DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 13, 3:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (50,071) -- Lawrence, Kansas. Television: FSN. Home Record: OSU 2-1, Kansas 1-2. Away Record: OSU 0-1, Kansas 0-2. Neutral Record: OSU 0-0, Kansas 0-0. Conference Record: OSU 0-1, Kansas 0-2. Series Record: Oklahoma State leads, 30-29-3.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams searching for their first Big 12 Conference win of the season are set to square off at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, as the Kansas Jayhawks entertain the Cowboys of Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State is coming off a bye and enters the contest with a 2-2 record. The Cowboys' most recent tilt resulted in a 41-36 setback to 15th-ranked Texas two weeks ago, as the Longhorns scored the game-winning touchdown in the final 30 seconds. The Cowboys have scored an average of 46.3 points over the last three games, yet they have also allowed 41.3 points over that same span.
Kansas is off to a 1-4 start under new head coach Charlie Weis. The Jayhawks have dropped four in a row after opening the season with a win over South Dakota State. Last weekend, they traveled to Kansas State and got trounced by their in-state rival in a 56-16 final.
Oklahoma State holds a 30-29-3 edge in the all-time series. The Cowboys cruised to a 70-28 win over KU last season in Stillwater.
OSU starting quarterback Wes Lunt suffered a knee injury against Louisiana on Sept. 15, and redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh came in and threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns in that game, as the Cowboys set a school record for total offense. Walsh then made his first career start and nearly pulled off a big upset, throwing for 301 yards and another two scores. Although Lunt's status is questionable for this contest, Walsh has certainly made his case for becoming the full-time starter. After all, it's not every week the Texas defense gets gashed for 576 total yards. Running back Joseph Randle (133.5 ypg) got into the mix with a career-high 199 rushing yards, averaging eight yards per carry and scoring on a 69-yard run on the game's second play. With the ground game and passing game continuing to operate in top gear, the Cowboys enter the weekend ranked first in the nation in total offense (659.00) and scoring offense (55.8), and ranked fifth in both passing offense (359.00) and rushing offense (300.00).
Cowboys' linebacker Shaun Lewis had a huge day against Texas, notching 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Defensive end Tyler Johnson had four tackles, half a sack and an interception. OSU's defense played well enough to earn the victory against Texas, right up until the Longhorns' game-winning drive that covered 75 yards in eight plays. UT's ground game was stifled to the tune of 136 yards on 42 total attempts, an average of 3.2 yards per tote. However, quarterback David Ash completed 30- of-37 passes for 304 yards and three TDs. On the season, the Cowboys rank 92nd nationally in scoring defense (31.0 ppg).
The Jayhawks came out ready to play in the first half against nationally- ranked Kansas State last week, as they held the ball for nearly 22 minutes and trailed just 21-14 at intermission. However, the offense turned the ball over three times in the third quarter, and the Wildcats put the game away with 28 points in the frame. Dayne Crist was intercepted three times and sacked four times, as the KU offense simply could not sustain any drives in the second half. James Sims managed 115 rushing yards and a TD on 28 carries, although the Wildcats defense was content to give up some running lanes with the score well out of hand. Kansas is one of four schools in the nation to have had three different running backs rush for 100 yards in a game this season.
K-State needed only 30 plays to put eight touchdowns on the board against the Jayhawks, lighting up the scoreboard early and often. Although they are susceptible to big plays, the Jayhawks have forced 13 turnovers through five games to rank second in the Big 12 in that department. In his last two outings, sophomore middle linebacker Ben Heeney has been a force. He established a then career-best 11 tackles at Northern Illinois, and followed that up with a new personal-best 14 tackles to go along with a forced fumble last week at Kansas State. Among Heeney's 14 tackles was a touchdown-saving stop at the one-yard line just before the end of the first half. He leads the defense with 41 tackles on the season.
After resting up with two byes over the last three weeks, OSU is beginning a stretch that will see the team play eight games in eight weeks to close out the regular season. Expect the Cowboys to kick off that stretch with a convincing victory over the Jayhawks.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma State 52, Kansas 24
10/10 10:35:30 ET
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