K-State football opens conference play this Saturday against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The Wildcats are coming off a bye week that junior quarterback Joe Hubener said came at a beneficial time; the extra week allowed K-State to study Oklahoma State while the Cowboys were focusing on Texas.
“I think the week for us has been productive,” head coach Bill Snyder said at a press conference. “We’ve truly invested a lot of time and effort to try to improve in the obvious areas.”
One aspect Snyder wants the team to improve on is forcing turnovers.
“We haven’t created enough turnovers regardless of how they might come up,” Snyder said.
K-State is yet to make an interception this season. Junior Linebacker Will Davis believes that the Oklahoma State game will present an opportunity for interceptions.
“Anytime you have an offense like Oklahoma State who’s not afraid to throw the ball around, it is going to give us opportunities,” Davis said at a press conference. “We are looking to get one and hopefully change the momentum of a game.”
Oklahoma State’s sophomore quarterback, Mason Rudolph is ranked in the top 10 nationally in passing yards and yards per pass attempt. Rudolph is also ranked in the top 20 in passing yards per completion, passing yards per game and passing efficiency.
“He doesn’t get rattled and has pretty good poise and seems to go through progression well,” Snyder said of Rudolph. “He’s just a good quarterback.”
Senior defensive tackle Travis Britz will look to create turnovers on the running game.
“When we get the ball carrier wrapped up, we’re going to go for that ball, punch it out and do anything we can to get more turnovers,” Britz said at a press conference. “You’ve got to consciously think about what you’re doing when creating turnovers.”
Britz sees the Big 12 opener as a way to measure where the team is at. He said the defense is hungry to return to Big 12 play and see where they stack up against Oklahoma State.
K-State will look to shut down an offense that has ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring offense, yards per play, total offense and passing offense since 2010.
“With these offenses scoring 50-plus points, (forcing turnovers) is just something that we need to do in order for us to get off the field and give the offense another chance to score,” Britz said.
K-State will look to slow down Oklahoma State’s up-tempo style of play by maintaining possession of the football. Coach Snyder said time of possession is usually in K-State’s favor based on patience when snapping the football.
Snyder said being able to avoid the three-and-out and get the first down is what makes possession time valuable.
“It gets them out of their rhythm,” Hubener said at a press conference. “The less they have the ball in their hands the less they can score. If we control the time of possession, they’re not getting as many opportunities.”
Oklahoma State leads the series with Kansas State 37-24. The Cowboys have won their last four games when facing the Wildcats in Stillwater and hold a 20-9 edge.
Britz is not letting the idea of playing Oklahoma State on the road get to him.
“You can’t get over-hyped about anything,” Britz said. “You can’t take anything for granted. It’s going to be interesting to see what we respond to this week.”