You could see in the video from Kansas there was improved effort the week before against Texas Tech and a pretty mediocre Red Raiders defense. True freshman quarterback Ryan Willis had some success but the Jayhawks staff and offensive coordinator Rob Likens kept it simple with off-tackle runs that were blocked either as zone plays or loaded runs with the guard and center pulling to the point of attack.
The pass plays were spread out with simple route combinations to allow Willis some easy reads that he could get through and release the ball to a bigger window to throw in. Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer saw that and complimented Likens on being very smart with his young quarterback, but for a veteran and more talented defense it was going to create some opportunities and the Cowboys showed that early.
My All-American defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah set the tone with a hard rush on the second play of the game and he got the young quarterback Willis' attention early and often. The Cowboys had two sacks, really three by my count but it was called a run back to the line of scrimmage. I saw it as a one-yard sack, and yes Ogbah was in on part of it. They also had five quarterback hurries and Ogbah had three of those.
Spencer doesn't look at yards allowed as a real strong indicator as to how a defense is performing, but against Kansas the Cowboys allowed 30 rushing yards on 27 carries, 191 passing yards on 31 passes, and a total of 221 yards of offense on 58 plays and an average of 3.8 yards a snap.
Spencer's favorite football stat is points per possession and his defense was really good there with Kansas having 15 possessions of the football. If you add the safety in Oklahoma State's favor that came late when scout team defensive tackle Tyler Ferguson was awarded a sack and a safety when Willis was guilty of intentional grounding in his own end zone then Kansas had a total of eight points. That comes out to .53 points per possession.
On the other hand, if you don't subtract the safety from the total then the Oklahoma State offense averaged 3.7 points on their 15 possessions of the football.
In the "We're Taking It Back" department, Willis threw two interceptions with Devante Averette coming up with one late. The first one early in the third quarter picked off by linebacker Seth Jacobs really kind of set the tone for the second half and that Kansas was never going to get a chance to get back in the game. Tre Flowers, on a nice break, nearly had a chance for a third interception and his might have developed into the "pick six" variety as there was a lot of green grass ahead of him and he would have had a head start on the pursuit.
Besides Ogbah, defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, defensive end Jimmy Bean, and cornerback Kevin Peterson all set the tone with plays made at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield. Taylor was very active early in discouraging the Kansas running backs and putting pressure on Willis up the middle. Bean made several plays on the edge. Peterson charged up on a screen and pushed the receiver back for a three-yard loss.
The defense played as expected and maybe a little better.