News, notes and quotes on Kansas' showdown with No. 16 Oklahoma State Saturday at Memorial Stadium at 3 p.m. on Fox Sports 1, while hoping interim Kansas head football coach Clint Bowen gets a win in his first home game.
The Cowboys (4-1, 2-0 in Big 12) opened the season losing to No. 1 Florida State (37-31) in Arlington on Aug. 30 before winning four straight against Missouri State (40-23), UTSA (43-13), Texas Tech (45-35) and Iowa State (37-20).
OSU ranks No. 22 nationally in scoring offense (39.2), No. 31 in passing offense (286.6), No. 72 in rushing offense (163.2), No. 29 in rushing defense (114.8), No. 5 in 4th down defense (.167), and No. 8 in red zone offense (.955).
Quarterback Daxx Garman has completed 75 of 128 passes for 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns with four interceptions. Garman, who took over for injured J.W. Walsh, ranks No. 3 in the Big 12 averaging 300 passing yards through four games. Oklahoma State has four receivers who’ve caught at least 14 passes this season with its top man Brandon Sheperd catching 16 passes for 277 yards (17.3 avg). The team’s main running back is Desmond Roland, who is tied for third in the league averaging 76 yards per game. He also has six TDs.
Defensively, the Cowboys’ front seven only gives up 3.4 yards per carry for a total of 574 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. However, OSU ranks just No. 91 nationally in passing defense (263.2). Junior linebacker Ryan Simmons leads the team and is No. 14 in the Big 12 with 35 tackles. Senior linebacker Josh Furman is also a force with a conference third-best and team-high four sacks along with seven total tackles for loss (No. 4 in Big 12). The secondary, meanwhile, has two players ranked in the Big 12’s top four in pass defended; cornerback Kevin Peterson has eight breakups and one pick while corner Ashton Lampkin leads the team with two interceptions, while also posting three pass breakups.
Mike Gundy, who has been OSU head coach since 2005, has posted a sterling 81-39 record. He is tied at No. 11 nationally for the longest-tenured coach at his current school.
OSU leads the series, 32-29-3, while also leading in games in Lawrence, 18-15-1. The Cowboys have won four straight and nine of the last 10 meetings with KU’s only victory during that span coming in 2007 in Stillwater (43-28). No. 11 OSU won last year’s meeting in Stillwater, 42-6, scoring 28 unanswered points in the first half.
WHAT HAPPENED THIS DAY?
KU is 8-8 all time in games played on Oct. 11. The Jayhawks beat Colorado, 30-14, on Oct. 11, 2008, the last time they played on this day. The win over the Buffs snapped a six-game losing streak for KU of games played on Oct. 11. Kansas played its first-ever game on Oct. 11 in 1895 with a 10-0 win at Emporia State.
GET THAT FUMBLE
KU leads the Big 12 and ranks No. 28 nationally in fumbles recovered with five. Five different Jayhawks have recovered fumbles, including linebacker Ben Heeney, Buck Victor Simmons, defensive lineman Ben Goodman, receiver Justin McCay and cornerback Matthew Boateng.
SHEPHERD MAKING MARK
Senior cornerback JaCorey Shepherd has had an impressive start this season. He collected four solo stops last week against West Virginia and tying a career high with three pass breakups. Shepherd also returned five kickoffs for 124 yards.
On the season, the Texas native has 15 tackles, one pick and five pass breakups.
JOHNSON A GREAT ONE
Sophomore safety Isaiah Johnson intercepted a pass against West Virginia and now has six picks during his brief career. He needs two interceptions to crack the all-time KU top 10 and tie Darrell Stuckey, Justin Thornton and Richard Bertuzzi.
WHO’S GOING TO START?
KU interim head coach Clint Bowen said Montell Cozart, Michael Cummings and T.J. Millweard will all get their opportunities to prove whether they will be the starting quarterback Saturday. Cozart has started all five games, but has been ineffective in his last two contests. He completed 4 of 10 passes for 42 yards against West Virginia, while Cummings completed 8 of 17 passes for 65 yards. Millweard completed his only pass for four yards.
For the season, Cozart has completed 62 of 125 passes (49.6 percent) for 693 yards (138.6 avg.) with seven interceptions and five touchdowns. He leads KU in total offense with 150.2 yards per game.
“All three quarterbacks will get opportunities to go out there and perform and prepare to play in the game on Saturday,” Bowen said Tuesday, “and we'll see which ones are handling the parts of the offense that they can control and are best making the decisions that need to be made. Toward the end of the week we'll make a decision on who's going to play, if not all three of them.”
GET TONY THE BALL
Senior Tony Pierson, KU’s fastest player and arguably the team’s most dynamic athlete, hasn’t got the ball much this season. He’s rushed eight times for 120 yards and one touchdown, while catching 14 passes for 163 yards and one TD. Pierson rushed once for negative-four yards, and caught just two passes for eight yards against WVU.
“Obviously Tony is a talented young man, very explosive, very fast, and I think it's something that we just have to do on our team,” Bowen said about getting Pierson more involved. “When you have a player of his caliber, he needs to touch the ball. “They've (offensive staff) been working hard on ways to get him to touch the ball, but it hasn't materialized in the game. That's something that they're conscious of, and I believe they're going to -- there will be a concerted effort to make sure that Tony becomes a major part of the game.”