Since 2011, Oklahoma is 3-2 against Kansas State and has won those games by an average margin of victory of 35.3 points per game. Last season in Manhattan, the Sooners rolled to a 55-0 blowout of the Wildcats.
The Wildcats are coming off a 44-38 home win against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The team is averaging 34 points per game and will look to methodically dictate tempo in this game to keep the Sooners high powered offense on the sidelines. Kansas State is averaging 188 rushing yards per game and 155 passing yards per game.
Quarterback Jesse Ertz is a better runner than he is a passer and the whole offensive scheme revolves around Ertz’s ability to utilize read option. Kansas State is run heavy offense that needs to have success with Ertz as a runner to open up the play action passing attack. On the year, Ertz has rushed for 253 yards on the ground with 3 touchdowns.
Running back Charlie Jones is a solid runner that can move the chains but doesn’t have breakaway speed that intimidates defenses. Jones leads the team with 287 rushing yards averaging 5.1 yards per carry with 2 touchdowns.
Kansas State will look to get into third down and short situations which will not put pressure on Ertz to make plays in the passing game. Ertz has completed only 48% of his passes for 688 yards with 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
However, Kansas State has done an excellent job of converting their third down opportunities with a 43% success rate. The Wildcats seem to have problems offensively when they are put in one dimensional situations that forces them to pass the football. They must be able to score first in this game to allow the offense to dictate the tempo and take time off of the clock to shorten the game. When the Wildcats become one dimensional due to their inability to run the football, this has put pressure on their offensive line. Entering this game, the unit has allowed 12 sacks through the first five games of the year.
Wide receivers Byron Pringle and Dominique Heath have combined for 22 receptions for 337 yards with 3 scores. They do not run complicated routes and like to work over the middle of the field on dig routes and post patterns. In order to get this win, Kansas State must utilize play action on first and second down to keep the Oklahoma defense guessing on key situations.
Defensively, the Wildcats are allowing 17 points per game and are very good at shutting down the run allowing 80 rushing yards per game to opposing offenses. Kansas State is allowing 229 passing yards per game and has been beaten deep by up-tempo passing attacks that attack the deep third of the football field.
Kansas State must win the turnover battle to give their offense a short field. The Wildcats have done an excellent job of forcing turnovers and enter this game +6 in turnover margin. The front seven must attack a suspect Oklahoma offensive line and pressure Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield into quick decisions. Kansas State has recorded 12 sacks through the first five games and will need a solid effort on the road to disrupt the timing of the Sooners offense.
Oklahoma is coming off of a dominating offensive performance over arch-rival Texas in which the Sooners rolled up 670 total yards of offense against the Longhorns en route to the 45-40 win.
The Sooners are averaging 40 points per game and are very balanced rushing for 215 yards per game and passing for 313 yards per game. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is the trigger man for this high octane attack and he is starting to play like the dominating player he was in 2015. Entering this game, Mayfield has completed 68% of his passes for 1,457 yards with 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Mayfield has looked comfortable over the last two weeks in back to back wins against TCU and Texas. He has made proper reads and has been able to throw the deep ball very well entering this game.
Running back Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine have combined for 859 rushing yards with 8 touchdowns. Both players give the Sooners the ability to have fresh legs in the game at all times which can put pressure on opposing defenses in their up-tempo attack.
Wide receiver Dede Westbrook has emerged as the main target for Mayfield and leads the team with 34 receptions for 544 yards with 5 touchdowns. Westbrook exploded for 10 receptions for 232 yards with 3 touchdowns in the Red River Rivalry win and will look to continue the momentum this Saturday against the Wildcats secondary.
Oklahoma will look to put the pedal to the medal early on to force the Kansas State offense to match them score for score. The Sooners are converting of their third down attempts and will look to pass early on first and second down to force the Wildcats from stacking the box against their rushing attack.
Defensively, the Sooners enter this game needing to be able to step up in a big spot. On the year, Oklahoma is allowing 36 points per game and has been burned over the top of their secondary this season. Oklahoma is allowing 287 passing yards per game and is giving up 140 rushing yards per game.
Two causes of concern are the ability to allow opposing offenses to convert on third down (40%) and the lack of turnovers (-6 in turnover margin entering this game). Look for head coach Bob Stoops to blitz Jesse Ertz to put pressure on their offensive line. The Sooners have recorded 13 sacks through the first five games and will look to put pressure on the Kansas State offense early on to keep the crowd into the game.
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