OU football: 3-2-1 kickoff for Sooners vs. Kansas Jayhawks
NORMAN — Here’s a look at some of the key players and major questions when No. 19 Oklahoma hosts Kansas at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, televised by ESPN:
3 players to watch
D.J. Graham: The freshman cornerback earned praise for his performance when he got a chance against Texas Tech, registering his first two tackles. He’s played in each of the last three games and figures to be a player who could earn a bigger piece in the rotation as the season progresses. This could be a game where Graham gets an extended look with an opportunity to earn more playing time with games on the line.
Seth McGowan: The freshman running back has proven a versatile weapon, with 55 carries for 280 yards and three touchdowns and 10 receptions for 131 yards and a score. While Rhamondre Stevenson looks to get plenty of carries after his return from suspension, McGowan has carved out a role for himself and that figures to continue.
Jon-Michael Terry: The senior rush linebacker has 17 tackles, a sack and three pass break-ups so far this season. The Sooners’ defensive line has been the best group of Alex Grinch’s defense and Terry has been a piece of that, adding depth at the rush spot behind starter Nik Bonitto. Coming off an injury that limited him to just six games a year ago, Terry has been a solid piece for the Sooners.
2 big questions
Can the Sooners put the game away when they get a chance? Very few expect this game to be close, as the Jayhawks are winless this season and haven’t won a road game in Big 12 play since Oct. 4, 2008 — a span of 52 consecutive road conference losses. OU struggled late in games early in the season, and though Texas Tech did score two fourth-quarter touchdowns last week, the Sooners still had the game well in-hand by the time halftime rolled around much less the fourth quarter. OU needs to continue that trend of finishing better, build a big lead early and then get its starters off the field to prepare for Bedlam in two weeks.
Will the Sooners keep up the turnover momentum? OU forced three turnovers last week, registering multiple takeaways for just the sixth time since Alex Grinch arrived before last season. Two of those have come in the last three games, with three against Texas as well. Against a team like Kansas, whose best player, running back Pooka Williams opted out recently. With a freshman quarterback in Jalon Daniels on the other side, the Sooners would like to bring pressure and force him into poor decisions.
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1 wild prediction
Chandler Morris throws a touchdown pass. OU’s third-string quarterback has thrown two passes this season — both in the season-opener against Missouri State. Morris also played last week against Texas Tech. Morris could get more of an extended look against the Jayhawks, including a chance to throw again. He’ll break through and get his first collegiate touchdown pass.
Ryan Aber, Staff writer