Pokes Preview: No. 24 Oklahoma State takes on No. 2 Kansas State in Manhattan
Riding a three-game winning streak, No. 24 Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) gets its crack at No. 2 Kansas State (8-0, 5-0) Saturday night in Manhattan.
Is the front seven ready?
Last season, Heisman favorite Collin Klein torched OSU for 231 passing yards, 144 rushing yards and four touchdowns. But the OSU defense believes its starting to hit its stride and that its front seven is better equipped this season to defend K-State’s outstanding quarterback. It’s cliche, but the key will be to play “assignment football,” because Klein and that Wildcat offensive line are so disciplined. The defensive ends can’t over-pursue Klein if they get in the backfield, the tackles have to stay in front and the linebackers can’t get caught out of position.
What can the OSU offense exploit?
I asked Kellis Robinett, the K-State beat writer for the Kansas City Star/Wichita Eagle, what the Wildcats’ weakness was. He said he believed a team that runs the ball well — Joseph Randle leads the Big 12 in rushing — may be able to throw the ball over the middle if it gets the linebackers to creep up to the line of scrimmage. If Randle and the OSU run game can do that, Josh Stewart and Blake Jackson could be busy at those inside spots in between the linebackers and safeties. Additionally, K-State starting linebacker Tre Walker is expected to miss the game with injury, so that could create a soft spot in the Wildcat defense.
Is Wes Lunt ready?
This will be a tough road test for the true freshman quarterback, with high stakes on the line. But if Lunt’s first road start at Arizona, where he threw for a Big 12 record 436 yards and four touchdowns, is any indication, he’ll be just fine. His calm demeanor will serve him well in what should be a noisy and exciting college football environment under the lights.
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