Oklahoma's 'D' helps Sooners prevail in K.C.

J.D. Runnels runs for a first down after a catch during Oklahoma's 19-3 win over Kansas Saturday night in Kansas City. Oklahoma's defense dominated the Jayhawks picking off two early passes and holding KU to just 114 yards of total offense. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Before Oklahoma's struggling offense ever took the field Saturday night against Kansas, the Sooner defense had already saved the day.

The Oklahoma 'D' picked off passes on the Jayhawks' first two possessions, which lead to a quick 10-0 lead, and held KU to just 97 yards of total offense in a 19-3 win at Arrowhead Stadium Saturday in Kansas City.

"We knew we had to dig in and we did great as a defense," said junior linebacker Rufus Alexander, who finished with five tackles and one interception. "We basically shut them out because the offense gave them good field position on the field goal."

"We're pleased to win coming up here away from home," said OU head coach Bob Stoops, who improved to 4-0 against the Jayhawks. "Kansas is a much improved football team and they have an excellent defense. It felt good to hang in there in a hard fought game, especially in the second half.

Sophomore cornerback D.J. Wolfe picked off a Brian Luke pass on the third play of the game, and returned it 65-yards for a touchdown to give the Sooners a quick 7-0 lead.

And then on the Jayhawks' first play from scrimmage following Wolfe's touchdown, OU linebacker Clint Ingram picked off a Luke pass at the Kansas 38-yard line, which eventually set up a 40-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley that gave OU 10-0 lead with 9:58 mark to go in the first quarter.

"D.J. is a good running back but he has done an excellent job at cornerback, and he is getting better and better," said Stoops. "I had a good feeling that when he had it (the interception) that he had a good chance at taking it to the endzone."

Overall, the Oklahoma defense held the Jayhawks to just 11 rushing yards on 22 carries and 86 yards through the air. The Sooners were also tough on third down, forcing the Jayhawks into a 1-for-12 effort on third down conversions.

"I thought that defensively we were very exceptional for the entire game," said Stoops. "We didn't tackle well early, but we started to as the game progressed. We also got good pressure and were able to force some turnovers."

Offensively, OU's first half performance was ugly but things heated up enough in the second half to get the job done. Rhett Bomar helped the Sooners put the game away for good with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Kelly, that gave OU a 16-3 lead at the 10:17 mark of the fourth quarter.

Hartley would miss the extra point, but would redeem himself two drives later with a 40-yarder that pushed the lead to 19-3 with 4:06 to go in the game.

Bomar did throw two interceptions, but finished strong completing 16 of his 31 pass attempts for 206 yards. He was also 5-for-7 on the Sooners' touchdown scoring drive early in the fourth quarter and was 9-of-16 overall in the second half.

"We really struggled in the first half, but I was proud of the fact that we hung in there," Stoops said. "Nobody was dejected in the lockerroom and we were able to put together some great drives in the second half. We executed like we feel we're capable of doing. We're not perfect by any means, but we're getting there."

The Sooner offense also had to once again operate without the services of Adrian Peterson. Peterson, who did not play in the second half due to a lingering high ankle sprain, was ineffective when he was in the game finishing with -5 yards on four carries and one lost fumble.

However, picking up the slack nicely for Peterson was the senior running back tandem of Donta Hickson and Kejuan Jones.

The duo combined for 110 yards on the ground against the Kansas Jayhawks, who came into the game ranked 3rd nationally against the run giving up just 64.6 yards per game on the ground.

"I think that Donta Hickson and Kejuan Jones did a great job as a tandem running for 110 yards," said Stoops. "It's easier to mix things up when you're executing with your passing game. We've had offensive rhythm this year but it hasn't been near as consistent and we'll grow.

"It says a lot to me that as poor as we played in the first half we were able to hang in there and play well in the second half away from home. We used the clock and had some strong drives and did what we needed to do to win."

Next up for the Sooners (3-3, 2-1) is a Big 12 South matchup against Baylor next Saturday in Norman. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CST.

Game Notes
Senior receiver Travis Wilson did not play against the Jayhawks, which snapped his consecutive starts streak at nine games...Senior running back Donta Hickson made his first career start as a Sooner, and finished with a career-high 18 rushing attempts...Oklahoma's defense held the KU rushing attack to just 11 yards on the ground, which was their lowest so far this season. It was also the fifth time this year that the Sooners have held their opponents rushing attack under 100 yards...The Sooners four takeaways was a season high.

OU-Kansas Box Score

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