Jayhawks Ready for No. 23/22 Oklahoma
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas football team plays the first of back-to-back road games to close out the 2014 season when it travels to Norman, Oklahoma for a game against the #23/22 Sooners Saturday, Nov. 22.
Kansas is looking to get back in the win column after its near-upset of fifth-ranked TCU in its last outing and snap a nine-game winless streak against the Sooners. Game time is slated for 11 a.m., with a live broadcast on FOX Sports 1.
- Kansas owns a 579-596-58 all-time record entering Saturday’s game at Oklahoma.
- Kansas is looking to snap several long streaks when it travels to Oklahoma. KU has lost 28-consecutive true road games and 31 games away from Lawrence overall. Kansas’ last road win came at UTEP on Sept. 12, 2009. The Jayhawks have not won a Big 12 Conference road game since defeating Iowa State, 35-33, on Oct. 4, 2008, a span of 24 true road games and 27 overall Big 12 games outside of Memorial Stadium.
- OU leads the all-time series with Kansas, 71-27-6. The Sooners lead the all-time series in games played in Norman, 37-13-3. Oklahoma has won nine-straight games overall in the series, with KU’s last win coming on Oct. 4, 1997 in Lawrence. The Jayhawks have lost four-consecutive games in Norman, after posting back-to-back wins over the Sooners in Gaylord Family–Memorial Stadium in 1995-96.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS FOOTBALL HISTORY
Kansas is 4-8-1 all-time in games played on Nov. 22. The Jayhawks played their first-ever game on Nov. 22 all the way back in 1894 when they fell to Nebraska, 12-6. Of the 13 games played by the Jayhawks on Nov. 22, 11 came against Missouri. The Tigers own a 3-7-1 mark in those games. Kansas’ last game played on Nov. 22 came in 2003, with a 36-7 win at Iowa State. The win over the Cyclones made the Jayhawks bowl-eligible and they went on to play in the 2003 Tangerine Bowl.
Notable Kansas-Oklahoma connections include Jayhawk senior wide receiver Justin McCay, who signed with Oklahoma out of high school and spent two seasons in Norman before transferring to KU. Oklahoma redshirt senior defensive end Geneo Grissom is a Hutchinson, Kansas, native and played on two state championship teams (2008, ’09) with Kansas senior linebacker Ben Heeney. Oklahoma tight end Blake Bell is cousins with Kansas junior linebacker Beau Bell and both played at Wichita’s Bishop Carroll High School. Quarterbacks T.J. Millweard of Kansas and Cody Thomas of Oklahoma were both residents of Colleyville, Texas although they attended different high schools. Sooner defensive lineman Jordan Phillips is a native of Towanda, Kansas which lies approximately 180 miles southwest of Lawrence, near the Wichita area. Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and his brother, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, are from Youngstown, Ohio which is also the common stomping grounds of Kansas special teams coach Louie Matsakis, his brother, KU Assistant to the Athletics Director George Matsakis and Assistant Football Communications Director D.J. Haurin.
SCOUTING THE OKLAHOMA OFFENSE
Oklahoma’s offense is averaging 38.8 points per outing this season and in total has scored 388 points on the year. The offense has moved the first down chains a total of 236 times – 124 by rush and 102 by pass. Oklahoma has rushed for 2,409 yards so far on only 408 attempts breaking down to an average of 5.9 yards per rush and 240 yards per game. The Sooners have put the ball in the end zone by rush a total of 30 times in 2014. Through the air, OU has thrown for 2,384 yards and 16 touchdowns on 180 completions out of 319 attempts while tossing 14 interceptions. The Sooners average 238 yards through the air in each contest. Overall, Oklahoma has put up 4,793 yards of total offense and is averaging 479 yards per game. Inside the 20-yard line OU scores 82 percent of the time and converts a touchdown 73 percent of the time. Breaking down the scoring by quarters, Oklahoma bursts out of the gate to score a combined 121 points in first quarters combined in 2014, yet drops off throughout the game (99 second quarter, 97 third and 71 fourth).
SCOUTING THE OKLAHOMA DEFENSE
Defensively, Oklahoma is tough to score points on after only giving up 25.2 points per game. In terms of chunk plays, Oklahoma has allowed 217 first downs this season and is more susceptible to the pass than the rush – 73 rushing first downs and 126 passing. Teams have rushed for a combined 1,184 yards and only average 3.3 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns. In the air, opponents have completed 234 of 415 passes for 18 touchdowns while throwing 10 interceptions. The Sooners also don’t allow touchdowns when they get backed up inside their 20-yard line only allowing a touchdown 53 percent of the time (17-32). The second quarter of games has been the opponents’ best opportunity to put points on the board after scoring 96 points in the middle session of games so far. Individually sophomore linebacker Dominique Alexander commands the defense with a team-high 86 total tackles. The Sooners rely on linebacker Eric Striker to disrupt plays in the backfield as he has a team-high 11.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage this season including 6.5 sacks. In the secondary cornerback Zack Sanchez leads the team with five interceptions to go along with 35 total tackles and six pass breakups.
OKLAHOMA HEAD COACH BOB STOOPS
After 16 seasons at the helm of one of the most storied programs in college football history, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops is the winningest coach in Sooner history, and is the only person to lead his team to a victory in every BCS bowl game and the BCS National Championship Game. Stoops has led the Sooners to a school-record 15 consecutive bowl berths and eight Big 12 titles. He has coached the program to more than twice as many championships as any other school in the league with eight. Since Stoops took over no team from a BCS conference owns more victories or a better winning percentage than Oklahoma (160-39, .804). No school can claim more BCS berths since 2000 than Oklahoma’s nine and only three schools can boast longer active streaks of consecutive bowl berths. Among teams from BCS conferences only Alabama (72) and Oregon (67) have more wins than Oklahoma (63) over the past six seasons. During his tenure at the program, Stoops has picked up 17 coach of the year citations, including eight on the national level (only five coaches nationally have won more conference coach of the year awards). Under Stoops’ direction, the Sooners have posted 12 seasons with 10 or more wins in his 15 years at OU, a total that no FBS program can top dating back to 1999. Oklahoma has set four NCAA records and set or tied 112 school records under Stoops. Oklahoma won the 2000 national championship and has played for three more during his tenure. The Sooners have spent 30 weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll and a national-leading 20 weeks atop the BCS standings. OU has registered double-digit victories in 128 of Stoops’ 198 games. The Sooners boast an 81-1 mark under Stoops when scoring 40 points or more.
- Kansas’ first offensive drive was kept alive after two fourth down conversions – the first occurred when a TCU player roughed punter Trevor Pardula on a punt and the second was converted on a fake field goal which moved the chains. The 17-play, 75-yard drive was capped off by a two-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Corey Avery. KU’s 17 plays bested its previous single season-high of 14 sustained plays in a drive this season.
- Kansas’ second offensive possession of the game resulted in the Jayhawks holding the ball for 6:18 besting the season’s previous longest drive span of 6:13 at Baylor.
- Backed into their own end zone at the 11-yard line with 3:20 to play in the first quarter, the Jayhawk defense stuffed TCU on a fourth down attempt. Previously TCU was 4-of-9 for a 44 percent conversion rate on fourth down.
- After junior quarterback Michael Cummings found senior tight end Jimmay Mundine to take a 13-7 lead early in the second quarter it was the Jayhawks’ first lead over a team ranked in the top 10 since leading No. 7 Kansas State 7-0 on Oct. 6, 2012.
- At the end of the first half Kansas took a 13-10 lead into the locker room. The last time Kansas led a team ranked in the nation’s top five at the half was when the Jayhawks defeated Virginia Tech 24-21 on Jan. 3, 2008.
- Kansas took the lead over TCU after a 13-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Michael Cummings found senior tight end Jimmay Mundine. The combination hooked up for Cummings’ sixth touchdown of the season and Mundine’s third receiving score.
- At the beginning of the third quarter Cummings found Mundine for a career-long 67-yard catch and run down to the TCU five yard-line. Mundine finished the game with a career-best 137 receiving yards.
- Mundine finished the game with the most receiving yards by a tight end since 1974, catching seven passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. The previous high by a tight end was Wayne Capers, who had 131 receiving yards in 1981.
- Mundine became the first Kansas tight end to go over 100 receiving yards since Dwayne Chandler had 101 yards against Western Carolina in 1995.
- Mundine’s 137 receiving yards were also the most by a KU pass catcher this season.
- After Mundine got the Jayhawks within five yards of the end zone Cummings finished the drive off with a one-yard touchdown – his fourth rushing TD of the season.
- After TCU answered and cut its deficit to three points 20-17, Cummings lobbed a pass up to junior wide receiver Nigel King who made a miraculous one-handed catch while tight-roping the sideline for a 78-yard score, his first TD of the year.
- King completed the game with five catches for a career-best 128 yards and one touchdown.
- After hauling in 101 yards against Iowa State on Nov. 8, King became the first Jayhawk since Dezmon Briscoe in 2009 to have 100 receiving yards in consecutive games. Briscoe accomplished the feat by compiling 101 yards at No. 3 Texas and 242 yards against Missouri on Nov. 21 and 28, 2009.
- King and Mundine both surpassed 100 yards receiving, the first time a Jayhawk duo has gone over 100 receiving yards in the same game since Dezmon Briscoe (154) and Kerry Meier (103) accomplished the same feat against Colorado in 2009.
- Cummings career-high 332 passing yards was the most by a Jayhawk in a game since Todd Reesing threw for 338 yards vs. Duke, Sept, 9, 2009.
- With TCU threatening to score midway through the second quarter with 8:24 to play in the half senior cornerback JaCorey Shepherd tacked on another defended pass to his conference leading total with his third interception of the year at KU’s two-yard line. The pickoff preserved KU’s early lead 13-7.
- Senior linebacker Ben Heeney turned in his seventh double-digit tackling performance of the season and the 18th of his career with 11 total tackles.
- Senior safety Cassius Sendish posted a season-high 10 tackles against the Horned Frogs.
- special teams notes
- Sophomore quarterback T.J. Millweard completed his second career pass on a botched field goal attempt on fourth down midway through the first quarter. Millweard’s completed pass to senior tight end Trent Smiley marked the first time KU has successfully converted a first down on field goal attempt since Blake Jablonski and Toben Opurum converted a fake field at Kansas State in 2012.
- After Kansas took a 27-17 lead, the ensuing kickoff was fumbled by TCU – forced by senior punter/kicker Trevor Pardula and recovered by Kansas.
MUNDINE 4 MACKEY
Kansas senior Jimmay Mundine was named one of eight semi-finalists for the John Mackey Award Monday morning. Mundine is the first Kansas player to be named a semi-finalist for the award, which has been in existence since 2000. A native of Denison, Texas, Mundine recorded a career-best tying seven receptions for a career-high 137 yards and a touchdown, leading the Jayhawks in receptions and receiving yards in their near-upset of fifth-ranked TCU in their last outing. Mundine’s 137-yard receiving performance was the most for a Kansas tight end since 1974. Mundine is having a strong senior campaign as he leads all Big 12 Conference tight ends and ranks fourth nationally among the position group with his 537 receiving yards on 40 catches. He is averaging 13.4 yards per catch in 2014 and has scored three touchdowns. His 537 receiving yards are the most by a tight end from a ‘Power 5’ conference and his 40 receptions ranks second among tight ends from a ‘Power 5′ conference. Mundine has been critical to Kansas’ offensive improvement as 30 of his 40 receptions have resulted in first downs or touchdowns.
CUMMINGS CONTINUES TO RISE
Kansas junior quarterback Michael Cummings has continued to lead the Jayhawk passing game to greater heights since being inserted into the starting lineup. In his five games as the starter, Cummings has completed 104-of-176 passes, good for a completion percentage of 59.1. He has tossed seven touchdowns, compared to three interceptions, while accumulating 1,421 yards through the air. Kansas is averaging 287.8 passing yards per game in the Killeen, Texas native’s five starts. The Jayhawk offense was averaging just 154.6 passing yards per game in the five games prior to Cummings becoming the starter. Cummings set a new career high in passing with 332 yards in KU’s near-upset of fifth-ranked TCU. His 332 yards passing were the most for a Jayhawk quarterback since 2009. Additionally, Cummings has scored four rushing touchdowns in his five starts and he also recorded his first-ever punt against TCU.
JAYHAWK PASS CATCHERS SOARING
With junior Michael Cummings leading the way as the signal caller in the last five games the Jayhawk passing game has soared. With Cummings handling his part, the Jayhawk pass catchers have also stepped up in a big way as three KU players have amassed more than 300 yards receiving a piece over the last five games. The chart below shows the marked improvement:
|FIRST FIVE GAMES||LAST FIVE GAMES|
|Nick Harwell||17||123||2||Jimmay Mundine||29||413||3|
|Jimmay Mundine||11||124||0||Nick Harwell||24||306||2|
|Nigel King||9||114||0||Nigel King||19||306||2|
JACOREY SHEPHERD A FINALIST FOR THE SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Kansas senior cornerback/kick returner JaCorey Shepherd (vote for JaCorey here: www.seniorclassaward.com) was named one of 10 finalists for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award Tuesday afternoon. Shepherd, a native of Mesquite, Texas, is the first Jayhawk tabbed as a finalist since Darrell Stuckey in 2009, and one of three players representing the Big 12 Conference. The Senior CLASS Award is intended to honor student-athletes who excel both on and off the field in collegiate football. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I FBS senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. On top of being a two-time Academic All-Big 12 Second Team honoree, Shepherd is an active member of Big Brothers Big Sisters, spending time weekly with his little brother despite his demanding schedule. He has also been active in the local community volunteering at various local elementary schools as a reader/mentor and taking part in several elementary school carnivals and field days. He has also participated in Hawks, Cops and Kids, along with several football clinics with both the special needs community and local area elementary school children. Shepherd also shines on the field for the Jayhawks as he currently leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks second nationally in passes defended with 18 on the season. Shepherd’s 18 passes defended come by way of 15 pass breakups and three interceptions. He had a career-game in leading Kansas to a win over Iowa State in its last outing as he posted five pass breakups and one interception. His six passes defended are a single-game high in the NCAA this season. Even more impressive, Shepherd has not surrendered a touchdown since the opening game of the season against Southeast Missouri State.
Kansas will conclude the 2014 season with a trip to Kansas State and the annual Sunflower Showdown. Game time is set for 3 p.m., with a live broadcast on FOX Sports 1. Kansas leads the all-time series with KSU, 65-41-5, including a 28-24-3 advantage in games played in Manhattan.
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