No. 19 Oklahoma awaits old friends Miles, winless Kansas
For the first time in 17 years, Les Miles will bring a team to Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium to play Oklahoma.
“That’s a great place. It’s a historic field,” Miles opined as his Kansas squad gets ready to play at No. 19 Oklahoma. “It sounds very much like the inside of a jet engine. That crowd’s loud.”
The crowd won’t be nearly as loud this time around with capacity extremely limited during COVID-19 restrictions.
The Oklahoma State team he coached in the stadium in 2003 was ranked No. 14 in the country and got blown out, 52-9.
That Sooners team was No. 1. This Oklahoma team isn’t nearly at that level, having dropped two early games, but Kansas is a long way from a top-15 team. Miles’ Jayhawks have lost all six games this season, including their five Big 12 games by an average of 33 points.
Miles’ last appearance in Norman might not have ended the way he would’ve liked, but Miles had about as much success as anyone else against the Sooners, going 2-2 during his time in Stillwater including one road win over Oklahoma.
“I always respected the opponent there,” Miles said this week. “I think they’re a quality football team with quality guys. I enjoyed Bob Stoops when I would go down there. There was good banter between us.”
Miles might be complimentary of Stoops and the Sooners now, but that wasn’t exactly his take before his last visit.
“They’re the best team in college football … we’re told,” Miles said back then.
These Sooners aren’t ranked first, and Miles’ Jayhawks are just searching for a bit of respectability instead of being in a position to fight to compete with the Sooners atop the Big 12.
Early in the season, Oklahoma looked far from a team capable of competing for what would be a sixth consecutive Big 12 title.
But last week, with a pair of players — running back Rhamondre Stevenson and defensive end Ronnie Perkins — making their first appearances of the season after six-game suspensions, the Sooners, for the first time this season, looked like a team that could keep up that streak of conference titles in a 62-28 blowout of Texas Tech.
Both Stevenson and Perkins made a noticeable difference, with Stevenson rushing for three touchdowns and Perkins recording a pair of tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler also showed better decision-making, avoiding an interception for the second consecutive game after being benched briefly against Texas on Oct. 10.
But despite their noticeable improvements across the board, Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said they were far from a finished product.
“There’s definitely a lot more,” Riley said. “That’s the world of overreaction, which we get. That’s the world we live in. You lose a game to Iowa State and everybody thinks you’re the sorriest team that’s ever played, and then you go win big this week and all of the sudden we’ll be the ’85 Bears.”
–Field Level Media