Well that pretty much went as I had expected it. If you missed the podcast on Thursday, I brought up the possibility of OSU playing with a little less intensity in a game sandwiched between a huge emotional win over Texas and an even bigger Bedlam matchup coming up. Sure enough, the first quarter looked like it was Week 1 again. KU's offense was rolling (weird, I know) and OSU couldn't get stops on third down (eh, not so weird). Thankfully, the players finally got their acts together and dominated from the second quarter on. In doing so, Kansas didn't score a point in the final three quarters. OSU is 10-1 for the first time in regular season history and sights are now set on Bedlam for the South title. Oh yeah, and ESPN's College Gameday will be in attendance once more. First thing's first, though. Let's recap the good and bad from the Kansas game.
The triplets dominated as usual. Brandon Weeden should be on every national award list and it is a joke that he isn't. Almost 400 yards passing with 3 touchdowns and 0 INTs. The guy is simply remarkable. Justin Blackmon had his usual 100+ yard/at least 1 touchdown day. It's pretty sick that we've grown so accustomed to him turning in huge performances that it's now expected. If he doesn't win the Biletnikoff I will punch a baby. Kendall Hunter had a great showing with 105 yards on the ground. Just like Blackmon, you kind of expect Hunter to turn in games like this every Saturday now.
Other than the triplets, the supporting cast on offense may have been even more impressive. Josh Cooper turned in a great game with 94 yards receiving and a touchdown. Joseph Randle has become the Stretch Armstrong of the team. I mentioned a month back that he always seems to fall forward and stretch for another yard when he gets tackled. This was apparent on Saturday as he got his 2nd touchdown of the year by stretching the ball over the goal line while being tackled. He also made another key stretch for a first down later in the game as well.
Special teams coverage continues to get better and better. I don't remember the last time I've seen OSU register a blocked field goal and a blocked punt in the same game. Michael Harrison must have been licking his chops when nobody lined up to block him on that punt attempt. He went flying in untouched and did an excellent job finding a path to block the kick without taking the chance of running into the punter. The fact he tracked the ball after the punt, picked it up, and scored just added icing to the cake.
The defense for the last three quarters was great. It all started on the goal line stand in which Orie Lemon and company forced Kansas to turn the ball over on downs after two attempts to run the ball into the endzone on the 1 yard line. From that point it was clear that they were awake and tired of seeing a sub-standard KU team celebrating in the endzone. Hopefully we'll see that intensity in the upcoming Bedlam game as opposed to the first quarter performance.
As mentioned before, the first quarter. Ugh. it was as if OSU decided to spot Kansas points by shooting themselves in the foot over and over. The defense was playing soft and the offense couldn't finish drives with touchdowns. Hopefully this was just the case of the game being sandwiched between Texas and OU. It took the players more time than it should have to get going and I really don't think that will happen against OU.
The penalties. Ugo Chinasa needs to take a discipline class. Just because you tip a pass doesn't mean you get to celebrate by shoving the QB to the turf. The late hit out of bounds by Justin Gent was just as bad. If you see a teammate dragging another player out of bounds, there is no reason to even charge. The bottom line is that the majority of the penalties were stupid and completely avoidable. Worse than that, they allowed Kansas to extend drives that would have stalled otherwise. Mistakes like that will mean a lot more to a game's outcome against good teams.
Dan Bailey, where have you gone? I know he was kicking into the wind. I know that both field goals missed were beyond 40 yards. But seriously, did you see the kicks? Each of them looked UGLY. The second one especially. Hopefully this isn't something in his head because a kicker without confidence is an ugly thing. OSU will definitely need him to be clutch when OU rolls into town this weekend.