K-State fans are coming off an inexplicable loss in a game they shouldn't even have been thinking about winning. But at least we're not Sooner fans, forced to spend a week contemplating an inexplicable loss in a game that shouldn't even have been close. And now two angry and disappointed worlds prepare to collide in Manhattan.
Joining us today to discuss these and other matters is Matt Hofeld, the co-manager of our sister site Crimson and Cream Machine. We don't cross paths a lot, but they do really good work covering their team over there, and it's worth a visit to see what they've been talking about; they've posted a not-insignificant amount of K-State content this week, and nobody there seems to be taking this game lightly at all.
Jon: So, last week happened. What's the biggest complaint from the undoubtedly angry fanbase, and how did that happen?
Matt: Shock and anger were the general reaction after the loss to Texas and that was pretty much followed up with, how did this happen again? Lots of folks were piling on the defense for giving up over 300 rushing yards, and saying that Mike Stoops needed to be shown the door, but the offense was every bit as much at fault as the defense. In a nutshell, you can't get your quarterback sacked six times and expect the offense to succeed.
Jon: Discussions regarding the expiration date on Bob Stoops have always been a favorite topic of sports talk radio in Oklahoma, but it's usually understood to be sort of a ridiculous proposition. Did the Texas loss alter that?
Matt: No, Bob Stoops has done more for the Oklahoma football program since Switzer, but he's done it in a different way. There's no cloud over the program, and there's no embarrassing scandals. The fact that people want to talk about showing him the door actually is a bit of a testimony to how far he's brought the program back around. Losses are never acceptable at OU but there would have been a whole lot more of them if Stoops weren't around.
Jon: There seems to have been a wholesale shift to the air raid, and a parallel lack of substantial action for Samaje Perine. Is that really an accurate take, and if so how's the fanbase reacting?
Matt: I'm not quite sure that Lincoln Riley has figured out how he'd like to use Samaje Perine. It's unfortunate because he isn't able to play up to his full potential but I also think some of the blame needs to be deflected on the offensive line as well. If they can't create holes for him to run through then he's not effective anyway. The fans had been patient with this as long as the Sooners were winning, losing brings about a different reaction.
Jon: Texas ran the ball pretty effectively Saturday. Is that a thing, or did their game plan just take Oklahoma by surprise? Should the Cats just pound the rock?
Matt: Absolutely! Line up and run the dang ball. The success that Texas had came from them being more physical than Oklahoma and I'd be lying if I didn't say it was troublesome. The Longhorns are extremely limited on offense but the one thing that they can do is run the football and they did it pretty much to perfection. Kansas State reminds me a lot of Texas on the offensive side of the ball and I would say they should follow the blueprint laid out by the Longhorns.
Jon: Who are the newcomers and holdovers who've pushed their way into playing time that we need to keep an eye on?
Matt: Well, obviously the offense starts and stops with quarterback Baker Mayfield. Even in the loss to Texas last week he was pretty dang good. New receivers Dede Westbrook and Jarvis Baxter have come in to compliment Sterling Shepard and there have even been a few tight end sightings with Mark Andrews.
On the defensive side of the ball Charles Tapper and Eric Striker are still there. Devante Bond has stepped into a bigger role on the defense but didn't play last week due to injury. Zack Sanchez is still Oklahoma's best cover corner but Jordan Thomas is having a pretty solid season opposite of him.
Jon: Finally, how do you see this one ending?
Matt: Honestly this game scares me to death but Stoops always seems to have the guys ready when they come to the Little Apple. I say that Oklahoma sneaks out with a 34-31 win.
Thanks to Matt for taking time to fill us in on what's going on in Norman. My responses to his questions will be available at Crimson and Cream Machine sometime today.