Oklahoma football: Weighing Kansas State's chances against the Sooners
Kansas State didn't look to impressive win a 35-21 win over North Texas. The Oklahoman takes a look at five reasons the Sooners could win this Saturday and five reasons the Wildcats could win.
NORMAN — Bill Snyder wasn't pleased with Kansas State's effort in its closer-than-expected home victory over North Texas.
But even worse, Snyder was upset with how poorly the Wildcats practiced during the week preceding Saturday's 35-21 win.
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“It goes back to what I talk about all the time, and that is taking something for granted,” Snyder said after the game. “We ran around on the practice field and did not go through the fundamentals of tackling and consequently we did not tackle well in the ballgame.
“I think it was the attitude that we took into the ballgame, and the approach as related to the practice environment had as much to do with it as anything.”
The Wildcats could survive with those types of practices against the overmatched Mean Green. But an effort like that this Saturday, when No. 15 K-State travels to Norman to face No. 6 Oklahoma, and the Wildcats could be humiliated.
“We better practice with purpose this week, or it'll be 150-0,” Snyder said.
Five reasons OU will lose
Offensive systems could favor Kansas State: Many of Kansas State's struggles against North Texas stemmed from the Mean Green keeping possession of the ball over 14 minutes more than the Wildcats. That sort of game plan — that kept Collin Klein on the sideline — doesn't suit Oklahoma's offense. If OU has a couple early three-and-outs, and K-State can sustain long drives by powering through OU's run defense, it could spell trouble for the Sooners.
OU hasn't faced a rushing attack like K-State's: Kansas State rushers have averaged 5.9 yards a carry through three games, and Oklahoma's run defense has shown itself to be suspect so far. UTEP's Nathan Jeffery gashed the Sooners for 177 yards, and although OU wound up with impressive numbers vs. Florida A&M, the Rattlers did break off a couple nice runs early. Senior DT Casey Walker's return could help, but how much of a difference can one guy make?
Collin Klein has been a dual-threat QB: Klein's running abilities are well-documented, but he has been an efficient passer through three games this season, too. Klein has completed 72 percent of his passes with five touchdowns through the air, in addition to his 4.6 yards-per-carry rushing average.
Wildcats' block party: Bob Stoops' OU teams used to be known for blocking kicks; lately, though, they've far more often been the ones having their kicks blocked. The Sooners have blocked one punt since 2008, and haven't gotten their hands on a field goal in eight years. In the season opener at UTEP, OU had a punt — which was returned for a touchdown — and a field goal blocked. K-State, meanwhile, has blocked six kicks since the beginning of last season.
Sack attack: Oklahoma has given up six sacks through two games this season, and Kansas State has sacked opposing quarterbacks eight times. If UTEP and Florida A&M defenders got to Landry Jones, why shouldn't K-State's be able to, also?
Five reasons OU will win
K-State's win over Miami doesn't seem so impressive after Saturday: Kansas State looked fantastic in a 52-13 walloping of Miami on Sept. 8, but both teams' Saturday games tempered that once-impressive result a bit. K-State got all it wanted at home from North Texas, and Miami struggled at home in a 38-10 win against Bethune-Cookman. The Hurricanes were tied 7-7 with their FCS opponent after one quarter and just led by 10 at halftime.