Is OU shaping up for a letdown? Can KSU bounce back?
If both answers are “yes,” conditions will be ripe for an upset in Manhattan this weekend.
Oklahoma at Kansas State
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Spread: Oklahoma -14
Three Things to Watch
1. K-State’s quarterback
Per usual, Wildcats head coach Bill Snyder played coy about injured quarterback Jesse Ertz’s status for this weekend. If Ertz does give it a go, OU’s defense will be coming after him early and often.
More likely, Alex Delton will get the call under center again this week. In that case, the Sooners should prepare for a healthy dose of the QB running game.
2. KSU’s defensive line vs. OU’s offensive line
Rugged plugger Will Geary leads K-State’s defensive front, which is the Wildcats’ strength on that side of the ball. KSU relies on that defensive line to control the action on the ground, allowing the Wildcats to focus on the aerial attack on the back end.
KSU’s linemen will have their work cut out for them with OU’s offensive line, which is one of the best in the country. Once the Sooners get their running game going, the Wildcats won’t have much chance of slowing them down.
Saturday’s forecast for Manhattan currently calls for thunderstorms. Aside from raising the likelihood of a game delay, that means the conditions could make both teams miserable.
A sloppy, wet field might favor Kansas State, whose offense doesn’t require the same precision as what OU runs.
Kansas State has the right idea when it comes to beating a high-octane team such as Oklahoma. The Wildcats play ball control on offense and bend like a ballerina on D, a style that tends to frustrate the spread-happy squads in the Big 12.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they have to be able to throw the ball well enough to punish opponents for gearing up to stop their ground game. With Jesse Ertz likely out of commission or severely limited, it appears unlikely that K-State can muster enough firepower through the air to keep the Sooners honest on defense. If the Wildcats can’t play keep away, OU’s offense will eventually overwhelm them.
OU hasn’t lost on KSU’s home turf since 1996. All things being equal, this doesn’t look like the year the streak will end. The likelihood of bad weather presages an ugly game.
Prediction: Oklahoma 28, Kansas State 14
— 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.