When the Wildcats take the field at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday, their opponent will be the best team on the Wildcats’ schedule: Oklahoma.
Still, head coach Chris Klieman does not want to focus on the mismatch they face against Oklahoma.
“I learned a long time ago [to] be careful about over-emphasizing one team than another because if you do that, ‘Oh, this is our Super Bowl, we have to get it done,’ then what do you do the next week?” Klieman said.
While the Wildcats will not focus on how talented Oklahoma is or make this game any more important than the others, Klieman said he is certainly aware of the Sooners’ success this season.
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“What Oklahoma’s doing is unbelievable — what they’re doing against everybody and the success they’re having,” Klieman said. “When you turn on the explosive play tape it just goes and goes and goes because they have a tremendous scheme, guys that understand the scheme and … they are executing it.
Klieman has upset teams that were more talented — or at least had more scholarship athletes — than his own at North Dakota State.
In 2013, Klieman was the defensive coordinator on a North Dakota State team that came into Manhattan and beat a Kansas State team that went on to go 8-5.
As head coach in 2016, Klieman put together a 23-21 road upset of a ranked Iowa team that would also finish 8-5.
K-State players are aware of this match-up’s importance.
“We’re going to have a lot of eyes on us, it’ll be a good opportunity for us to kind of show what we’re capable of versus a very good team,” junior quarterback Skylar Thompson said. “It has our whole team excited.”
This week’s game will be nationally televised on ABC in the early kickoff window at 11 a.m.
The Wildcats sit at 4-2 on the year with a good chance to get to a bowl game regardless of how the Oklahoma game shakes out.
“We don’t really have anything to lose going into this game, so that kind of takes some weight off of our shoulders,” Thompson said. “We’re going to have to perform at a really high level.”
K-State’s game against Oklahoma will be the last of three-straight home games. After Oklahoma, the football team will take on instate rival Kansas in Lawrence.