NORMAN- The Oklahoma Sooners dispatched the Kansas Jayhawks 62-9 in their final game before the huge Bedlam matchup.
“Fun win tonight, tremendous job by really the entire football team,” head coach Lincoln Riley said after the win. “Played very well defensively, really set the tone there.”
Despite the large final scoreline, the Sooners had to work their way through a disjointed first quarter delayed by turnovers and replay reviews.
Tre Brown started the game off on the right foot for Oklahoma, intercepting Jayhawk quarterback Jalon Daniels on the first drive of the game.
“I thought our pressure up front really just kind of controlled the game,” Riley said. “Just kept the quarterback under pressure, you know, helped create some of the turnovers.”
“I thought that was outstanding.”
Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said the pressure created by the defensive line has helped create more turnovers this season, but individual guys have helped out on the back end to capitalize on mistakes by opposing offenses.
Two possessions later, Spencer Rattler was forced into a mistake of his own. Rolling out to his right on second and five, Rattler’s pass landed straight into the arms of Kansas defender Kenny Logan, marking Rattler’s first turnover since the first half of the Texas game.
Then on the ensuing possession, Brendan Radley-Hiles plucked the Sooners second interception of the game, but Radley-Hiles was ruled to have fumbled the ball during the return after a lengthy review, surrendering the ball back to the Jayhawks.
Many were confused by the decision to award Kansas the fumble at the end of Radley-Hiles’ return as it appeared the Jayhawks defender was out of bounds when he ripped the ball from the Sooners defender.
“The officials were very clear on it,” Riley said. “They were very clear that you can cause a fumble, even if you are out of bounds.”
Riley added that he’s not sure he’s ever seen a play like that in all of his time around the game of football.
After the first quarter, the Sooners settled in.
“Offensively, had some bright moments and some not so bright moments,” Riley said. “Missed a couple of opportunities that we’ll go back on and need to be better. But proud of the way we played.”
The worst moment of the night came on a Sooner touchdown.
As Rattler carried the ball into the end zone to put his team up 21-0, he took a shot to his left hip which would leave him hobbled the rest of the game.
“He was just a little sore,” Riley said. “He was fine. Had the game not been out of hand we certainly would have left him in.”
Rattler would return for the Sooners allowing the medical staff to check him out on the sideline for a drive, finishing the day 15-for-27 passing for 212 yards and a touchdown.
Riley said despite the interception, he thought Rattler worked his way through the game really well.
“We were just a tick off. Missed a couple of throws and then we had a couple of throws that were really good throws, just didn’t make a play on,” Riley said. “[Rattler] was solid.”
Rhamondre Stevenson once again made life easy on his young quarterback, rushing for 104 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries. Stevenson also led the team with four receptions on the day.
“He’s a talented kid,” Riley said. “His best ball is certainly ahead of him but he’s a great combination.”
“When you get a guy that’s tough to tackle, has some break away and catches the ball pretty good… it’s a good combination,” Riley said.
The defensive line had another good night, combining for nine sacks and 11 total tackles for loss against the Jayhawks.
Grinch said he’s pleased with the overall depth of the defensive front.
“We’re not having a lot of conversations on the sidelines as to who’s in the game at that particular time,” Grinch said.
Nik Bonitto led the Sooners with three sacks, with Ronnie Perkins also adding 1.5 sacks against the Jayhawks.
Over the last couple of weeks, the entire defensive line has gotten more consistent as well, with everyone playing at a high level on their allotted snaps, Grinch said.
“That’s something that’s obviously got to continue,” he said.
The Sooners will have a week off before a huge Bedlam matchup against in-state rivals Oklahoma State with massive Big 12 Championship implications.
The Sooners and the Cowboys will meet on Nov. 21 in Norman. No kickoff time has been set for the matchup at this time.