The Sooners head to Lawrence, Kansas as 32-point favorites and most people figure them to cover. When you go into a game as that large of a favorite it typically puts more pressure on the defense than it does the offense.
Jalen Hurts and company are up against a Kansas defense that ranks 70th nationally in scoring (26.6 PPG), 123rd against the run (211.4 YPG), and 79th against the pass (213 YPG).
Here’s are three things to look for in terms of Oklahoma’s offensive success on Saturday.
1. Attack with balance early.
Don’t let Kansas giving up just over 200 yards per game through the air fool you. When you’re consistently allowing your opponents to top 200 yards on the ground, the need to attack through the air subsides. Kansas has actually been pretty balanced in yards allowed this season and that plays directly into Oklahoma’s hands.
Lincoln Riley is notorious for using the pass to set up the run. I fully expect that to continue on Saturday as the Jayhawks focus on keeping the ball in front of them, to prevent the big play, as opposed to attacking on defense. I would expect the Sooners to take full advantage of this with their full compliment of playmakers because this was also the failed strategy of Texas Tech last weekend.
Notice that there are three defenders behind CeeDee Lamb when he makes this catch.
2. Play clean, and with continuity, along the offensive line.
If we’re still looking for a cause for concern in regards to Oklahoma’s offense it has to be along the line. With the biggest test they’ll face this season looming next week at the Cotton Bowl, we’ve only seen Bill Bedenbaugh’s starting five once (UCLA).
I wouldn’t expect to see all five starters this weekend either but I would expect Bedenbaugh to demand that the five he does put out there to eliminate the penalties and play as a cohesive unit.
3. Run the ball late and get out healthy
There’s no reason to expect Oklahoma not to have a comfortable lead at the half. There’s also no reason to expect the Sooners to want to take any extra risks with key players in a game that is almost sure to be a blowout.
I would fully expect the success Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks have in the first half to give way to Rhamondre Stevenson and Marcus Major in the second half. There’s been no word released on the status of T.J. Pledger but, if healthy, this would be a good spot for him to get his first work of the season as well.
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