Recap: OU escapes with a 35-23 win over Kansas

October 23, 2021
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 23 Oklahoma at Kansas
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With today’s win over KU, the Sooners extend their overall winning streak to 16 games.

On a weird visit to the Sunflower State, the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners stumbled to a 35-23 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks (1-6, 0-4). With the win, OU improves to 8-0 on the season, 5-0 in Big 12 play and have some major problems that need to be addressed going forward.

It was a strange start in Lawrence. The contest didn’t begin on time because College GameDay ran long on ESPN. Then, during the Jayhawks’ opening drive, a campus-wide power outage caused the video board to shut down temporarily. All the while, Kansas executed its game plan to perfection, devouring clock and converting on third down (converted seven-of-nine opportunities). Meanwhile, Lincoln Riley’s offense only managed to touch the ball once in the game’s opening quarter and just three times in a shockingly scoreless first half.

Caleb ‘Superman’ Williams looked relatively human for the first time since he led OU’s rally in the Red River Showdown. On the day, the true freshman QB recorded 178 passing yards and two touchdowns on 15 of 20 attempts. He also added 68 rushing yards and another score on eight carries, including this spectacularly heady play to take the ball away from Kennedy Brooks and convert a key fourth down on his own.

After getting blanked in the first half, Oklahoma outscored Kansas, 35-13 over the final thirty minutes of the game. It’s not what any fan wearing crimson & cream wants to see, but in a season where ranked teams are being upset at a record pace, finding a way to win week after week is the ultimate goal.

Tennessee transfer Key Lawrence made a heck of a play in the fourth quarter by forcing a fumble (recovered by Justin Broiles) to give the ball back to the Sooners with a 21-17 advantage.

Following the takeaway, on a fourth and three, Williams broke a couple would-be-tackles behind the line of scrimmage and went the distance to give OU a two-score lead.

By and large, this performance was easily the worst Oklahoma’s defense has looked all season, but not necessarily from a total yards standpoint. That’s saying something, considering that group hasn’t exactly been impressive through eight games. Lance Leipold’s offense was able to do absolutely whatever it wanted to from the very beginning, and Jason Bean and company made the Sooners look foolishly unprepared. Whatever the reason is for this utterly poor showing, whether it’s injuries or apathy or a mixture of both, Alex Grinch has to make some major adjustments before it costs the team in the win/loss column.

Up next, Oklahoma wraps up the month of October at home against Texas Tech (5-3, 2-3) on Saturday, Oct. 30. The streaking Sooners have defeated the Red Raiders in nine consecutive meetings dating back to the 2012 season. Kick-off is set for 2:30 p.m. CT on ABC.

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