Numbers not adding up for Jayhawks against Sooners
Third-ranked Oklahoma piled up 55 points against Texas in a Red River rout, one of the most lopsided victories in series history. Kansas gave up 56 points to Oklahoma State in the first half alone last weekend in Stillwater.
The math isn't adding up to anything good this week for the Jayhawks.
The Sooners (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) bring their high-powered offense into Lawrence on Saturday to face a Kansas defense that's among the worst in major college football. The Jayhawks (2-3, 0-2) are allowing more than 550 yards per game, last in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Only Texas A&M has a worse pass defense and a handful of teams allow more yards rushing.
''We view it as an opportunity to play the best team in the nation, and it's an opportunity to compete against them,'' Kansas tight end Tim Biere said earlier this week. ''It's going to be a great atmosphere.''
At least, as long as it lasts.
The Sooners feature a Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Landry Jones, a surprising star in running back Dominique Whaley and a wide receiver in Ryan Broyles who can become the NCAA career leader in catches on Saturday.
Combine that with a kickoff scheduled for 8:15 p.m. local time and there's a good chance there will be a lot more Oklahoma fans inside Memorial Stadium by the second half.
''You have an opportunity here with one of the top teams in the country,'' Kansas coach Turner Gill said. ''That's the way we look at it. Our guys are going to be excited to play on national television. You're playing the best team in the country. A whole lot of teams aren't going to get this opportunity. This is an opportunity, and we're ready to make the best of it.''
Lest anyone think the Jayhawks are getting Oklahoma at a good time, after an emotional win over the Longhorns, consider this: The Sooners have won their last 12 games played after Texas.
''It just means we've got to keep getting better,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said.
That applies to this season, too.
Oklahoma has tumbled to third in the AP poll even though it hasn't a lost a game, in part because voters were unimpressed with a 38-28 victory over Missouri. All the Sooners have done the last two weeks is outscore Ball State and Texas by a combined 117-23.
Everything in the Sooners' repertoire starts with Jones, who is second only to Houston's Case Keenum in total offense. The junior has already thrown for more than 1,800 yards, and he hasn't lost a game since last November against Texas A&M - a stretch that includes a win in the Big 12 title game over Nebraska and a Fiesta Bowl triumph over Connecticut.
It helps to have someone like Broyles catching all those passes.
The diminutive wide receiver is three catches away from the NCAA career record set by Purdue's Taylor Stubblefield. It's the kind of record that would make all the headlines at most schools, but has flown under the national radar at a place like Oklahoma.
''My job is to catch balls. If the balls come my way, I'm going to catch them,'' Broyles said this week. ''I'm just glad that they come my way. I never started out my career saying I'm going to be the leader in receptions or yards or anything like that. I'm just going to go out there and do what I can to win games, make big plays and it's happened in this way.''
Broyles said he got an email from Stubblefield on Tuesday, all but conceding the record.
''He was like, `It's a great accomplishment ... but the biggest accomplishment in this life is saying you're a better man than a football player,''' Broyles said. ''I think that's my aspect on it. I feel like football has allowed me to grow more as a man. The statistics, the stats, that's all cool. But at the end of the day, that's really not what's important.''
It's certainly not as important as winning, something they've done a lot of at Oklahoma.
''It's just special to have that kind of guy on your team, making big plays like that and just putting up stats,'' Jones said. ''When you have an individual like that doing great things, it means you're scoring pretty decently all the time. He's just helping this team out so much.''