Kansas can't solve No. 16 Oklahoma
NORMAN, Okla. – Down by only four points late in the first quarter, Kansas was looking to capitalize on a fumble recovery when an athletic interception by No. 16 Oklahoma provided its high-powered offense the spark it needed to post a 56-3 victory Saturday night inside Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
Trailing 7-3, Kansas (1-7, 0-5 Big 12) had its chance to take an early lead inside Sooner (6-2, 5-0 Big 12) territory after freshman safety Mike Lee provided KU’s only takeaway of the contest. The rookie knocked the ball loose from Dede Westbrook and sophomore defensive tackle Daniel Wise recovered the fumble and lumbered six yards to the OU 25-yard line.
On the next play redshirt junior quarterback Montell Cozart dropped back and tried to lob a pass down the left sideline. The ball was picked off by Jordan Thomas who made an athletic play to get a foot down inbounds at his team’s 2-yard line. The turnover didn’t directly go on to hurt KU as its defense forced a punt, but the offense was never the same following the interception manufacturing just 170 yards in the game. Cozart threw for 111 yards after completing 18-of-34 passes.
Sophomore wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., grabbed a game-high-tying five passes, but only produced 35 receiving yards. Senior safety Fish Smithson led the team with nine tackles, while sophomore defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., notched a sack in his sixth-straight game.
Oklahoma seized the momentum from the takeaway and began to connect on big plays. Quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 16-of-24 passes for 236 yards and four touchdowns. Mayfield’s favorite target, Westbrook, caught five passes for 105 yards and a score.
Each team’s opening drive stalled, resulting in consecutive punts to open the contest. After another Kansas punt on its second drive, Oklahoma wide receiver Dede Westbrook put the Sooners on the board with a 71-yard punt return with 9:56 to play in the first quarter, 7-0.
The Jayhawks responded to the touchdown with a balanced running and passing drive of 16 plays, covering 69 yards and capped by a 23-yard field goal to put Kansas on the board, 7-3. The 16 plays marked the most on a Kansas drive this season as Cozart kept the chains moving with seven completions for 48 yards and four rushes for 15 yards.
On the ensuing kickoff a hold on Oklahoma negated a touchdown and Kansas capitalized on the error. Lee knocked the ball loose from Westbrook to eventually be recovered by Wise on the 25-yard line. Thomas picked off Cozart’s pass on the ensuing play and the Sooners never looked back putting up 49 unanswered points, 56-3.
UP NEXT: Kansas will travel to No. 10 West Virginia on Nov. 5. Kickoff from Morgantown is slated for either the 2:30 p.m., or 6 p.m., time slot. The Jayhawks and Mountaineers will play on one of three networks as ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 are all in the mix. A final determination on game time and network will be announced on Monday, Oct. 31.
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