89 — Bob Stoops’ home win total in 16 seasons at Oklahoma
Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma has been a deathtrap for opposing teams for nearly two decades under head coach Bob Stoops. In fact, you can count on one hand the times Oklahoma has lost at home since 1999, Stoops’ first year.
At just over 82,000 seats, Memorial Stadium is big enough to intimidate and small enough to make opposing teams feel like the crowd is breathing down their necks. That’s why when K-State pulled off a major upset in 2012 over the then-sixth-ranked Sooners, so many around the country began to call the Wildcats National Title contenders.
Turnovers played a major part in that 24-19 K-State win two years ago, and will likely be a deciding factor Saturday in front of another packed house.
127 — Oklahoma’s average rushing yards in their last two games
Oklahoma’s typical two-pronged offensive attack has been limited in their last two games due to their inability to consistently run the ball. The Sooners racked up a mere 103 yards on the ground last weekend against Texas, 30 of which came on one run by a wide receiver. A week prior, Oklahoma rushed for 151 yards in a 37-33 road loss against TCU.
With a first-year back running behind a laboring offensive line, it’s no surprise the Sooners have stumbled out of the gate in conference play, especially against two of the conference’s best defenses. K-State has shown the ability to stop the run this season, so expect Saturday to be “gut-check time” for the Oklahoma rushing attack.
3 — Number of teams K-State has held under 70 rushing yards this season
Through five games, K-State has faced the No. 14-ranked rushing offense and the No. 15-ranked leading rusher in the country (who was ranked fourth prior to facing K-State). Yet, the Wildcats are only giving up — what seems like — a microscopic average of 81.4 yards per game. That’s good for fourth-best in FBS, in case you weren’t aware.
To say this K-State defense is good at stopping the run would be an understatement. It’s downright dominating. Auburn was held to their worst rushing total since head coach Gus Malzahn took over the program prior to last season. Stephen F. Austin, UTEP and Texas Tech rushed for 69, 59 and 46 yards, respectively.
As the last entry shows, if you can stop Oklahoma’s running game, there’s a good chance you’ll still be in the game in the fourth quarter with a chance for glory. That may be all K-State needs to pull out a big road win.
714 — Junior wide receiver Sterling Shepard’s total receiving yards through six games
K-State fans often boast about their star-studded senior wide receiver, Tyler Lockett. Sooner fans do the same, only for Sterling Shepard.
The Oklahoma junior is off to a hot start, averaging 119 yards a game. Shepard may only have four touchdowns, but that’s hardly alarming when he’s coming up big in big-time games — his 215 yards against TCU being one example.
Unfortunately for Oklahoma, Shepard has been about it when it comes to receiving. The next four receivers combine for just 651 receiving yards and two touchdowns. So far Shepard has done well with the bullseye on his back, but defenses will find a way to slow him down at some point this season. This has everyone in Norman asking: Who will step up then?