Kansas State In Norman To Battle Oklahoma Sooners
By: Willie Bee
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Landry Jones looks to lead OU to its sixth straight win over Kansas State.
There are about a dozen key games on the Big 12 schedule that will determine this year's eventual champion. The Oklahoma Sooners are in a good third of those contests, and the first one comes Saturday night in Norman against the Kansas State Wildcats.
FOX will televise the boot a little before eight o'clock (ET), and it's no surprise to see Oklahoma giving up 14 points on their home field. The total is 58½, and if recent history in the series between the two clubs is any indication, the Sooners might hit that number themselves. More on that in a bit.
School is officially in session for Bob Stoops' squad. The Sooners, ranked fifth and sixth by the coaches and writers, will play one of the toughest schedules in the country from here on out with five of their next 10 opponents currently ranked in the top 20 of the two mainstream polls. Oklahoma is fourth in the latest Don Best Linemakers Poll, a little more than seven points higher in those ratings than K-State down in 20th.
The Wildcats sit 13th in the coaches poll and 15th in the AP.
Stoops and OU have had two weeks to cram for this first real test on the schedule. The Sooners struggled a bit in their opener at UTEP, the final 24-7 score failing bettors who were laying nearly 30 points on Oklahoma. That was followed by a 69-13 thrashing of Florida A&M in Week 2 which was just enough to cover the gigantic 54-point spread.
Statistically, the Sooners are in fine shape with the nation's 10th-rated defense (245 ypg) and 11th-best offense (544.5 ypg). Landry Jones directs the latter with a lot of help from an offensive line that has been able to open holes for whoever is toting the pigskin. Damien Williams leads the OU infantry with over 250 yards on just 20 carries so far, finding the end zone four times against UTEP to give him five TDs among those 20 rushes.
Of course, those numbers came against the Miners and Rattlers, and Bill Snyder's Wildcats will most certainly offer up stiffer competition.
Kansas State started the season with a pair of impressive wins and covers over Missouri State and Miami (Fla), the victory against the Hurricanes easily beating the 7-point spread. Perhaps facing a letdown from the win over Miami as well as looking ahead to this game, the Wildcats were sloppy in a 35-21 victory last week vs. North Texas State that fell well short of the 27 points that oddsmakers saddled them with.
Snyder all but confirmed that after his squad needed 14 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Mean Green. "It was the attitude we took into the ballgame. There wasn't anything else to blame it on," the KSU head coach said following the contest.
No doubt Snyder put his team through attitude adjustment drills during practices this week.
K-State has some offensive weapons of its own, led by dual-threat QB Collin Klein who has completed nearly 73 percent of his passes for more than 10 yards per attempt, five of the completions going for scores. The senior is also second on the team in rushing with 210 yards, finding the end zone on four of his carries.
Oklahoma has won the last five clashes in this series and owns a very one-sided 71-17-4 advantage over the years. The two teams were ranked in the top 10 a year ago when they met in Manhattan, and the Sooners dominated that game with a 58-17 beat-down, the second time in three meetings that OU reached the 58-point mark.
That whipping in 2011 was out of character for the Wildcats who stood 4-3 straight up vs. Oklahoma when both schools were ranked. Kansas State has covered four of the last seven overall, and the last four have all gone 'over' the total.
It should be a nice, clear evening for the 85,000 or so who file into Memorial Stadium. Temps should drop through the 70s and into the 60s as the game progresses with a light NE breeze.