NORMAN – The Sooner defense, admittedly hampered by injuries, put on perhaps its worst performance of a bad year Saturday night, surrendering 40 points and 524 yards to lowly Kansas in a 55-40 win on a frigid evening at Owen Field. The Sooner offense, on the other hand, did not punt and scored seven TDs, failing to score only because of a pair of turnovers and running out the clock at the end of the game.
Kyler Murray was brilliant once again, other than a second half pick. He was 21 of 32 for 272 yards and two TDs. He also added 99 yards rushing and three scores.
Trey Sermon went out of the game early with a tweaked ankle, leaving Kennedy Brooks as the only really healthy tailback. Brooks responded well, with 171 yards on 25 carries and a pair of TDs. Things were so lean in the available running back department that Jeremiah Hall got four carries, picking up 21 yards.
Hollywood Brown led the Sooner receivers with six catches for 65 yards. CeeDee Lamb added five for 52, while Carson Meier had three for 49 and a score. Grant Calcaterra had three for 46 and a score.
KU took the opening kickoff and moved to the Sooner 43 before stalling and punting OU to their own 14. From there, Sermon ran for five, then Murray hit Lamb for 20 and a first down. Calcaterra caught one for 12, then two plays later Hollywood Brown had a 12-yard catch of his own and OU had first down at the KU 39. Five plays later, immediately after he had a nine-yard run for a first down at the Kansas 10, Brooks was stripped of the ball and the Jayhawks recovered. They would turn the gift into points.
KU went through the Sooner defense like the proverbial s**t through a goose. Their seven-play, 93-yard drive saw only one pass and featured runs of 39 and 23 yards by Pooka Williams, who would torment the Sooners all night. The 23-yarder was the scoring play, and Kansas led the Sooners 7-0 with 2:50 to play in the first quarter.
A nice kickoff return from Tre Brown put the Sooners in good field position at their own 41. A holding penalty on first down pushed it back to first and 20. Brooks ran for 14, then Murray hit Lee Morris for 40 to the Kansas 15. Two plays later, Murray carried it in from seven yards out and it was 7-7 with 1:19 to play in the first quarter.
Kansas answered with a 47-yard, 11-play drive for a field goal that made it 10-7 with 12:02 to play in the second quarter. OU then took the lead for good, sparking bya 33-yard kickoff return from Tre Brown out to the Sooner 35. Brooks ran for seven, then Murray picked up four. Brooks carried for 13, then consecutive completions to Lamb of seven and 14 yards made it first down at the Jayhawk 20. Murray then hit a wide open Meier for the score and it was 14-10 Sooners with 9:03 to play in the first half.
KU would move to the Sooner 40 on the ensuing drive before failing on a fourth and six try. A pass interference penalty got the ball rolling on the ensuing possession, then Brooks ran for one and Hollywood Brown caught one for 10 and a first down. Runs of three, four, and five produced another first down, then a 13-yard connection to Hollywood Brown made it first and goal from the nine. Two Brooks runs later, it was 21-10 with only 18 seconds to play in the half. The score would remain there as the teams went into the locker rooms, albeit only after some intensely silly jawing at the end of the half.
The Sooners took the opening kick of the second half looking to score and put some distance between themselves and the Jayhawks. Instead, Murray tossed a pick that was returned to the Sooner 45. Seven plays later, the Jayhawks were in the end zone again and it was 21-17 with 10:52 to go in the third quarter.
The Sooners quickly moved to a first down at the KU 35 on the ensuing possession, behind runs of four and 10 from Brooks and completions of 15 and 13 to Hollywood Brown and Lamb. Three plays later, Murray converted a fourth and three with his legs, then Brooks ran for 14 and a first and goal at the KU 9. Three more plays later, Murray scrambled right on third and goal from the 11 and scooted in to make it 28-17 with 5:39 to play in the quarter.
KU went three and out, then Lamb ran the kickoff back 35 yards before being corralled at the Sooner 49 yard line. Seven plays later, the Sooners were in the end zone again behind a 13-yard Brooks run and it was 35-17 with 50 seconds to play in the third quarter.
After Kansas scored again, fueled by a 44-yard run by Williams that set up a nine-yard TD pass, Murray zipped 75 yards on a QB draw on a second and 10 play to push the Sooner lead back to 41-24 with 13:44 to play in the game after Austin Seibert’s PAT was blocked. The Sooner defense got a rare stop on the ensuing possession, then Brayden Willis blocked the KU punt and Buzzy Bolton returned it nine yards for the score and it was 48-24 with 12:05 to play.
Williams had a 42-yard TD run to make it 48-32 after a two-point conversion. An 11-yard TD pass from Murray to Calcaterra made it 55-32 with 5:25 to play. Consecutive runs of 24 and 25 yards resulted in a TD for Kansas that made it 55-40 after another two-point conversion. OU then ran out the clock.
Next up is a play-in game in Morgantown for a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. Win and in, and almost certainly a rematch against Texas. See you in Appalachia on Black Friday.