texas, 1990) is in his second season at the Kansas helm, after being named the University’s 36th head football coach on Dec. 13, 2009. He has guided KU to a 2-2 mark in 2011 and owns a 5-11 overall mark in his second season with the program. In his first year at Kansas, Gill took over a team that had lost its last seven games of the 2009 season. After a season-opening loss, Gill guided the Jayhawks to a 28-25 upset victory against then-No. 15 Georgia Tech. KU would win three games in his first year, including a thrilling 52-45 victory against Colorado in a game that KU trailed 45-17 in the fourth quarter. Gill came to Lawrence after spending the previous four seasons as the head coach at Buffalo (2006-09) where he turned a down program into a conference champion in his third year. Gill was a highly successful player and assistant coach at Nebraska for a combined 18 seasons before spending one year with the Green Bay Packers and then taking over at Buffalo.
Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike Gundy
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, who was named the 2010 Big 12 Coach of the Year after leading Oklahoma State to an 11-2 overall record and a share of the Big 12 South title. He is 51-29 in his eighth season at his alma mater and has coached eight All-Americans in the last three seasons, including a pair of unanimous All-Americans: OL Russell Okung in 2009 and WR Justin Blackmon in 2010. Gundy’s 50 wins at OSU rank third all-time behind only Jim Lookabaugh (58-41-6) and Gundy’s college coach, Pat Jones (62-60-3). Gundy has built the program with three different offensive coordinators and three different defensive coordinators. Three of his former assistants have left Oklahoma State to become head coaches (Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia, Larry Fedora at Southern Miss and Tim Beckman at Toledo). Under Gundy, OSU has gone to five-straight bowl games (an OSU first) and won at least seven games in six-straight seasons and at least nine games in three-straight seasons.
Oklahoma State Scouting Report
Oklahoma State enters Saturday’s game with a 4-0 mark after knocking off Texas A&M, 30-29, in its last outing. OSU has one of the most proficient offenses in the NCAA, ranking third in total offense with 571.6 yards per game. The Cowboy passing offense ranks second nationally with 415.5 yards per game, led by standout QB Brandon Weeden who ranks second nationally in total offense with 380.8 yards per game. Weeden has completed 142-of-191 passes on the season, good for 1,592 yards and 10 TDs with six INTs. Weeden’s favorite target is WR Justin Blackmon who is tied for fifth in the NCAA with 38 receptions for 450 yards. The OSU ground game is led by Joseph Randle, who has gained 461 yards on 83 carries. Daytawion Lowe leads the OSU defense with 30 tackles, while four different Cowboys have recorded two interceptions on the season. On the season, the Cowboys are +7 in turnovers.
Kansas has six Oklahoma natives on its roster: Anthony Davis (Tulsa), Gavin Howard (Owasso), Rell Lewis (Muskogee), Jake Love (Tonkawa), Michael Martinovich (Tulsa) and John Williams (Tulsa). Oklahoma State fields two Sunflower state natives on its roster in Devin Hedgepeth (Derby) and Joseph Randle (Wichita). Randle’s older brother, John, played at Kansas (2003-04). OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young spent six seasons in the same position at Kansas (2002-07). OSU defensive graduate assistant Jermial Ashley played at Kansas (2004-05). KU Co-Defensive Coordinator Buddy Wyatt was an OSU assistant in 1996. Lee Fobbs, who is KU’s Director of High School Relations, is the father of former OSU running back Jamal Fobbs. Murphy Grant, who is KU’s Director of Sports Medicine, served for five years as OSU’s athletic trainer for men’s basketball.
Follow Kansas Football on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access
Kansas fans were able to watch the Jayhawks’ football season-opener vs. McNeese State on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access, the first of more than 200 events to air in 2011-12 on KU’s online network via kuathletics.com. This marks the eighth consecutive year that AT&T Jayhawk All-Access will broadcast Kansas Athletics events either with video, audio or both. In addition to the football season opener, Kansas football fans who subscribe to AT&T All-Access can also see:
-Turner Gill’s weekly press conferences
-Football weekly television show
KU Football Fans who subscribe may also listen to:
-The complete radio broadcasts of KU football, including the Jayhawk Network pre-game show, which starts 30 minutes prior to kickoff, and the 30-minute post-game show which includes an interview with Head Coach Turner Gill
-Hawk Talk with Turner Gill
Kansas football fans can subscribe to Jayhawk All-Access by going to www.kuathletics.com and clicking on the AT&T Jayhawk All-Access button on the right. Jayhawk All-Access subscriptions are only $9.95 per month or $79.95 per year.
Texas Tech Leftovers
-Kansas wore Throwback uniforms in honor of the 1961 Bluebonnet Bowl team, which was honored at Saturday’s Homecoming game. The last time KU wore these uniforms was during the 1983 season.
-Kansas rushed for 239 yards, which was the most by KU in a Big 12 game since the team rushed for 280 yards against Kansas State in 2008.
-Sophomore RB James Sims scored a touchdown on an 11-yard run on KU’s opening possession. It marked the first time since the Oklahoma State game last season that KU scored on its first possession of the game.
-Freshman RB Brandon Bourbon scored in the first quarter on a 51-yard run, marking his first touchdown of the season. It was KU’s longest run from scrimmage this season.
-Bourbon finished the day with 101 yards rushing, which marked his first career 100-yard game. Bourbon became the first Jayhawk other than James Sims to rush for 100 yards since Toben Opurum rushed for 109 against Southern Mississippi in 2009.
-Junior WR D.J. Beshears collected a 51-yard reception in the first quarter, which was the longest of his career and the team’s second-longest of the season.
-KU’s 20 first quarter points were the most in a quarter since the team scored 35 in the fourth quarter of the Colorado game last season. It was the most first-quarter points since the Jayhawks scored 21 points in the opening period against K-State in 2008.
-Senior RB Rell Lewis scored a second-quarter touchdown, which marked the first of his career.
-Senior TE AJ Steward caught a fourth-quarter touchdown, which marked the senior’s second career reception and first career touchdown. Steward is the 12th different Jayhawk to score a touchdown this season.
-Sophomore DE Keba Agostinho recorded a sack in the first quarter, marking the first of his career and fifth this season by the Jayhawks.
-Freshman S Keeston Terry recorded an interception in the first quarter, which was the first of his career and first by the Jayhawks this season. Terry also finished with a career-best 12 stops.
-Senior LB Steven Johnson made 12 tackles in the game, marking his third game of 2011 with double-digit tackles.
-Junior DE/LB Malcolm Walker tallied four tackles in the first quarter, which marked his first stats of the season. He finished the game with eight stops.
Current Jayhawks vs. OSU
Here is a look at current Jayhawks and their stats in games versus Oklahoma State in 2007 and 2010: 2007– No Stats recorded for current players. 2010– RB James Sims (17-78 (1TD) rushing), QB Jordan Webb (6-9-0-36 passing, 1-8 rushing); QB Quinn Mecham (13-23-0-138 (1TD) passing, 5-16 rushing), WR/KR D.J. Beshears (3-4 rushing, 2-18 receiving, 3-62 kickoff returns), WR Chris Omigie (3-41 receiving), WR Kale Pick (2-9 receiving), TE Tim Biere (1-12, receiving, 1-1 kickoff returns), S Bradley McDougald (6-2-8 tackles), LB Steven Johnson (3-5-8 tackles), CB Tyler Patmon (4-3-7 tackles, 1.5-1 TFLs, 2 PBU), CB Greg Brown (3-4-7 tackles, 3 PBU), CB Isiah Barfield (6-0-6 tackles, 1 PBU), DE Toben Opurum (2-2-4 tackles), LS Justin Carnes (1-0-1 tackles ) CB Anthony Davis (1-0-1 tackles) DT Richard Johnson (1-0-1 tackles), DT Patrick Dorsey (0-1-1 tackles).
Kansas senior TE Tim Biere earned honorable mention Tight End of the Week honors by the College Performance Awards for his efforts against Texas Tech. Biere tallied four receptions for 48 yards. His long reception of 20 yards resulted in a Kansas touchdown, however, Biere did not receive credit for the score. He fumbled as he was crossing the goal line and his Jayhawk teammate Kale Pick recovered, therefore receiving credit for the TD.
Webb Hitting The Mark
Kansas sophomore QB Jordan Webb has been extremely efficient in running the Jayhawk offense through the first four games of the 2011 season. Webb ranks third in the Big 12 and fourth nationally in passing efficiency. The Union, Mo., native has completed 55-of-81 passes on the season, good for 814 yards and nine TDs. Additionally, Webb has thrown just three interceptions, giving him a rating of 181.6. Webb is leading a Jayhawk offense that is averaging an astounding 9.9 yards per pass. Additionally, he has been sacked just six times in four games.
Young Receivers Making Plays
Kansas has had 13 different players record a reception on the season, with eight of the 13 players being in either their first or second season with the program. True freshman JaCorey Shepherd leads the way with five receptions for 136 yards and two TDs. Shepherd also owns the longest reception of the season with a 56-yarder to his credit. Three of KU’s 10 receiving TDs have been hauled in by a freshman or sophomore.
Beshears Doing It All
Kansas junior wide receiver/kick returner D.J. Beshears has been all over the field for KU. Beshears leads the Big 12 and ranks eighth nationally in all-purpose yardage. The Denton, Texas, native has three rushes for 29 yards, 15 receptions for 211 yards and 23 kickoff returns for 518 yards. Beshears is averaging 187.8 all-purpose yards per game and has recorded two TDs, both on receptions. He, along with teammate Bradley McDougald, are both on the Paul Hornung Award fan ballot available at www.votepaulhornung.com.
Johnson Leading Tackler in Big 12
Jayhawk senior LB Steven Johnson opened the 2011 season right where he left off at the end of the 2010 season, collecting double figures in tackles. Johnson was credited with a career-best 15 tackles versus McNeese State, including nine solo stops. He also had 2.0 TFLs for minus three yards and forced a fumble. Johnson has six double-figure tackle games in his career, including 12 in the Jayhawks’ last game versus Texas Tech, giving him 10 or more tackles in four of his last five games. Johnson ranks first in the Big 12 and 14th in the NCAA in tackles with 10.8 per outing.
Diversity on Display
Kansas has scored 20 touchdowns on the season, with 12 different players getting in on the action. Sophomore RB James Sims leads the way with four TDS and freshman RB Darrian Miller has three scores on the ground. Junior WR D.J. Beshears and freshman WR JaCorey Shepherd have each made two TD grabs. Also scoring TDs on the ground have been senior RB Rell Lewis, redshirt freshman RB Brandon Bourbon, freshman RB Tony Pierson and sophomore QB Jordan Webb, while senior TE AJ Steward, junior WR Kale Pick, redshirt freshman WR Andrew Turzilli and senior WR Daymond Patterson have each tallied a receiving TD.
Kansas second-year head coach Turner Gill has gone on the record in saying this year’s Kansas team will feature a more explosive, speedy attack and the Jayhawks have backed up his words. KU recorded five plays of 20 or more yards in its season-opening win over McNeese State and added five more in its win over Northern Illinois. Of KU’s 18 plays of more than 20 yards, six have resulted in TDs. The Jayhawks only managed 31 plays of more than 20 yards during the entire 2010 season, with only five of those plays going for touchdowns. Sophomore RB James Sims leads the way with eight plays that have gone for 20 or more yards. Freshman WR JaCorey Shepherd owns the team’s longest play of the season with a 56-yard TD catch.
Kansas recorded 301 yards on the ground in its season-opening win over McNeese State, marking its first 300 yard rushing game since it tallied 334 yards rushing in the 2008 season opener versus Northern Colorado. The Jayhawks followed that up with 253 yards rushing in their win over Northern Illinois. The KU rushing offense ranks second in the Big 12 and 11th nationally after four games as it is averaging 236.0 yards per game. Sophomore RB James Sims ranks ninth in the Big 12 and 53rd nationally in rushing yards per game with his 84.8 per game average.
Newcomers Put Up The Points
Of the nine true freshmen who have made their career debuts in KU’s first four outings, four have scored points. PK Alex Mueller leads the way among the freshmen in scoring as he has connected on 19-of-20 PATs and has also booted two field goals. Mueller ranks first on the team with 25 points. RB Darrian Miller has three TDs on the ground, while fellow RB Tony Pierson has found the endzone one time. WR JaCorey Shepherd has two TDs receiving. Out of Kansas’ 145 points, 57 have been scored by true freshmen.
Third Down Efficiency
KU’s offense is 12th in the NCAA in third-down conversion at 52.63 percent. Kansas has converted on 30-of-57 third downs. Three of the four teams Kansas has played this season also rank in the top 12 nationally (Georgia Tech, third; Texas Tech, sixth; Northern Illinois, ninth). Additionally, this week’s opponent, Oklahoma State, ranks 10th in the NCAA in third-down efficiency.
Beshears Stars Against NIU
Kansas junior wide receiver/kick returner D.J. Beshears earned weekly honors from both the Big 12 and the Paul Hornung Award on Sept. 13 following the Northern Illinois game. Beshears was named the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week and was one of six national honorees on the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll. Beshears recorded 285 all-purpose yards and scored the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds as Kansas outlasted Northern Illinois, 45-42. He set career highs in kick return yardage (197), receptions (seven), receiving yards (70) and touchdown receptions (two). His 51-yard kickoff return set up KU’s final scoring drive. Beshears scored KU’s first touchdown of the game – a 15-yard pass from Jordan Webb in the first quarter – and also had an 18-yard run on KU’s decisive drive. The Kansas junior leads the Big 12 with 382 all-purpose yards, which includes a conference-best 283 yards in kick returns. This marks the second time that Beshears has been named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week, also taking the honor on Sept. 27, 2010 after KU’s win over New Mexico State.
Kansas freshman WR JaCorey Shepherd had an outstanding game versus McNeese State as he caught three passes for 107 yards to lead the Jayhawks in receiving yards and tie for the team lead in receptions. Shepherd caught a 56-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Webb in the third quarter, which marked the longest pass play for the Jayhawks since 2009, when Dezmon Briscoe caught a 74-yard touchdown from Todd Reesing against Missouri. Shepherd’s 107 yards receiving made him the first Jayhawk freshman to record 100-plus receiving yards in a game since 1997 (Termaine Fulton, 138 vs. Texas). He followed that performance up with two catches for 29 yards in the first half against Northern Illinois, before sitting out the second half of play with an injury.
Opurum Turns Up The Pressure
Kansas junior DE Toben Opurum is off to a great start in his first full season playing at the Buck Linebacker/Defensive End position. Opurum leads KU and ranks third in the Big 12 with 5.5 TFLs for minus 14 yards through the first four games of the season. His 5.5 TFLs ranks 35th in the NCAA. Opurum ranks seventh on the team in tackles as he has recorded 20 on the season, including 13 solo stops. He is one of five Jayhawks to have recorded a sack, along with DE Keba Agostinho, S Bradley McDougald, LB Darius Willis and DE Pat Lewandowski.
Punt Team Shows Improvement
After struggling for much of the 2010 season with the punt team unit, Kansas has opened the 2011 campaign with great performances in that phase of the game in its first four outings. Led by sophomore P/K Ron Doherty, the Jayhawks rank third the Big 12 and 18th nationally in net punting averaging 39.92 yards per punt. Doherty recorded a career-best 56-yard punt in Kansas’ win over Northern Illinois. Additionally, KU junior CB Greg Brown, sophomore LB Huldon Tharp and redshirt freshman S Ray Mitchell have been named the team’s Special Teams Player of the Week for their performances on punt coverage.
First Time Starters
Several Kansas players have made their first career starts in KU’s first four games of the season, including WR Christian Matthews, FB Nick Sizemore, DE Keba Agostinho, LB Darius Willis, LB Tunde Bakare and FS Keeston Terry.
Kansas has had 23 players participate for the first time in their collegiate career. In addition to first-time starters FB Nick Sizemore, LB Darius Willis and LB Tunde Bakare, the following players have played for the first time in their Kansas careers: P/H Victor McBride, WR Marquis Jackson, WR Andrew Turzilli, TE Jimmay Mundine, TE Trent Smiley, WR JaCorey Shepherd, RB Darrian Miller, RB Tony Pierson, RB Brandon Bourbon, LB Michael Reynolds, S Victor Simmons, LB Ben Heeney, DE Pat Lewandowski, CB Dexter McDonald, LB Isaac Wright, S Tyler Hill, S Ray Mitchell, LB Malcolm Walker, PK Alex Mueller and LS Tanner Gibas.
Two Jayhawks Lost For The Season
Kansas will be without the services of two starters for the remainder of the season as senior WR Daymond Patterson and junior DT John Williams suffered season-ending injuries. Patterson was injured late in the first half of KU’s season-opening win over McNeese State. The injury will cause him to miss the remainder of the season, but he will apply for a medical redshirt. Williams, who injured his knee in KU’s win over Northern Illinois, recently had surgery to repair a torn ACL and will return to the KU lineup for the 2012 season. Patterson entered the 2011 season as KU’s leading returning receiver and recorded three catches for 34 yards, including a TD in the season-opener before getting injured. Williams recorded four tackles prior to his injury.
Son Of A Gun
Several members of the Kansas football team come from extremely strong football bloodlines. Two Jayhawks are the sons of current collegiate head football coaches and a third player’s father is an assistant coach at the collegiate level. Redshirt freshman WR Connor Embree’s father Jon is in his first year as the head coach at Colorado, while fellow redshirt freshman LB Jake Farley is the son of Mark Farley, who is beginning is 11th year as the head signal caller at Northern Iowa. Additionally sophomore RB Ryan Burton’s father, Ron, is the defensive line coach at Air Force. Also to be noted is special teams quality control coach Kyle Brey is the son of Notre Dame head men’s basketball coach Mike Brey.
On August 28, Turner Gill announced the team captains for the 2011 season. This year’s permanent team captains include: on offense, C Jeremiah Hatch and TE Tim Biere and on defense, LB Steven Johnson and DE Toben Opurum. Hatch, Biere and Johnson are seniors, while Opurum is a junior.
Wounded Hawks Return
A number of veteran players did not play, or saw limited action due to injury in 2010, but have returned to the Jayhawk line up in 2011. The following are capsules for those players:
– RB Rell Lewis… Injured leg in 2010 preseason and sat out all season.
– OL Trevor Marrongelli… Started first four games of 2010 season at OG this year before suffering season-ending injury.
– OL Jeff Spikes… Missed all of 2010 due to off-season lower leg injury after starting 23 games first two years.
– LB Huldon Tharp… 2009 freshman All-American missed all of 2010 with a lower leg injury.
Kansas fields one of the youngest rosters in the country in 2011 as it counts 71 one of its players as underclassmen. The 71 players who are either freshmen, redshirt freshmen or sophomores account for 70 percent of the squad. Of the 22 players listed as starters on offense and defense, seven Jayhawks are underclassmen, including sophomores DT Kevin Young, DE Keba Agostinho, LB Darius Willis, QB Jordan Webb, RB James Sims and FB Nick Sizemore along with redshirt freshman S Keeston Terry.
Kansas junior DE Toben Opurum earned honorable mention Defensive Linemen of the Week honors by the College Performance Awards for his efforts against McNeese State. Opurum tallied 11 tackles, including seven solo stops, versus the Cowboys. He led KU with 3.5 TFLs for minus eight yards, which included one sack for minus two yards. Additionally, Opurum was credited with two quarterback hurries.
ESPN2 will televise the Kansas football game against top-ranked Oklahoma at 8:15 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 15. It will be a busy weekend in Lawrence as KU will host “Late Night in the Phog,” Friday, Oct. 14, followed by the Kansas-Oklahoma game Saturday evening. Kansas will be playing on ESPN2 for the first time since the 2008 season.