Jayhawks Host Top-Ranked Sooners on ESPN2 Saturday
Oct. 10, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas will host top-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday, Oct. 15. Kickoff is slated for 8:15 p.m., with a live telecast on ESPN2. An audio broadcast of the game will be available on the Jayhawk Radio Network, AT&T Jayhawk All-Access or Sirius Satellite Radio channel 92.
What To Watch For …
– Kansas (2-3 overall, 0-2 Big 12) will host top-ranked Oklahoma looking for its first Big 12 Conference win in 2011 under second-year head coach Turner Gill (5-12 at KU, 25-42 overall) on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 8:15 p.m.
– Kansas is taking on Oklahoma for the 102nd time in its 122 years of college football. The Jayhawks are 27-68-6 all-time versus the Sooners, including an 14-31-3 mark in games played in Lawrence.
– Kansas fell to the Sooners, 35-13, in Norman in 2009, and has lost six-straight in the series with OU. KU’s last win in the series was a 20-17 win in Lawrence during the 1997 season.
– The Jayhawks boast an all-time record of 572-562-58 (.505 winning percentage).
– Kansas has six players on its roster from the state of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma fields seven Sunflower State natives on its roster.
– KU head coach Turner Gill is 10-4 all-time in games versus Oklahoma. He was 3-1 during his playing career as the quarterback at Nebraska. Additionally, he compiled a 7-3 mark against the Sooners as an assistant with the Cornhuskers. Gill is facing OU for the first time as the head coach at Kansas.
– KU is 7-8-3 all time in games played on Oct. 15. The Jayhawks last played on Oct. 15 versus Oklahoma in 2005, falling 19-3 to the Sooners in Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium.
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 2-3 mark in 2011 and owns a 5-12 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 Head Coach Bob Stoops
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops is 134-31 in his 13th season. He led OU to the 2000 national championship. The Sooners have played for three more and captured eight Big 12 South crowns and seven Big 12 titles. Oklahoma has spent 24 weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll and a national-leading 20 weeks atop the BCS standings. Under Stoops’ tutelage, Oklahoma is 86-19 vs. the Big 12. OU has set three NCAA records under Stoops and set or tied 112 school records. Stoops was a four-year starter at Iowa. He began his coaching career in 1983 as a volunteer in the Hawkeye program under Hayden Fry, working through the ranks until he became co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State (1991-95). He left KSU for Florida and a three-year stint as Steve Spurrier’s defensive coordinator. Stoops helped coach the Gators to a national championship in 1996. He was hired at Oklahoma prior to the 1999 season.
Oklahoma Scouting Report
Oklahoma enters Saturday’s game with a perfect 5-0 mark after knocking off Texas, 55-11, in its last outing. No. 1/3 OU has one of the most dynamic offenses in the NCAA. The Sooner passing offense is led by junior quarterback Landry Jones, who has completed 69.3 percent of his passes on the year. Jones has made good on 142 of his 205 passing attempts, good for 1,814 yards and 13 touchdowns. Jones is averaging 362.8 passing yards per game and has thrown just five interceptions. Jones has hit numerous receivers on the season, with his favorite targed being senior Ryan Broyles. Broyles has caught 47 passes for 598 yards and seven TDs. Sophomore Kenny Stills has hauled in 19 receptions for 256 yards and four TDs. The OU ground game is led by Dominique Whaley, who has gained 462 yards on 83 carries. Whaley leads the Sooners with eight TDs. Sophomore linebacker Tom Wort leads the OU defense with 32 tackles, while junior linebacker Ronnell Lewis also has 32 tackles, including 7.0 TFLs for minus 50 yards. Senior linebacker Travis Lewis has 31 tackles in just four games.
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 fields seven Sunflower state natives on its roster in Blake Bell (Wichita), Jaydan Bird (Wichita), Geneo Grissom (Hutchinson), Justin McCay (Shawnee Mission), Marshall Musil (La Crosse), Patrick O’Hara (Topeka) and Jordan Phillips (Towanda). Kansas offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Chuck Long served in the same capacity at Oklahoma from 2002-05. Long played at Iowa along with OU head coach Bob Stoops.
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.
Oklahoma State Leftovers
-Senior TE Tim Biere recorded a 35-yard reception on KU’s first drive, which marked the longest of his career.
-Biere recorded a touchdown catch on KU’s first drive, marking his first touchdown catch of the season. He became the 13th different Jayhawk to score a touchdown this season.
-Biere collected seven catches for 93 yards, which both set career highs.
-Junior WR Kale Pick collected five receptions, which set a new career high.
-Sophomore RB James Sims scored on a 19-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, giving him a team-high five for the season.
-Senior TE Ted McNulty made an 11-yard catch in the third quarter, marking his first reception of the season.
-Freshman WR JaCorey Shepherd recorded a 68-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, which marked the longest of his career. Shepherd has touchdown catches of 68, 56 and 48 yards this season.
-The 68-yard completion was the longest of sophomore QB Jordan Webb’s career, and the longest pass play by the Jayhawks since a 74-yard pass play in the Missouri game in 2009.
-Webb ended the game completing 25-of-36 passes for a career-best 316 yards and two touchdowns.
-It marked the first 300-yard passing game by a Jayhawk since Todd Reesing threw for 498 yards in 2009 against Missouri.
-Sophomore WR Ricki Herod recorded an eight-yard catch in the fourth quarter, marking the first reception of his career.
-Junior DE Toben Opurum recorded a nine-yard sack, marking his second sack of the season.
-Sophomore P Ron Doherty recorded a 59-yard punt in the first quarter, which was a career long and the longest by a Jayhawk since Alonso Rojas had a 62-yard punt at Nebraska in 2010.
-Nick Sizemore blocked a punt in the second half, which marked KU’s first blocked punt since the Insight Bowl in 2008.
Current Jayhawks vs. OU
Here is a look at current Jayhawks and their stats in games versus Oklahoma in 2008 and 2009: 2008– DT Richard Johnson (1-0-1 tackles, 1.0-4 TFLs), CB Corrigan Powell (0-1-1 tackles). 2009– RB Toben Opurum (13-59 rushing), QB Kale Pick (2–5 rushing), WR Bradley McDougald (2-10 receiving, 3-71 kickoff returns), CB Daymond Patterson (1-6 punt returns, 2-1-3 tackles), CB D.J. Beshears (6-1-7 tackles), S Lubbock Smith (3-4-7 tackles), LB Huldon Tharp (3-4-7 tackles, 1 PBU), DT Richard Johnson (0-2-2 tackles), DT John Williams (1-0-1 tackles).
Kansas senior tight end Tim Biere was honored by the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA), as he was named the National Tight End Performer of the Week Sunday. The 6-foot-4 senior from Omaha, Neb., recorded career bests in catches (seven) and receiving yards (93), to go along with his first touchdown of the season in KU’s loss to No. 6 Oklahoma State. Biere’s 19 catches this season match his season total from a year ago, while his 235 receiving yards this season are a career high. He was named to the CFPA Preseason Watch List in July and was an honorable mention honoree last week versus Texas Tech.
Shepherd Goes Long
Kansas freshman WR JaCorey Shepherd continues to make big plays for the Jayhawks. Shepherd recorded his third TD of the season in the game at OSU. He hauled in the pass from QB Jordan Webb and raced 68 yards to pay dirt, marking KU’s longest TD of the season. Shepherd now has TD receptions of 68, 56 and 48 yards on the season. The Mesquite, Texas, native is averaging 27.2 yards per catch on his eight receptions.
Webb Hitting The Mark
Kansas sophomore QB Jordan Webb has been extremely efficient in running the Jayhawk offense through the first five games of the 2011 season. Webb ranks second in the Big 12 and eighth nationally in passing efficiency. The Union, Mo., native has completed 80-of-117 passes on the season, good for 1,130 yards and 11 TDs. Additionally, Webb has thrown just six interceptions, giving him a rating of 171.9. Webb is leading a Jayhawk offense that is averaging an astounding 9.5 yards per pass. Additionally, he has been sacked just nine times in five games.
Young Receivers Making Plays
Kansas has had 15 different players record a reception on the season, with seven of the 15 players being in either their first or second season with the program. True freshman JaCorey Shepherd leads the way with eight receptions for 218 yards and three TDs. Shepherd also owns the longest reception of the season with a 68-yarder to his credit. Four of KU’s 12 receiving TDs have been hauled in by a freshman or sophomore.
Go D.J. That’s My D.J.
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 four rushes for 34 yards, 19 receptions for 257 yards and 28 kickoff returns for 624 yards. Beshears is averaging 184.6 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 three in 2011. Johnson ranks second in the Big 12 and 34th in the NCAA in tackles with 9.2 per outing.
Diversity on Display
Kansas has scored 24 touchdowns on the season, with 13 different players getting in on the action. Sophomore RB James Sims leads the way with five TDS and freshman RB Darrian Miller has three scores on the ground. Freshman WR JaCorey Shepherd has three receiving TDs, while junior WR D.J. Beshears has 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’s Tim Biere and 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 24 plays of more than 20 yards, eight 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 68-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 fourth in the Big 12 and 18th nationally after five games as it is averaging 219.4 yards per game. Sophomore RB James Sims ranks 11th in the Big 12 and 66th nationally in rushing yards per game with his 76.0 per game average.
Newcomers Put Up The Points
Of the nine true freshmen who have made their career debuts in KU’s first five outings, four have scored points. PK Alex Mueller leads the way among the freshmen in scoring as he has connected on 23-of-24 PATs and has also booted two field goals. Mueller ranks second on the team with 29 points. RB Darrian Miller has three TDs on the ground, while fellow RB Tony Pierson has found the endzone twice. WR JaCorey Shepherd has three TDs receiving. Out of Kansas’ 173 points, 67 have been scored by true freshmen.
Third Down Efficiency
KU’s offense is 16th in the NCAA in third-down conversion at 50.67 percent. Kansas has converted on 38-of-75 third downs. Four of the five teams Kansas has played this season also rank in the top 16 nationally (Georgia Tech, first; Oklahoma State, fifth; Texas Tech, ninth; Northern Illinois, ninth). Additionally, this week’s opponent, Oklahoma, ranks 27th 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.
Shepherd Shines Vs. McNeese St.
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 fourth in the Big 12 with 6.5 TFLs for minus 23 yards through the first five games of the season. His 6.5 TFLs ranks 37th in the NCAA. Opurum ranks seventh on the team in tackles as he has recorded 22 on the season, including 15 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 five outings. Led by sophomore P/K Ron Doherty, the Jayhawks rank first the Big 12 and 15th nationally in net punting averaging 40.24 yards per punt. Doherty recorded a career-best 59-yard punt in Kansas’ loss at Oklahoma State. Additionally, KU sophomore FB Nick Sizemore, 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. Sizemore came up with Kansas’ first blocked punt since the 2008 season in KU’s game at OSU.
First Time Starters
Several Kansas players have made their first career starts in KU’s first five games of the season, including DE Pat Lewandowski, WR Marquis Jackson, 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.
Kansas will host the Sunflower State Showdown for the second-straight season on Saturday, Oct. 22, when it welcomes in-state rival Kansas State to Memorial Stadium. Game time is set for 11 a.m., with a live telecast on FSN. KU will be playing on FSN for the second time this season as it also played on the network when it hosted Texas Tech.