The Kansas State football team has faced ranked teams twice this year, against No. 8 Stanford and No.19 Oklahoma. Both times the Wildcats played poorly and both times they left with a loss.
But people say the third time is the charm, and the Wildcats will have their shot at another ranked opponent in No. 18 Oklahoma State, which comes to town this weekend.
The Cowboys (6-2, 4-1 Big 12) will be no easy task. They are coming off a big win against previously undefeated West Virginia, and their offense has really picked up lately.
They are currently 13th in the nation in passing offense and 35th in total offense. Leading the Cowboys’ offense is junior quarterback Mason Rudolph. Rudolph has really hit his stride as of late. He has thrown for 2,532 yards and 17 touchdowns so far this season.
“I think the experience has allowed (Rudolph) to do things extremely poised and make quality decisions,” K-State head coach Bill Snyder said. “The game has slowed down for him, and when that happens, the innate capability that he has comes to the forefront. He has the ability to make good decisions and the poise to go through his reads and progressions and be an accurate thrower.”
Rudolph and Oklahoma State will have to do something that the Cowboys have not done very often: win in Manhattan, Kansas.The Cowboys have won just once in Manhattan since 1988, which came in 2010.
Another thing that doesn’t bode well for the Cowboys is the Wildcats’ ability to win games in November. K-State has won at least half or more of its games in November over the last five years.
“I think that just shows the dedication and toughness that we exemplify here,” junior linebacker Trent Tanking said. “We always are preached to finish and that goes to the whole season. We are reaching the last four games and trying to finish.”
K-State (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) has now won two straight games, but those wins have not come easily. K-State had great starts but had to hold on against both Texas and Iowa State late in the fourth quarter.
“We are not complete,” Snyder said. “I think that is true in all aspects of our game. We have not put together a complete ball game in the running game, passing game, run defense, pass defense and parts of our kicking game as well. At the end of the day, it goes back to being able to put together complete ball games. There is not an area where we have performed quite well in every segment of the offense, defense and kicking game consistently throughout the ball game.”
The Wildcats will try to find some consistency Saturday against the Cowboys. The two teams will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium.