K-State football will fight tempo with tempo against Oklahoma State

Former defensive back Duke Shelley blocks a Cowboys player during the K-State football game against Oklahoma State in Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Oct. 13, 2018. The Wildcats defeated the Cowboys 31-12. (Emily Lenk | Collegian Media Group)

When Kansas State’s football team heads to Stillwater, Oklahoma, this weekend they will embark on head coach Chris Klieman’s first Big 12 season.

The Cowboys will also be the first truly high tempo spread offensive team the Wildcats face this season.

While the Wildcats have certainly restructured practices to help get ready for the tempo, they have another weapon against fast-paced offenses: slow offense.

The idea is pretty simple, the longer junior quarterback Skylar Thompson and his offense is on the field, the less time the defense is out there and the more rest they get against an offense designed to tire them out.

“I think that’s going to be the message all year: ‘How much of that play clock can we control on offense?’” senior offensive lineman Scott Frantz said at Tuesday’s press conference.

This should be a familiar thing for K-State fans. Running down the play clock until the home crowd counts down the last seconds before snapping the ball has become a hallmark of K-State football over the last few years.

The concept has worked for K-State so far. K-State has the ninth most efficient offense in the nation, according to ESPN’s efficiency rankings.

The Wildcats are tenth in the nation in average time of possession, holding the ball for 34:53 on average. Against Bowling Green, another hurry-up no-huddle offense, K-State held the ball for nearly 43 of the game’s 60 minutes.

To be clear, Oklahoma State is a far better football team than Bowling Green. The Cowboys are more talented on both sides of the ball, have better schemes and will put up points.

That clock domination comes primarily from the fact that K-State ran the ball on nearly 70 percent of their plays this season and completed almost 65 percent of their passes.

As long as those plays end in the field of play, the Wildcats can huddle up and run the clock down and keep some of the high flying offenses off the field.

“Big 12 offenses are very good and they like to throw the ball around,” Frantz said. “So if we can control the clock game in and game out, I think we are going to be very successful this year.”

Keeping the offense on the field and the defense healthy and rested will be a key to preventing big plays and winning games this season for K-State.

Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, a graduate student from Olathe, Kansas, working on a Masters in Mass Communication. I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. This is my fourth year covering K-State sports for the Collegian.