The Oklahoma State defense continues to be the story of the season so far as the offense has been lackluster through two weeks of play. In last week’s 27-13 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Cowboy defense gave up 353 total yards of offense, but 270 of those came in the first half.
Next up for the Cowboys is a matchup that should be a cake walk as they take on the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence. The Jayhawks are 0-2 on the season, and despite averaging 347.5 yards of offense per game, they have generated only 5 touchdowns so far. As long as Oklahoma State locks in for this game, they should have no problem handling Kansas, but there are a few key areas that they should give special focus to on the defensive end.
Limit Pooka Williams
So far this season, Jayhawk running back Pooka Williams has split time in the backfield with sophomore teammate Velton Gardner. Williams, a junior, has tallied just 148 yards on the ground through two games so far, but anyone who knows him knows that he is capable of putting up big numbers.
As a freshman, Williams rushed for 1125 yards, breaking the 100-yard mark 4 different times. As a sophomore, he totaled 1042 yards, again rushing for over 100 yards in 4 different games.
Williams has not had much success against the Cowboys in his two previous meetings, but he is definitely a guy who should not be forgotten. He is the type of guy that could have a breakout game at any moment, so he should be a focal point of the Oklahoma State defense when he is in the Jayhawk backfield.
Put Pressure On the QB
After playing 3 different quarterbacks in the season opener against Coastal Carolina, Kansas started true freshman Jalon Daniels against Baylor last week. Daniels played the entire game, and if he does the same against Oklahoma State, the Cowboy front seven could put up some serious numbers.
Daniels was sacked 4 times against the Bears last week, and Oklahoma State has excelled at stopping the run so far this season, primarily due to the big guys up front. The Cowboys have totaled 6 sacks through two games so far, and they could see that number double by the end of the game on Saturday.
Put Some Points on the Board
Defensive touchdowns are the best way to put points on the scoreboard. It takes some pressure off the offense, which the Cowboys will definitely benefit from right now, and it adds unparalleled momentum to the game.
Last week, Oklahoma State had a scoop-and-score in the first half to put the Cowboys up by 2 touchdowns, and the game was never really close after that. Last year against the Jayhawks, Oklahoma State pulled down 3 interceptions. I would like to see them do something similar this year with the only difference being run back one or two of those for a touchdown.