OSU needs help, but the Pokes still could work their way into the Big 12 Championship Game in the first weekend of December. For the Wildcats, one more win gets them to bowl eligibility.
According to the oddsmakers, KSU likely won’t win their sixth game of the season this weekend. That won’t stop cagey tactician Bill Snyder from trying to pull off a major upset.
Kansas State at Oklahoma State
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 18 at 3:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN2
Spread: Oklahoma State -20
Three Things to Watch
1. Skylar Thompson’s psyche
With Jesse Ertz and Alex Delton sidelined, Thompson made his first start of the season last week against West Virginia. It could have gone better. He completed 13 of 26 passes for a scant 159 yards and was picked off twice in a 28-23 loss to the Mountaineers.
Snyder and offensive coordinator Dana Dimel need to find ways to help Thompson build his confidence early in the game.
2. ‘Cats can’t break
The OSU offense does most of its damage by going downfield to sure-handed wide receivers such as James Washington and Marcell Ateman. Last week, for example, QB Mason Rudolph averaged more than 12 yards per each of his 31 pass attempts versus Iowa State.
Kansas State has long thrived on keeping receivers in front of its defenders and waiting for opponents to make mistakes. Look for plenty of soft coverage against the Cowboy pass catchers.
3. Are the Wildcats distracted?
As the season winds down, speculation about Snyder’s future is heating up. This week saw a report from Brett McMurphy that the legendary head coach nixed a coach-in-waiting deal with Jim Leavitt to join the program last offseason. Supposedly, Snyder wants his son Sean to get a shot in the head coach’s chair, according to McMurphy.
Is that noise about the future of the program filtering down to KSU’s players?
Bill Snyder remains one of the best head coaches in the history of college football. However, a wizard can only do so much with a third-string QB.
Oklahoma State’s defense won’t allow the Wildcats to string together consistent drives with Skylar Thompson at the wheel. K-State will need to break off a few big plays to score. If the defense can generate points, that would be a plus. Same goes for a score from special teams.
Even with their hopes of a Big 12 crown fading, the Cowboys proved in last week’s comeback win over Iowa State that they haven’t given hope yet. Assuming they’re still motivated on Saturday, they shouldn’t have much trouble breezing past KSU.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 45, Kansas State 17
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.