NORMAN – The Sooners dispatched lowly Kansas last night at Owen Field by a score of 56-3, in a game that probably wasn't as close as the score indicated, to the extent it could hold anyone’s interest. While last week’s game in Lubbock was, while grotesque, entertaining and maddening all at once, this one was the opposite – a methodical beatdown.
To be sure, a methodical beatdown is the very last thing any Sooner fan should be complaining about. The OU defense, one week after being savaged by Patrick Mahomes and Texas Tech, was worlds better, giving up only a field goal and 170 yards of total offense. Admittedly, this was Kansas, and nobody with any sense should feel like the Sooners have fixed their defense. However, the number of wide open receivers was far fewer this week, and the defense was more aggressive and assignment-sound, for the most part. Freshmen linebackers Caleb Kelly and Ricky DeBerry got their first starts.
After a slow start, the Sooners got things going with a 71-yard Dede Westbrook punt return for a TD. Westbrook also had a 100-yard kickoff return TD called back by a penalty, and was generally his usual spectacular self. He had a fabulous diving TD catch among his five catches for 105 yards. Other than Westbrook’s punt return and the teams trading turnovers on consecutive plays deep in Sooner territory, nothing much happened in the first quarter, and it ended 7-3 OU.
Westbrook’s TD catch made it 14-3, then the Sooners dropped the hammer on the Jayhawks. Touchdowns on consecutive possessions, the last coming after a very ill-advised fourth down attempt from midfield went awry for Kansas, made it 28-3 at the half.
The Sooners took the second half kickoff for the first time all season and scored TDs on their first two possessions of the second half to make it 42-3. On the next KU possession, Jordan Evans picked off Montell Cozart and made a spectacular 33-yard return for a TD, at one point turning his back to the goal line and running backwards before cutting back upfield for the OU defense’s first score of the season. That made it 49-3 and sent most of the remaining Sooner faithful to the exits.
Baker Mayfield was an efficient 16 of 24 for 236 yards and four TDs. Joe Mixon, carrying the running back load in the absence of Samaje Perine, had 77 yards on nine carries and a TD, while freshman Abdul Adams had 94 yards on 13 carries, much of it in garbage time.
Next up is Iowa State in Ames on a made-for-TV Thursday night. We aren't fans of the Sooners playing on Thursday night, especially since OU has made it clear they will never agree to a Thursday night home game. This means, of course, that those of us who plan to attend must travel during the week. This is a cross we will bear, of course. We are not fans of cold, which means we are also not fans of night games in Iowa in November, no matter the day of the week. We will bear this cross, as well.
On the other hand, if we’re going to play on a short week, better to do it against one of the lesser teams in the conference. This will also give us extra time to prepare for Baylor two Saturdays hence. That said, we don’t take a Thursday night game in Ames lightly, a stance with which our agricultural friends from Payne County would likely agree. That said, Iowa State is not very good, and whatever heartburn they may give us, we should dispatch them with alacrity.
Your Sooners are alone in first place in the Big 12 at 5-0. Four games to the title. See you in the land of corn.