Jayhawks Head South for Conference Bout with #14/12 Cowboys

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – With a squad that continues to make strides to get better each week, head coach David Beaty and the Jayhawks head South for a conference matchup at No. 14/12 Oklahoma State, Saturday, October 24. Kansas (0-6, 0-3 Big 12) and the Cowboys (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) meet for the 31st time in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with a kickoff slated for 2:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

Since 1923, Kansas and Oklahoma State have met 65 times on the gridiron with the Cowboys leading the all-time series 33-29-3. The two squads have lined up against each other 30 times in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and are knotted up with 14 wins a piece in that span (14-14-2). The Last time the Jayhawks won a game against OSU came on Nov. 10, 2007, with a decisive 43-28 victory at Boone Pickens Stadium. Since then, Kansas has lost five-straight contests against Oklahoma State. Of the last 11 games dating back to 1998, KU’s win in 2007 marks the only victory in that span, after having a perfect 6-0 record against the Cowboys from 1990-95.

Oklahoma State is averaging 37.3 points per game behind 2,778 yards of total offense (825 rushing and 1,953 passing). The Cowboys have racked up 139 first downs (40 rushing, 88 passing and 11 penalty) en route to scoring 28 touchdowns. When opponents allow OSU to reach the red zone, it has scored 97 percent of the time (28-29), including 17 touchdowns, and rank third in the nation in that category. Quarterback Mason Rudolph completes 63 percent of his passes (138-of-219) and has thrown for 1,892 yards and nine touchdowns. Rudolph ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 315.3 yard per game and averages 13.7 yards per completion. Three different receivers have caught 20 or more of Rudolph’s passes, including David Glidden (28), Marcell Ateman (21) and James Washington (21). Gliddens leads the corps with 76.2 yards per game and three touchdowns, while Ateman averages a team-high 16.4 yards per catch and has reached the end zone three times himself. On the ground, the Cowboys write a different story, ranking ninth in the league with 137.5 yards per game and haven’t had a 100-plus-yard rusher in conference play. Running back Chris Carson has carried the ball a team-high 79 times for 295 yards and three touchdowns while J.W. Walsh has also scored three times. When it comes to scoring, the Cowboys do most of their damage in the first and fourth quarters, respectively, as they have accumulated more than half of their point total in those two periods (124).

Oklahoma State enters Saturday’s contest with the No. 2-rated defense in the Big 12 Conference as it allows 20.3 points per game. The Cowboys have given up the fewest first downs in the league at 109 and rank 23rd nationally in the same category. Opponents have averaged 332.2 (152.7 rushing and 179.5 passing) yards of total offense per game, that rank second in the conference behind Oklahoma (321.7). Teams have completed just 56 percent (99-176-6) of their passes for 1,077 yards and five touchdowns. When opponents reach the red zone, they have scored 76 percent of the time (13-of-17), including 10 touchdowns. As a team, OSU has forced 14 turnovers, including eight fumble recoveries and six interceptions to aid in three defensive touchdowns, third-most in the FBS. Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah leads the league with 1.25 sacks per game and 1.8 TFLs per game, respectively, while counterpart Jimmy Bean isn’t too far off pace with 0.92 and 1.8 himself. Free safety Jordan Sterns holds 56 tackles to his name and averages 9.3 a game, defensive backs Ashton Lampkin and Tre Flowers have defended four passes and aided to the team’s six interceptions.

Of the 30 total seasons Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has been in the collegiate ranks, 25 of them have been as a part of the Cowboys’ staff. Gundy was the 2010 Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year and took home three national coach of the year honors in 2011. Gundy’s ties to OSU started in 1986 as a quarterback for the Cowboys. He ended his playing career in 1989 as OSU’s all-time leading passer with 7,997 yards and also owns six of Oklahoma State’s top 30 single-game passing performances. Gundy was brought onto the coaching staff in 1990 as the wide receivers coach and in 1991 was moved to mentor the quarterbacks. Gundy was elevated to offensive coordinator duties in 1994. After taking two different jobs from 1996-2000, Gundy returned to his alma mater in 2001 to serve as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator – a job he held until 2004 when he was named the head coach before the 2005 season. Under his command, the Cowboys have produced 16 All-Americans in the last six seasons. As a team, Oklahoma State has been ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll in five of the last six seasons and has posted 10-win seasons three of the last five years. OSU has finished no lower than third in the Big 12 since 2009 and has a current streak of eight-straight bowl games.

Kansas quarterbacks have connected with 15 different wide outs in 2015 at least two times and lead the FBS with 13 different receivers tallying at least 38 yards. Among them are redshirt-freshman Tyler Patrick and true freshmen Jeremiah Booker, Emmanuel Moore and Steven Sims, Jr. The foursome have combined for 28.8 percent of the team’s receiving yards (424-of-1472), 20 percent of the corps touchdowns (1-of-5) and 30.7 percent of the receivers’ catches (43-of-140). Booker ranks fifth on the squad with 10 catches for 104 yards in just two games played, and ranks second with 52.0 yards per game.

The Jayhawks are one of the youngest teams in the country as they rank first in first-time players (37) and second in first-time starters (30). Among the first-time starters, eight have been true freshmen or redshirt freshmen, and on offense, the Jayhawks have started four freshmen in each of their last two games.

When Kansas takes on Oklahoma State Saturday at 2:30 p.m., no current Jayhawk that steps on the field after kickoff will have experienced a victory away from Memorial Stadium. Kansas will look to snap a staggering winless streak of 35 games played outside of Lawrence. The last time a Kansas team recorded a victory in a hostile or neutral environment, the 2015 freshman class were just eighth graders.

Conversely, the last time KU won a Big 12 Conference road game was on Oct. 4, 2008, a 35-33 win at Iowa State. Kansas hasn’t won a true conference road game in 28 tries and hasn’t beaten a league opponent away from Memorial Stadium in 32 attempts.

In the Jayhawks’ last road victory – a 34-7 bout over UTEP on Sept. 12, 2009, running back Jake Sharp engineered two touchdowns and 104 yards, while quarterback Todd Reesing threw 25-of-41 passes for 260 yards and a score. Wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe turned in 154 yards on eight catches.

*KU is 0-32 in true road games dating back to 2009. Adding three neutral-site losses to Missouri in 2009, 10 and 11 gives Kansas its 35-game winless streak in games played outside of Memorial Stadium.

In his second career start, freshman quarterback Ryan Willis threw his way into the KU history books after completing 35-of-50 passes for 330 yards and two touchdowns vs. Texas Tech (Oct. 17). In the first half of play, Willis threw for 184 yards, surpassing his previous career-high of 158 yard set vs. Baylor (Oct. 10). Willis broke freshman records for passing yards (330), completions (35) and attempts (50). His 330 yards ranks 22nd all-time in the KU record books. His 50 attempts are the most since Todd Reesing threw 55 times against Missouri in 2009, while his 35 completions are tied for fifth-best in school history. His 70 percent completion percentage also ranked second-best in school history on a minimum of 30 completions, as Reesing holds the record at 84.2 percent (32-of-38) set in 2008 against Louisiana Tech. Willis’ performance earned him Athlon Sports National Freshman of the Week.

Kansas returns home for Homecoming/K Club Weekend and plays host to Oklahoma, Saturday, Oct. 31, at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff against the Sooners is slated for either 2 or 2:30 p.m., and can be seen on FOX or Fox Sports 1.

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