Here are some quick observations after Oklahoma’s 34-19 win against Kansas on Saturday in Lawrence.
- KU attacks OU’s weakness: Think Kansas took a look at the OU-Texas film? The Jayhawks came out attacking the heart of the Sooners’ defense via the run game. James Sims had 129 yards rushing (100 before halftime) and Kansas physically. Kansas surpassed its per game rushing average by early in the second quarter before OU could make adjustments.
- Finding ways to score: Offensive inspiration doesn’t just have to come from the offense. The Sooners had the punt block on in the second quarter and it worked. Matt Dimon got a piece of the ball and Kansas kicked it out of the back of the end zone for a safety. That took some of Kansas’ momentum, and the Sooners went ahead on their first offensive play of the next series.
- Creativity on offense: Give Josh Heupel credit. After coming out stale in the first quarter, the OU offensive coordinator took the blocked punt momentum and went bold. On the first play after the punt block, Wide receiver Lacoltan Bester hit Sterling Shepard with a well-placed 49-yard touchdown pass. Getting Shepard involved looked like a point of emphasis for the OU offense, and after finishing with no catches against Texas, Shepard had seven receptions for 82 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday. Blake Bell also threw two touchdowns – his first passing scores since the Notre Dame game.
- The strange sequences: In the fourth quarter, OU had a punt blocked of its own, which Kansas recovered at the Sooners’ 6-yard-line. Following Sims’ 6-yard touchdown run, OU blocked the point-after try, which Aaron Colvin ran back for two points and the 27-19 lead. That snuffed what little momentum KU had after cutting OU’s lead to six. It was a strange special teams day in general, with three combined missed extra points and two punt blocks.
- Ground game gets going: Down the stretch, when OU needed the tough yards, the Sooners revved up the ground game. The Sooners rushed for 236 yards, most of which came in a fourth quarter where clock control was critical. Four OU players finished with 34 yards rushing or more. Blake Bell bounced back from the Texas loss with 53 yards rushing and Damien Williams (team-high 56 yards) found the end zone on a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter to give the Sooners a 34-19 lead.