Pooka Williams Jr.'s career day not enough as Kansas falls to No. 6/6 Oklahoma
NORMAN, Okla. – Kansas freshman running back Pooka Williams Jr., rose to the occasion as the Jayhawks traveled to No. 6/6 Oklahoma, racking up 252 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while also adding a passing touchdown in the fourth quarter as KU fell to the Sooners, 55-40.
On Oklahoma’s first march down the field, Kansas’ defense did what it does best – take the ball away. The Sooners entered the red zone, but not for long as junior safety Mike Lee forced his Big 12-leading third fumble and recovered it to give Kansas possession and kept OU off the scoreboard.
Once KU got possession, Williams went to work and recorded his best performance in a first half of the season. Williams rushed for 72 yards in the opening quarter, including a 23-yard rush into the end zone, which gave the Jayhawks an early lead.
The Jayhawks didn’t relinquish the lead to the Sooners until the nine minute mark of the second quarter. Despite trailing 21-10 at the half, the Jayhawks came out of the locker room with a spark on defense. Kansas opened the second half with an interception by senior cornerback Shakial Taylor, setting up a three-yard rushing touchdown by junior running back Khalil Herbert. Herbert’s score brought KU within four of the Sooners on its first drive of the second half.
After KU came within a possession of the Sooners, Oklahoma charged ahead with back-to-back scores before the Jayhawks would strike again. Williams threw his first career touchdown to senior wide receiver Jeremiah Booker, giving Kansas’ offense a boost in the fourth quarter, but the potent Sooner offense was too much for the Jayhawks and gave Oklahoma the 15-point victory.
NOTABLES // Complete Kansas Postgame Notes
- The Jayhawks’ 40 points against Oklahoma Saturday night is the most scored against the Sooners since 1996 when KU scored 52. It’s also the most points scored against a Big 12 opponent since 2010 when Kansas scored 52 points against Colorado. KU’s 40 points at Oklahoma is the most on the road against a Big 12 opponent since 2007 when the Jayhawks scored 43 at Oklahoma State.
- Freshman running back Pooka Williams Jr. rushed for 72 yards in the first quarter, the most in a first quarter this season by a Jayhawk. By halftime, Williams ran for 137 yards, the most by the freshman in a first half this season.
- Williams finished the night with a career-high 252 rushing yards, his third 100-yard rushing game of the season. His 252 rushing yards is the most by a freshman in Kansas history and the sixth most by a Jayhawk in a game.
- Williams’ 252 yards on the ground against Oklahoma brought his season rushing total to 1,022 yards, making him the first Jayhawk to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark on a season since James Sims ran for 1,110 in 2013.
- Williams is the 12th player in KU history to record a 1,000-yard season, and his year marks the 15th in KU history as three KU players have had two 1,000-yard seasons. Williams is just the third freshman to notch a 1,000-yard rushing season in KU history.
- Williams had four rushes for 20 or more yards against the Sooners. He now has 14 20-plus yard rushes on the season, which leads the Big 12.
- Senior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. recorded his eighth double-digit tackle performance of the season after bringing down 14 Sooners Saturday night.
- Freshman running back Pooka Williams Jr. put Kansas on the board first in the opening quarter after a 23-yard rush into the end zone.
- Senior kicker Gabriel Rui connected on a 45-yard field to start the second quarter, giving KU a 10-7 lead.
- Junior running back Khalil Herbert recorded his first rushing touchdown of the game, a 3-yard run in the third quarter. Prior to the touchdown drive, senior cornerback Shakial Taylor registered his second interception of the year.
- Williams connected with senior wide receiver Jeremiah Booker for a nine-yard touchdown reception.
Kansas will host Texas on Friday, Nov. 23, for Senior Day. KU will honor 30 seniors prior to kickoff. The game will kick off at 11 a.m., with a live broadcast on FOX Sports 1.