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Friday, November 24, 2017

Game day Breakdown: KU football at No. 18 Oklahoma State

Kansas quarterback Carter Stanley (9) look to cut around the Ohio defense during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio.

Kansas quarterback Carter Stanley (9) look to cut around the Ohio defense during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio.

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— Kansas (1-10 overall, 0-8 Big 12) at No. 18 Oklahoma State (8-3, 5-3) • 11 a.m. kickoff at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla. • Game-time forecast: 59 degrees, mostly sunny, 0 percent chance of rain • TV: FOX Sports 1 • Radio: KLWN, FM 101.7 / AM 1320

— Log on to KUsports.com for our live game blog and follow our coverage team on Twitter: @KUSports, @BentonASmith, @TomKeeganLJW, @NightengaleJr and @ChasenScott

Keys for Kansas

1. Play like the past 10 games never happened

A lengthy list of flaws, showing up on offense, defense and special teams to varying degrees this fall, has kept the Kansas football team in a losing rut since defeating overmatched FCS opponent Southeast Missouri State in the season opener.

A one-win season awaits the Jayhawks unless they score an upset on the road at Oklahoma State, considered at least a 40-point favorite over wobbling KU.

So what is the mindset for this Kansas team, which has only beaten one Big 12 or FBS opponent in David Beaty’s 35 games as head coach? Redshirt sophomore quarterback Carter Stanley explained how the supreme underdogs have to approach their latest challenge.

“It’s our last game, so we’re going to give it everything we’ve got for this last week, send those seniors off with a win, hopefully,” Stanley said. “Really, it’s our Super Bowl, essentially. It’s our last game and we’re going to give it all we’ve got.”

Podcast episode

The KU Sports Hour

Handshake snubs and f-bombs

On this episode of the KU Sports Hour, hosted by KU football beat writer Benton Smith, the KUsports.com staff discusses KU’s 41-3 loss to Oklahoma. Topics include: recapping OU-KU (open-8:10), the on-field antics (8:10-23:20), injuries and other leftovers (23:20-30:30), and the KUsports.com football mailbag — discipline, birthday presents and Mark ...

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Asked to identify KU’s defining characteristic, Beaty called his group, which has lost six of its eight Big 12 games by 22 or more points, resilient.

“Resiliency is the thing that sticks out to me because they continue to come out each week and they practice as hard as any team I've ever had,” Beaty said. “They continue to work toward developing, and they block out distractions, and they continue to see the vision, and they continue to march towards it.”

The Jayhawks need to disregard the trends that led to their dead-end season as they attempt to finish on a positive note.

2. Beware of James Washington

One of college football’s elite receivers, 6-foot senior James Washington leads all FBS players with 119.7 receiving yards per game. His 11 touchdown receptions on the year are just one behind KU’s team total of 12 in that category. Every time the ball is snapped, Kansas cornerbacks Hasan Defense and Kyle Mayberry, as well as safeties Tyrone Miller Jr., Shaq Richmond and Mike Lee (if cleared to play) will have to be locked in on Washington.

Some individual achievements are on the OSU wideout’s radar, too, so Washington will give Kansas all it can handle in his final college home game. One of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, Washington is second on OSU's career receiving yards list, with 4,240, and needs 175 to pass Rashaun Woods.

"It never crossed my mind that I could break that when I got here,” said Washington, the FBS active leader in career receiving touchdowns (37) and yards. “Every time I step on the field, I just try to do my job. My coach always says, 'You do your job and good things happen.' This is just one of those good things. It would be nice to break it. Whatever I'm able to do and however I'm able to help is the best way I can assist my teammates.”

Washington needs 347 receiving yards to become the Big 12's all-time career leader, a distinction held by Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles (4,586 from 2008-11).

3. Rediscover offensive success

Oklahoma State has enough weapons that even if KU can somewhat slow down Washington, the Cowboys are bound to put up points. That means the Jayhawks can’t afford yet another touchdown-less day from their offense, as has been the case in half of their Big 12 games this season.

Beaty described the frustrations that come with such offensive struggles and how his players and coaches have dealt with them.

“You know, we talked a little bit last week about being consistent, right, not going up and down,” Beaty said. “We put 27 points or so against Texas (Nov. 11), and coming back and doing that this week (instead of scoring 3 points in the home finale versus Oklahoma) would have been a nice deal for us. We've just got to find a way to get consistent, right. I know Steven (Sims Jr., leading receiver) was hurt and he's a big part of what we do, but we also have some other very capable guys. We had some unfortunate things happen the other day (against OU) that we just simply can't have happen. We had a tip that turned into a pick that was a big, big play in that ball game. We've just got to make those plays.”

Since holding Texas to 10 points in October, the OSU defense has surrendered 39 or more points each of the past four weeks in its games against West Virginia, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Kansas State. The Jayhawks need to score a touchdown early to create some momentum for their offense against a Cowboys defense that has dealt with some issues of late.

Mega Matchup

Kansas defensive tackle DeeIsaac Davis (99) comes in for a sack against Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas defensive tackle DeeIsaac Davis (99) comes in for a sack against Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Mason Rudolph vs. Kansas defense

The winningest quarterback in program history, Oklahoma State senior Mason Rudolph enters his final game at Boone Pickens Stadium leading one of the country’s best offensive attacks. The Cowboys rank second among FBS teams in total offense (567.9 yards per game), trailing only Oklahoma (588.7), and own the nation’s top passing offense (383.1 yards per game).

Oftentimes, those yards come in huge chunks, with Rudolph (33 touchdown passes this year) hitting Washington, Marcell Ateman, Jalen McCleskey, Dillon Stoner, Justice Hill and other Cowboys. Rudolph leads the nation in passing yards (4,115) because OSU picks them up in bunches. The 6-5 senior leads the country in completions of 10-plus yards (156), 30-plus yards (36), 40-plus yards (21) and 60-plus yards (nine).

“Man, you know, you just get done playing one of the best quarterbacks you've ever seen in your life,” Beaty said, referring to OU’s Baker Mayfield, “and you go and play another one that's really, really good.”

Rudolph’s coach, Mike Gundy, who played QB for OSU from 1986-89, has seen the current Cowboys quarterback set 32 program records.

"He will leave here as the most decorated player since Barry Sanders, in my opinion,” Gundy said. “That's based on Barry playing back when we played and there was no social media. You'd be surprised at how many people in the country didn't even know he played or didn't actually see him play or know how good he was.”

It will take the KU defense’s most complete showing of the season, with pressure coming from defensive linemen Dorance Armstrong Jr. and Daniel Wise, smart play at the linebacker level from Joe Dineen and company, and sound technique from every single defensive back who steps on the field for the Jayhawks to limit the impact of Rudolph and his various playmakers.

Jayhawk Pulse

Kansas just caught the college football universe’s attention this past week against Oklahoma for all the wrong reasons, when their captains preemptively decided not to shake hands with Oklahoma QB Mayfield at the pregame coin toss. It was a bad look, especially for a team that has won just one game this season and perennially finishes last in the Big 12.

With the third year of the Beaty era coming to a close, KU needs something far more positive defining its last game of 2017. For a program that has the undistinguished major college football record of losing 45 road games in a row, an upset at No. 18 OSU seems farfetched to those outside the Kansas football facility.

What the Jayhawks must do to enter what figures to be a long offseason — considering preseason internal expectations of being far more competitive this year — with some momentum is put up a legitimate fight on the Cowboys’ home field. A 1-11 record won’t feel anywhere in the realm of satisfying, but if they somehow can hang around and make it interesting, at least they would have something tangible to use as a jumping-off point while preparing for 2018.

Tale of the Tape

KU ….. OSU

KU run D vs. OSU run game √

KU pass D vs. OSU pass game √

KU run game vs. OSU run D √

KU pass game vs. OSU pass D √

Special teams √

Prediction

Oklahoma State 55, Kansas 20

Comments

David Kemp 4 years ago

Can’t wait to see what 3 stooges award we will win tomorrow.

Gary Wilson 4 years ago

Beaty's last game at the helm. Golf clap.

Gary Wirsig 4 years ago

You could be right, but here's an excerpt from an open letter from Chancellor Girod dated Nov 13, 2017...

"I want to reiterate my confidence in Sheahon and Coach David Beaty. Nobody denies the challenges we are having on the field, but I maintain my belief that Sheahon and Coach Beaty have the right long-term vision and are doing things the right way. Our focus now is empowering them with the tools they need to fulfill their vision."

Brett McCabe 4 years ago

One of the top ten worst letters ever written by a KU Chancellor.

To the Beaty supporters, not necessarily you, Gary, I have a series of questions:

Zenger has hired Charlie Weis, David Beaty and Schneider. Based on those hires, what specifically gives you confidence in his ability to hire a coach to turn around our football program?

What in David Beaty's coaching history do you rely on as proof that he can rebuild a football program?

What, over the past three years, can you specifically point to as evidence that David Beaty is turning this program around? Where has progress been made?

Beaty has had three O.C.'s in three years. Is that evidence of a leader who has a clear vision and the ability to execute that vision?

Beaty's recruiting has been sub-par. In fact, his best recruiting class is a result of the hiring of David Hull. If Beaty was hired as a recruiting guru, why has he failed so badly at this essential function?

Beaty has relied significantly on non-productive transfers and semi-productive JUCO players. This strategy has hurt our scholarship numbers and our depth. How does this show that he is building the program the right way, over the long term?

Without making others laugh, or spit out their coffee, please highlight how Beaty's management of the QB situation over the past three years shows evidence of a Coach who knows how to identify and manage personnel.

We lost to Baylor, a younger team than us, and a program that was a national embarrassment. A team that was winless and had lost to Liberty at home. Prior to that, we were shutout for 9 straight quarters. In year three, how does this demonstrate improvement?

If you don't like any of the above questions, then please answer this final question - a three-parter: Outline specifically how Beaty's player development, roster management and leadership are moving this program forward.

Jeremy Wilhm 4 years ago

OSU is out of the playoff picture and has nothing to play for but pride, and history. It's been 40+ years since a team scored 100 points in a game. I think the Cowboys get close in a senior day to remember. Gundy let's them run it up because it won't hurt them in the polls, and might actually get them some attention going into bowl season.

OKST 91, KU 13

Edward Daub 4 years ago

Gundy would never be so "Ghoulish". However, since KState upset them last week (at OSU), the Cowboys will be prepared for today.

Will the Hawks compete today? Time will tell, soon! This game is essentially KU's Bowl Game , "The T-Boone" Bowl! Last Chance to Taste Victory in 2017!

Ron Smeltzer 4 years ago

McCabe’s questions are very relevant, and I would add a couple more important considerations.

No only has there been a revolving door at OC ( including the poor judgement of naming himself as OC ) but also with other Assistants. I think that is much like the canary in the coal mine. You’d better pay attention....quick.

My understanding is we average about 20k fewer tickets sold than the next lowest Big XII team. Not only does that show apathy ( nothing is worse! ) on the part of your fan base, but do the math. The entire University is losing a small fortune over missed opportunity in football revenue.

If I were a Lawrence merchant I’d be marching with torches and pitchforks on the Chancellor’s house. The City is losing a fourtune in lost dollars that could be spent in Lawrence.

I watched Mason and Mangino build winners with mediocre talent. Tough, focused, disciplined, hard nosed football teams. You could see, you could feel them getting better even before they started winning. Beaty is going backwards.

I watched good guy Bob Valesente( everybody loved him , players, fans, me ) take us backwards and a hard business becision had to be made. Many said then what some of you are saying now, and they were just as wrong and naive as you are.

Beaty is, by all accounts, a great guy who promoted beyond his ability to successfully perform. Happens all the time in business. Zenger’s fault. But it’s time to make the hard decision, take the loss and start moving forward. You never tread water. You either get better or you’re going backwards, and Coach Beaty is simply in well over his head.

The Administration is to blame.

David Kemp 4 years ago

I offer this math. Add 20000 additional fans for winning fb, get donations, ticket sales and concessions add at least 20 million dollars per year. We can’t afford not to make a change.

Andy Godwin 4 years ago

If I were a betting man I would talk the Cowboys to cover (41.5 pts or nearly 6 touchdowns is the largest spread entering a KU game this year, which is just sad) because of the offense going backwards and that Beaty will be back for 2018. Take the latter prediction to the bank.

Robert Brock 4 years ago

The Mullet May run up the score today. OSU 83, KU 9.

Bob Zielinski 4 years ago

Please feel free to jump at my comment and ridicule me but KU will be hard pressed to get anyone remotely close to being a quality head coach after this season of many jobs being open. There aren't enough high caliber head coaches to fill the more premier jobs, let alone the middling and struggling programs.

In a year or two (or three), some school will take a shot with Art Briles. He will win ball games. KU could be the school that beats them all to the punch by getting him ahead of his banishment.

I know people will flip their lids but if you want to win football games he might be the only guy with the skills and experience to kickstart the program who would be willing to come to Lawrence.

Freedman Moor 4 years ago

I wonder if Scott Bacula and Sinbad have any college eligibility left.

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