Getting to know: Oklahoma State football
The University of Kansas football team will look to get back in the win column after dropping the conference opener.
Kansas suffered a 26-7 loss to Baylor to begin Big 12 play, and will return home for a meeting with No. 21 Oklahoma State. Last week, Oklahoma State scored just 17 points in a 41-17 home loss to Texas Tech to begin the conference slate. The Cowboys have won the previous eight meetings with the Jayhawks.
“I know they’re going to be coming in here angry, but we’re angry, too,” Kansas head coach David Beaty said. “We both have something to atone for, and we’re going to see who can get their team ready the best, and that challenge is on me and on our staff.”
Oklahoma State travels to Kansas at 11 a.m. Saturday.
BREAKING DOWN OKLAHOMA STATE:
Quarterback — Redshirt senior Taylor Cornelius is leading the Cowboys’ offense after Mason Rudolph went to the NFL. Cornelius threw for 728 passing yards in the first games of the season, which set a program record for most combined passing yards in a quarterback’s first two career starts. Cornelius ranks No. 8 in FBS with 1,229 passing yards and is among the top 20 in passing yards per game.
Running backs — Oklahoma State is led by one of the best running backs in the country. Junior Justice Hill has had a rushing touchdown in 10 straight games, which is one shy of tying the longest streak in Big 12 history. Hill is fourth in the nation with 8.43 yards per carry and ranks 12th with five rushing touchdowns. Last season, Hill led the conference and ranked in the top 20 in the nation with 112.8 rushing yards per contest.
Receivers — The Cowboys have multiple options in the passing game. Tyron Johnson, a redshirt junior, is second on the team with 206 receiving yards this year and ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 20.6 yards per catch. Tylan Wallace is the third underclassman in OSU history to post three straight 100-yard receiving performances.
Offensive line — Arlington Hambright (tackle) and Marcus Keyes (guard) make up the left side of the line, while Larry Williams (guard) and Teven Jenkins (tackle) are the two players holding down the right side. Johnny Wilson is the team’s center, and has started in 14 straight games for Oklahoma State. In the past eight seasons, the Cowboys have ranked in the top four nationally in total offense four times.
DEFENSE Defensive line — Jarrell Owens and Jordan Brailford will be the two defensive ends for the Cowboys. Brailford leads the Big 12 and is 15th in the FBS in sacks per game. He notched 57 total tackles last season, including 34 solo stops. Darrion Daniels and Trey Carter are slated to hold down the defensive tackle spots. Oklahoma State leads the nation with 19 total sacks, which is three more than Alabama and Clemson.
Linebackers — Calvin Bundage and Justin Phillips are listed as the team’s starters in the linebacker unit. Bundage has paced the Cowboys with 30 tackles and 21 solo stops through the early part of the season. Phillips leads the Oklahoma State defense with 18 career starts, including 16 straight games of getting the starting nod. Kenneth Edison-McGruder can also play both safety and linebacker for the Cowboys.
Secondary — For the Cowboys, A.J Green and Rodarius Williams are expected to start at cornerback. Green ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 with four interceptions last year, including a game-winning interception at Iowa State. Malcolm Rodriguez and Thabo Mwaniki are listed as the team’s starting safeties. Mwaniki, a sophomore, was the only true freshman to start a game for the Cowboys last season.
SPECIAL TEAMS — Redshirt junior kicker Matt Ammendola has made 18 of his last 19 field goal attempts, and ranks 13th among all active kickers with an 81.6 field goal percentage. Redshirt senior Zach Sinor, the team’s punter, led all FBS punters in 2016 with 62.5 percent of his punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
FUN FACT — Oklahoma State had earned a reputation for its ability to block kicks. Since the start of the 2013 season, the Cowboys have blocked 23 kicks. That mark is tied for first with Temple and BYU, while Rutgers ranks fourth with 20.
VEGAS SAYS… According to Bovada, Oklahoma State is a 17-point favorite over Kansas as of Friday afternoon. The Jayhawks are coming off a 19-point loss to Baylor, in which they were a 7.5-point underdog. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are looking to bounce back from a loss to Texas Tech in the conference opener. I’m willing to give up that many points, regardless of who plays at quarterback for Kansas.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 38, Kansas 17
Record against spread: 3-1