Huge Defensive Plays Power OU

Jeremy Beal

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- In an intriguing matchup between a potent Kansas offense and OU's stingy defense, it was the Sooner defense who delivered the necessary early blows en route to a 35-13 bounce back victory.

On the first play from scrimmage, Kansas senior quarterback Todd Reesing dropped back and threw a pass toward the near sideline that was picked off by OU junior safety Quinton Carter.

And that's kind of the way it would go for the Jayhawks throughout the contest, as they never really could generate any kind of flow offensively.

"I thought [defensive coordinator] Brent Venables and our defensive guys had a great plan," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "We were very aggressive in how we played. They players made a lot of good plays. They covered well and pressured blitzes and kind of took them out of their rhythm."

Following that interception, OU redshirt freshman quarterback Landry Jones marched the Sooners down to the one on 4-for-5 passing for 29 yards, as they ultimately scored on a fourth-and-goal run by senior running back Chris Brown to take the early 7-0 lead.

After Reesing tossed another pick, the Sooners scored on his third interception of the first half early in the second quarter when junior cornerback Dominique Franks jumped the route for an 85-yard interception return to put OU up 14-0.

The Jayhawks added a couple field goals before the half, including a 57-yarder by junior Jacob Branstetter, to make it 14-6 at the intermission in what was a tough half for both offenses to generate much production.

But after being virtually stagnant in the first half, the Sooner offense came out hitting on all cylinders on the first possession of the second half, as they drove 75 yards on nine plays for the 21-6 lead, capped off by a 9-yard touchdown pass from Jones to senior wide receiver Adron Tennell.

"We came out and struggled to start off," Jones said. "[But] the second half we came out there and executed the way that this offense can execute. We got the running game going when we needed to. And obviously, our receivers were out there making plays and helping me out when I wasn't as accurate as I needed to be."

OU extended its lead to 28-6 later in the third when Jones hit Brown for an 8-yard touchdown pass that finished off a seven play, 70-yard drive.

And the Sooners really put the finishing touches on the game when Brown scampered 26 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to make it 35-6.

The Jayhawks scored the game's final touchdown when Reesing ran in five yards for the score with just less than five minutes left.

With the win, the Sooners got their first win away from Norman this year, and against a top-25 opponent.

"I'm just really proud of our football team and the way they played against a very good Kansas team that's been playing well," Stoops said. "I really respect what Mark Mangino and his staff have done here over the last several years."

OU moves to 4-3 on the season, 2-1 in the Big 12, and is set for a 6 p.m. matchup next weekend in Norman against the top-ranked team in the north, Bill Snyder's Kansas State Wildcats.

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