#19 Kansas State (7-1) @ #4 Oklahoma State (8-0)
- Game time: 7:00
- TV: ABC
- Sirius Channel: 94
- The Spread: Oklahoma State -21
The Lowdown: Kansas State entered last week's game with Oklahoma undefeated but with many people still questioning the credentials of the Wildcats. At halftime with Kansas State trailing 23-17, it like those naysayers would get their foot shoved in their mouth. But then the second half happened - a 35-0 Oklahoma second half - and Kansas State was exposed for what many already thought they were; a good football team but far from competing with the best teams in the country.
So where is the truth with this Kansas State team? Probably somewhere in the middle. A team doesn't get to 7-0 by accident in most cases. And after all, it was just one bad half against a very good Oklahoma team. Now with that said, it won't get any easier this week with Oklahoma State next on the docket.
There aren't many offenses better than Oklahoma's, but if there is one, it very well may be Oklahoma State. And the Wildcats will have to get it done in Stillwater where only Arizona has held the Pokes under 40 points (OSU beat Arizona 37-14).
As for that Oklahoma State offense, there is no weakness. None. If you want to make something up and call it a weakness, go ahead, but I've yet to see it, as has any other Big 12 team. Great quarterback, great running back, great wide receiver, and a great offensive line. Good luck stopping that.
The only thing you can do is man up and hope your guys make some plays. Maybe you can force Brandon Weeden to move his feet in the pocket at times and get an interception or two. Otherwise, your best bet is to just tighten up the chin strip, get ready for a four quarter barrage, and hope you come out on the other side alive.
Now does Kansas State have a chance? Of course they have a chance. Don't forget who is on the Wildcat's sideline. There's little doubt Bill Snyder will have a game plan in place capable of knocking off the Cowboys. Whether or not Kansas State can execute it is another story.
So how do you go making an Oklahoma State fan mad? Just tell them their defense isn't very good and watch the sparks fly. There very well may be some truth to their arguments that due to a variety of circumstances, the Cowboys defense is better than the numbers show.
Last week was a perfect example of that. OSU lead 49-3 at the end of the third quarter against a very good offensive Baylor football team before Baylor tacked on three fourth quarter touchdowns and finished with 622 total yards. Holding the Bears to three points after three quarters is an impressive feat for any defense and the main number people should be concerned with.
But I'll tell you what, here's why this all may just work in Kansas State's favor. What Kansas State needs to do is control the ball on Saturday and low and behold, they happen to be pretty good at it. You can argue until your blue in the face how good OSU's defense may or not be, but the fact is they do give up some yards.
If KSU can control the ball and NOT TURN IT OVER, they will have a chance. It's goes without saying, but Oklahoma State's 29 takeaways are a huge reason for their success this season. Combine ball control, no turnovers with a couple big plays on special teams, you have your recipe for an upset, something Snyder is no doubt tweaking as we speak.
Will it work? The odds are against it, yes, but doing what people thought they couldn't do has become a bit of Kansas State specialty over the years.
Oklahoma State, Keys to the Game: Do whatever it takes to eliminate quarterback Collin Klein in the running game. They Cowboys know it is coming. Klein has carried the ball more this season than anyone in the Big 12 (Cyrus Gray is the closest in carries and he's 27 behind Klein). If the Cowboys can slow Klein down early in the possession, you can force the Wildcats in to third and plus five yards, a situation no team likes to find themselves in, but especially Kansas State.
On offense it's simple, score. How much Kansas State controls the ball won't matter much if the Pokes are able to put points on the board whenever they have the chance. KSU simply won't be able to keep up. And by pointing points on the board, you will eventually force Kansas State out of what they're comfortable doing out of simple necessity.
Kansas State, Keys to the Game: We've pretty much touched on the keys above, but probably the biggest and most important is not turning the ball over, something K-State has excelled at this season and one big reason they are 7-1. The Wildcats only have eight turnovers on the year, lowest in the Big 12, and that trend needs to continue in order for Kansas State to have a chance on Saturday.
After that, Kansas State just needs to do what they do. That is ball control and getting up off the mat when OSU lands a haymaker and not letting it snowball as it did against the Sooners.
Final Prediction, what will actually happen: I've been back and forth on this one all week. Not necessarily who will win, but how it's going to happen. Whenever there is little margin for error as there is with Kansas State, there is always the possibility the wheels fall off as they did last week against Oklahoma. Sometimes you just have to live to play another week.
Kansas State is a team that doesn't hurt itself, knows who they are, and is very good at what they do. They have the pieces in place that will make the Cowboys sweat this out, something that will benefit them down the road having to play four full quarters.
But let's be real here, Oklahoma State wins this, just not by as much as some people think. Kansas State hangs right with the Cowboys until the end, but Oklahoma State moves one step closer to Bedlam. Oklahoma State 44 - Kansas State 28.