Oklahoma racks up records against depleted Kansas

John Curtis

It was a day of records for the No. 4-ranked Oklahoma Sooners’ passing game.

The Sooners picked on a depleted Kansas Jayhawks defense Saturday afternoon on the way to a 45-31 victory at Gaylord Stadium’s Owen Field.

Oklahoma gained 674 total yards and had 36 first downs against the No. 16-ranked Jayhawks in winning their 22nd straight home game.

Sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford continued to cement his spot as one of the top Heisman candidates by throwing for a school-record 468 yards and three touchdowns. Senior receiver Juaquin Iglesias had a school-record 191 yards on 12 catches.

The Sooners’ offensive linemen were able to protect Bradford in the pocket and build the holes for the running game to move against the Jayhawks for 206 yards. At one point, Bradford had enough time to actually smile as he threw a six-yard pass to Jermaine Gresham early in the third quarter.

“Obviously, getting the numbers are nice, but the most important thing is to come out and get the win,” Bradford said. “Our offensive line did a great job. We got the running game going and I had all the time in the world back there.”

Iglesias stepped up in place of injured senior Manuel Johnson as the primary target for Bradford. Although Iglesias didn’t catch any touchdowns, many of his receptions moved the chains against the Jayhawks.

“I always try to make all the plays that I can. So when Manny went out, the only role I feel like I picked up was to be more of a leader,” Iglesias said Saturday. “Tonight was a big win, obviously, after last week [a loss to Texas]. We needed to come out tonight and have a good game. We just put last week’s game behind us.”

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was pleased with the way the offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage and didn’t give up any turnovers in 97 plays.

“They were the first ones in the locker room to get a game ball to be able to be balanced and protect the quarterback and the run,” Stoops said. “They were real good and solid.

“It’s always pleasing when you are effective both running and passing. I thought our guys played well; we had all those snaps and no turnovers. No turnovers is a big deal.”

It wasn’t like the Jayhawks’ offense didn’t burn the Sooners. Kansas trailed 31-24 midway through the third quarter before Oklahoma was able to clamp down.

Kansas junior quarterback Todd Reesing was 24 of 41 for 342 yards and two touchdowns despite throwing two interceptions and being sacked five times.

Sophomore receiver Quentin Briscoe set a school-record for receiving yards in a game with 269, and he caught both Reesing touchdowns. Running back Jake Sharp ran for 103 yards and a touchdown.

But the downfall was on third down, with Kansas converting only two in 12 attempts. Both of Reesing’s interceptions were in Sooner territory when the Jayhawks were driving down the field.

“We fought our hardest to stay with them, and we did for a long time; and, in the end, they had more firepower than we did and scored more points than we did,” Reesing said. “Today, they were the better team.

“We came in expecting to score a lot of points to play with them and beat them. We had some mistakes and penalties that slowed drives, and we weren’t good on third downs like we have been all year. It cost us in the long run.”

Kansas head coach Mark Mangino said the Jayhawks will rebound from this game. They host Texas Tech on Saturday, another Big 12 South team with a high-octane offense led by quarterback Graham Harrell.

“Tackling, from what I could see on the sidelines, was not crisp,” Mangino said. “There’s a lot of things that weren’t the way we liked them to be. But once again, we have a lot of guys who are on the field who never come off on defense. They’re playing a lot of reps and we’re playing a little short-handed there, so we try to rotate guys.

“We tried to give our linebackers a little (rest) because their offense is where you have a lot of pass-coverage work. In the secondary, we just don’t have that luxury (to rest players).”