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Kicking the Tires: Oklahoma Sooners

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K-State travels to Norman on Saturday to take on the Oklahoma Sooners. Both teams still have hope for winning a Big 12 championship, but the loser will see those hopes end.

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Two years ago, K-State traveled to Norman, Okla., as a solid underdog and upset the Oklahoma Sooners en route to the 2012 Big 12 championship.

If history is to repeat itself this year in the form of K-State winning a Big 12 championship, history will probably have to repeat itself with the Wildcats winning in Norman. Oklahoma opened as a double-digit favorite, though the line has since dropped to around a touchdown.

It won't be easy, not that it ever is. Oklahoma has already lost to TCU in conference play, and another loss would all but eliminate them from conference title contention. You can rest assured that we will have the Sooners' full attention.

Players to Watch

K-State

Passing: Jake Waters, 93-143-3, 1,206 yards, 8.4 yards/attempt, 7 TDs, 241.2 yards/game

Rushing: Charles Jones, 57 carries, 293 yards, 5.1 yards/carry, 8 TDs, 58.6 yards/game

Receiving: Tyler Lockett, 29 receptions, 399 yards, 13.8 yards/reception, 3 TDs, 79.8 yards/game

Oklahoma

Passing: Trevor Knight, 102-185-5, 1,503 yards, 8.1 yards/attempt, 6 TDs, 250.5 yards/game

Rushing: Samaje Perine, 109 carries, 568 yards, 5.2 yards/carry, 9 TDs, 94.7 yards/game

Receiving: Sterling Shepard, 34 receptions, 714 yards, 21.0 yards/reception, 4 TDs, 119.0 yards/game

That Shepard guy is pretty good. Presumably, he will draw Danzel McDaniel in coverage, which will be a fantastic matchup to watch. K-State's rushing defense is one of the best in the business, and the game plan will almost certainly involve shutting down Perine and Knight on the ground and making Knight beat us through the air. While he hasn't been bad, Knight hasn't taken as big a step forward as many expected.

Oklahoma's defense has looked a little less ferocious the last few weeks than it did early in the year, but the Sooners are still good. In lieu of Lockett having another huge game Saturday, there is legitimate concern on K-State's side about where the yards and points will come from. There's no consistent, established rushing attack. And while Waters is as good or better than last year and Lockett is still Lockett, the passing game hasn't been as fearsome as most had hoped. Curry Sexton has stepped up lately. Let's hope he can better the four passes for 66 yards that he and Tramaine Thompson combined for last year against Oklahoma.

K-State Advanced Stats

F/+: 29th

Offensive S&P+: 46th

Rushing S&P+: 76th

Passing S&P+: 58th

Standard Downs S&P+: 85th

Passing Downs S&P+: 28th

Drive Rating: 55th

Defensive S&P+: 16th

Rushing S&P+: 3rd

Passing S&P+: 34th

Standard Downs S&P+: 17th

Passing Downs S&P+: 13th

Drive Rating: 34th

Oklahoma Advanced Stats

F/+: 4th

Offensive S&P+: 5th

Rushing S&P+: 9th

Passing S&P+: 7th

Standard Downs S&P+: 1st

Passing Downs S&P+: 27th

Drive Rating: 6th

Defensive S&P+: 14th

Rushing S&P+: 10th

Passing S&P+: 19th

Standard Downs S&P+: 8th

Passing Downs S&P+: 36th

Drive Rating: 14th

Oklahoma's only relative weakness on defense is against the pass and on passing downs, which matches up nicely with K-State's strengths on defense. Trevone Boykin threw for 318 yards at 8.4 yards per attempt two weeks ago, and Tyrone Swoopes had his best game to date last Saturday against the Sooners, passing for 344 yards on 7.8 yards per attempt. The Sooners are stout against the run, and K-State is inconsistent, at best, running the ball. It'll be up to Waters and Lockett to keep K-State in this game on offense. Curry Sexton has stepped up lately, and it would be nice to see him exceed the four catches for 66 yards that he and Tramaine Thompson combined for last year against Oklahoma.

K-State is really good against the run on defense, and passing downs have been a losing proposition for K-State opponents. Oklahoma is good at pretty much everything on offense, but their relative weakness has been passing downs. If K-State prevents Oklahoma from establishing the run, then this game will rest on Trevor Knight's shoulder and decision making. That's still not the greatest bet in the world, but it's better than getting run over by Samaje Perine all day.

Prediction

hoped. To put it mildly, F/+ doesn't like K-State in this game. The Sooners have not passed the eye test the last couple weeks against TCU and Texas, and there are legitimate concerns in Norman. But keep in mind that TCU is a very good team this year, and Texas has a very good defense. I pegged this one as a loss before the season and, much as it pains me to do so, I still see it that way.

Oklahoma 33, K-State 24