The Oklahoma Sooners are faced with their biggest challenge of the season so far with the Kansas State Wildcats. In a prime time showdown, will the Sooners be able to handle the pressure?
The Sooners blasted the Wildcats last season in Manhattan, but they to remember one thing going in: This is another year.
One of main things the Sooners need to focus on? This is 2012.
Both teams are entering the game with a lot of question marks. Neither team has played anyone of substance yet, though the Wildcats did face the Miami Hurricanes in week 2 and steam-rolled them 52-13. Unfortunately, beating Miami isn’t saying much since the state of football in Miami right now is on dumpster fire status. The Wildcats struggled last Saturday, surprisingly, against North Texas. They had issues getting their run game established, which is their main point of attack. The rushed for a season low, 134 yards, when normally they are averaging 252 ypg.
Wildcats QB Collin Klein has been the buzz player so far going into this week and rightfully so. He has 609 yards in the air and 210 rushing yards after their first three games. RB John Hubert has 296 yards and leads the team in rushing while averaging 6.9 yards per carry.
Another major threat for the Wildcats is Tyler Lockett. Lockett has been outstanding for the Wildcats special teams and offense. He is a deep threat at wide receiver and even more deadly as a their kick-off returner. Another double threat to watch out for is WR Tremaine Thompson. He has made quite a bit of noise at wide out and on special teams.
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder is fully aware of what is at stake for both teams. Snyder, in my opinion, is one of the greatest minds in college football. He molds one and two star athletes to compete with the teams who are loaded with the three and four.
Kansas State was not a great program before he arrived; he comes in and takes it over and completely turns it around. He retired, and they unfortunately hired Ron Prince to take over and quickly run them into the ground and then begged Snyder to come back out of retirement. Snyder has also been a mentor and friend to Bob Stoops for many years, going back to Stoops’ first coaching job as an assistant at Kansas State.
Snyder this week on the match-up:
(Our) secondary, with the exception of David Garrett, is virtually the same. That is good news. The bad news is that they got torched a year ago. Hopefully the experience has worked in their favor.
Snyder hasn’t had the best of luck in Norman over the last several years. The last time they faced Jones there, he completed 70 percent of his passes, had 4 touchdowns and 294 yards without Kansas State touching him once.
The Sooners offensive line has been suspect so far this season, and Kansas State will be the best defense they have faced. Giving Jones time and the pass protection will be key. They have been able to create holes for the RBs, but the Wildcats secondary is a little shakey, so I would expect Jones to attempt to air most of the balls out; at least to start out with.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Sooners get Casey Walker back and with the Wildcats running game, it will be a great boost. Walker has been back on the team after taking personal time off for the last two weeks. Safety Tony Jefferson has been practicing all week, as expected, and will be starting Saturday after spraining an ankle two weeks ago against FAMU.
The Sooners secondary has looked good so far and looks better and more focused than they did last season. Again, this has been against teams that have not been up to par, but the attitude has been there both mentally and physically. The rush defense has showed improvement, but against a run-heavy team they will need to be virtually mistake free.
The main key to winning the game for the Sooners has to be not starting out slow. Jones has the reputation of getting in his groove later in the game and against this team, it can’t happen. Three and outs will not cut it when Klein is sitting on the sidelines itching to come back in and continue on his Heisman-worthy stats.
This is going to be an evenly matched game if both teams come out on both cylinders. Mistakes on either side and the game could go either way. I give the slight advantage to the Sooners being at home winning 42 out of 43 of the their last home games. Texas Tech proved last season it can be done, and Kansas State is just the team to pull the upset.