Football vs Texas Tech-19

Kansas football plays host to No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday. The Jayhawks look for a win after losing their last five games. 

There’s no question that Saturday will be Kansas Football’s toughest matchup of the season as the Jayhawks host undefeated No. 3 Oklahoma

Kansas is currently riding a five-game losing streak but has no time to look back now. Offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki said he is happy to see the players put in the continuous work despite the end results.

“I've been happy with the effort that people have been giving, and how they've come off to practice, you know, to get better [every] day,” Kotelnicki said. “We want to be able to... develop players. It's one thing to talk about… [what] we're gonna [do to] make you a better whatever, pick a position, you know, through experience and through reps. But what that actually looks like and what that actually feels like, they're probably a little bit different than what you initially think.”

For Jayhawk Nation, this fall has not been the season that many hoped for, but fans have seen a glimpse of what Kansas football coach Lance Leipold and his staff are capable of moving forward. Some games in the last six weeks have been tougher than others in terms of point differential, and Oklahoma is no stranger to putting large amounts of points on the scoreboard. 

This season, the Sooners are averaging just under 43 points per game to Kansas’s mere 17 point average. In its last two, Oklahoma managed back-to-back 50-point plus performances, highlighted by the impressive comeback win in the Red River Showdown. 

The victory over the Texas Longhorns, in part, can be attributed to the play of the Sooners' freshman quarterback Caleb Williams who has seen an influx in playing time recently. As a dual-threat quarterback, Williams is able to connect with receivers for a high completion while still being able to gain yards in space by foot. 

“They [Oklahoma] went from, you know, the Heisman front runner and benched him and went to went to another, you know, a five-star freshman that looks like he's playing like he's about 30-years-old,” defensive coordinator Brian Borland said. “It hasn't really changed what they do I don't really think and obviously they really haven't missed a beat, so you know like in terms of affecting our preparation, not really. They're both good players and both capable [of] making things happen so we'd have our work cut out for us either way.”

Kansas is not in quite the same position as the Sooners in regards to the quarterback position. However, Leipold gave the nod to senior Miles Kendrick with six minutes remaining against Texas Tech, and he delivered. Kendrick recorded two touchdowns on 4-of-7 completions to add much-needed points. 

It will be interesting to see if redshirt junior quarterback Jason Bean does indeed get the ball back in his hands or if it will be more of a musical chairs type of afternoon for the Jayhawks. Nonetheless, getting points up early and often, paired with eliminating turnovers, will be the key for the KU offense Saturday.  

“When you talk about offenses, competing at a high level, in championship level offenses, the word consistency is going to come up…,” Kotelnicki said. “But to be able to consistently go in and out of those things, especially when you need to as a football program, that's where we have to get to the next level.”

All attention will be turned to the Jayhawks’ defensive line, as they look to pressure Williams in the first true road test of his collegiate career. The line has yet to capitalize on more than four sacks all season, which unfortunately leaves opponents with tons of time to make the right choices. 

Also on high alert will be the Kansas's secondary led by junior safety Kenny Logan Jr. and freshman cornerback Ra’Mello Dotson. Logan is not only a talented defensive back with 45 total tackles and an interception attached to his name, but he is also a veteran vocal leader, too. 

“They're [the Sooners] a team that you can have defensed and they have enough talent to make you miss and make plays anyway,” Borland said. “They also have the combination run and pass game... They've got a tough play design as well... which makes it hard to defend everybody but even when you do they still have the capability of making plays just individually, so yeah it's tough.”

The defense will need to key in on junior running back Kennedy Brooks who has just over seven yards per carry in conference play and has filled up the stat sheet with seven touchdowns so far this season. Additionally, sophomore wide receiver Jadon Haselwood is a monstrous asset with five receiving touchdowns in the fall — three of them against Texas Christian University last week. 

All things considered, Kansas is in for a challenge and looks for a statement win against a championship-contending team. 

Kickoff Saturday is at 11 a.m. at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

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