Oklahoma vs Kansas State Preview
Will this be the week that the Sooner offense actually shows up? Not only is that unlikely, but Oklahoma’s offense has been trending down every week. Does the woeful offensive output fall on Spencer Rattler? In spite of Rattler’s less-than-inspiring performance thus far, he can hardly be blamed for all of the offensive shortcomings. On the other hand, the majority of the offense’s problems can be laid directly at the offensive line’s feet.
Generally speaking, this is the same Kansas State team that has beaten Oklahoma in the last two meetings. To begin with, the Wildcats play solid defense, control the clock with a solid run game, and as always are really good in special teams.
Will the Sooners build on late-game heroics against West Virginia, or continue the losing streak against the Wildcats? With this in mind, let us delve into the Oklahoma vs Kansas State preview.
After last week’s loss at the hands of Oklahoma State, the Wildcats have a few unanswered questions. First and foremost, who will be the starting quarterback this Saturday? Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman has stated that quarterback Skylar Thompson is unlikely to play. To translate that from coach speak to layman terms, Thompson will play against the Sooners on Saturday.
The typically stout Wildcat defense comes in allowing but 19.5 points a game. Unfortunately, the Wildcats lost defensive end and arguably top defensive player Khalid Duke to a lower leg injury. Duke went down during Kansas State’s victory over Nevada.
Nonetheless, the Wildcats are not without talent at the defensive end. Those positions are ably manned by converted tackles Jaylen Pickle and Felix Anudike.
The defensive line lost two key starters from the 2020 group, but it’s entirely possible that this unit may be just as talented.
Running back Deuce Vaughn is one of the top backs in the Big 12. In any event, Kansas State will rely heavily on the run game and limit the Sooners possessions.
Kansas State has had great special teams since the days of former head coach, Bill Snyder. Nothing has changed in that department. One of the key plays in the Wildcats’ victory over the Sooners a year ago was a blocked punt. In a losing effort last week Malik Knowles returned three kickoffs for an average of 41.3 yards and a touchdown. Kicker Taiten Winkel was two for two in field goal attempts. The punting was manned by Ty Zentler, who averaged 49.9 yards per punt.
Provided that Oklahoma has been unimpressive in back-to-back wins leaves many of the Sooner faithful uneasy about a trip to Manhattan, Kansas. For one thing, the Oklahoma offense has been abysmal. To point out, against FBS opponents the Sooner offense has gotten progressively worse. Furthermore, the 16 points scored against West Virginia was the fewest since 2013 ironically in a 16-7 win against the Mountaineers.
If not for a solid defensive effort, the Sooners would be on a two-game losing streak.
Notably, the offense has been a major concern this season. Excluding a 76-0 romp of FCS Western Carolina, the Sooners are averaging 26.3 points a contest. Coupled with the fact that Oklahoma averaged 43 points a game a year ago, there is cause for concern.
Much of the attention has been placed on Rattler’s performance. Although this may be true, a much bigger concern is the offensive line. This could quite possibly be Oklahoma’s poorest offensive line in 10 years. For one thing, the line appears lost and disorganized constantly, and there appears to be a definite lack of effort as well.
On the positive side, Rattler and the offense put together a gutsy game-winning drive from their own seven-yard line to beat West Virginia. Gabe Brkic kicked the game-winner as time expired for the only walk-off field goal in Oklahoma’s storied history.
The Sooner defense has been the story of the season thus far. The defense has been dominant in the second half of Oklahoma’s last two games. The depth and talent of the defensive line have been evident this year.
West Virginia was 0-9 on third down after the first quarter Saturday night. Notably, this defense gets stronger as the game progresses, unlike previous years.
The Final Word
In the final analysis, the defense has carried the offense. The hope is that the offense will build on the late-game performance of last Saturday night.
At some point, the offense will catch up with the defense. This would be a great week to start the process.
Keep the faith, Sooner fans. However ugly it has been, Oklahoma is still undefeated with a four in the win column.