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Kicking the Tires: Oklahoma State Cowboys

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A cloud of turmoil surrounds K-State as it travels to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

This will be a truncated preview because after yesterday’s news, I have no idea what to expect. K-State was a 21-point underdog even before yesterday’s palace coup. Counterintuitively (maybe) the line has dropped to K-State +19.5.

It’s anyone’s guess where the team and coaching staff’s heads are right now. It’s possible they circle the wagons and take the fight to Oklahoma State. It’s equally likely that the season gets mailed in with a Cowboy romp tomorrow. Your guess is as bad as mine.

Player to Watch

K-State

Passing: Skylar Thompson, 23-42-2, 306 yards, 7.3 yards/attempt, 1 TD, 61.2 yards/game

Rushing: Alex Barnes, 105 carries, 593 yards, 5.6 yards/carry, 5 TDs, 59.3 yards/game

Receiving: Byron Pringle, 24 receptions, 539 yards, 22.5 yards/reception, 3 TDs, 59.9 yards/game

Oklahoma State

Passing: Mason Rudolph, 234-361-7, 3,690 yards, 10.2 yards/attempt, 30 TDs, 369.0 yards/game

Rushing: Justice Hill, 206 carries, 1,198 yards, 5.8 yards/carry, 12 TDs, 119.8 yards/game

Receiving: James Washington, 53 receptions, 1,158 yards, 21.9 yards/reception, 9 TDs, 115.8 yards/game

Remember last week when I told you how ridiculous Will Grier’s passing numbers were? Mason Rudolph’s are even more ridiculous, and he has fewer interceptions. James Washington is well known to us after his 82-yard touchdown reception last year, and Marcell Ateman is right behind him and has a good seven inches in height on our cornerbacks.

All that, and the Cowboys have a 1,000-yard rusher in Justice Hill. An embarrassment of riches, this Cowboys offense.

Defensively, safety Tre Flowers leads OSU with 58 tackles. Cornerback AJ Green has four interceptions, and defensive end Jordan Brailford leads the way with four sacks. This Oklahoma State defense isn’t their best of the last five years by a long shot, but they play with typical Cowboy, uhhh, aggression.

Advanced Stats

K-State Offense vs. Oklahoma Defense

In a game where the K-State defense will have to hang on for dear life, the Wildcats offense will have to show some life to keep things interesting. If it’s going to happen, it will probably arrive via big plays through the air, where K-State is 24th in IsoPPP and OSU’s defense is 95th. The Pokes are relatively solid at stopping the run, and if Thompson is starting at quarterback with Hunter Hall and Byron Pringle (yes, he’s a wide receiver) backing him up, well, K-State probably isn’t going to run the ball much or very effectively.

Special teams is the other area that may keep K-State in this one. The Wildcats are second nationally in field position, and overall their special teams rank ninth by S&P+. Oklahoma State kicker Matt Ammendola boots touchbacks less than 40 percent of the time, so DJ Reed (or whomever is returning kicks) should get some opportunities.

That said, the wind is supposed to blow 500 mph in Stillwater tomorrow, so who even knows?

K-State Defense vs. Oklahoma State Offense

Kill the running game (or try to) and hold on for dear life against the pass? Ready, break!

Conclusion

Sorry to get all defeatist on you. Maybe I’m wrong and K-State is ready to rally in its last two games. But I’m not ready to bet on that.

Cowboys 49, Wildcats 28