This game was an opportunity for Kansas to get better and they were competitive in the first half. That half has to be a confidence builder for the team. Kansas showed themselves that they can play with good teams, not necessarily Oklahoma just yet, but several others in the conference.
Unfortunately, the second half was a disappointment and safety Mike Lee reportedly did not stick around for the media after the game. I’m not sure what the reason for that was but that’s not a good look. Les Miles needs to prevent losing the players. These players have been through a lot of losing and the seniors don’t appear to be handling the losing well in their last season.
Kansas has its next game at Texas but then finishes with five conference games against teams the Jayhawks need to be competitive with next season. Wins in these games would be huge for the Jayhawks but they definitely need to battle in some of those games and ideally win one or two of them.
The good feeling and confidence Kansas had early in the game when it went up 7-0 seemed to sink away after TE James Sosinski dropped a fourth down pass that would have given the Jayhawks a first down in Oklahoma territory. Immediately after that Mike Lee dropped a certain pick-6. Lee played with a cast on his right hand so the drop was understandable but it still hurt the Kansas momentum.
RB Pooka Williams was terrific even with Oklahoma knowing that he was going to get the ball. He did an excellent job with hesitation to set up defenders and then blow right by them. He had 100 yards rushing in the first half but dropped back to 98 at halftime. He finished with 137 rushing on 23 carries.
QB Carter Stanley threw the ball well in this game. He made a terrific pass to WR Daylon Charlot for a 22-yard touchdown to give the Jayhawks a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Stanley put the ball right over the defender to Charlot by the sideline in the end zone. Stanley finished 18-for-28 for 230 yards and three touchdowns.
WR Stephon Robinson Jr. had five receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Robinson made some nice catches and was Stanley’s favorite target in this game.
P Kyle Thompson had a nice day punting for Kansas and that’s huge for the Jayhawks especially right now. He averaged 43 yards on five punts with a long of 61 yards.
S Bryce Torneden had six tackles. Five of those tackles were solo tackles. He had one tackle for a loss.
Room for Improvement:
It’s difficult to pin this on any individual player. The Jayhawks just don’t have the athletes to match what Oklahoma puts on the field.
Kansas called two timeouts when Oklahoma had the ball late in the first half. The Sooners ended up punting. Kansas could not move the ball and left just enough time for Oklahoma to add a third touchdown right before the end of the half.
Kansas needed to run as much clock as possible in the game to reduce Oklahoma’s chances to score. Les Miles got a little greedy when he should have been content getting the game to halftime down just 14-7. You can understand why Miles might have done it. He needs to instill a mindset of dominating their opponent and that’s likely what Miles was thinking.
The play calling improved from the past two games. The constant focus on Pooka Williams did open up some passing opportunities down the field for QB Carter Stanley.
Kansas has next weekend off before traveling to Texas to take on the Longhorns. After that game the Jayhawks have five more games against teams that Kansas needs to be competing with next season.