K-State will take on No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
In eight games played against the Sooners in Manhattan, the Wildcats lost seven times.
The Wildcats have not beaten the Sooners in Manhattan in seven tries dating back to 1996. Their last matchup in Manhattan in 2017, K-State lost 42-35.
The Oklahoma offense centers around Alabama transfer senior quarterback Jalen Hurts. He is a favorite for the Heisman Trophy and leads the Big 12 in total yards with 397 per game.
Under head coach Lincoln Riley, the Sooners typically use a spread passing offense, but this year they’ve moved the ball on everyone through the air and on the ground with relative ease.
Part of that can be attributed to Hurts’s passing accuracy and running ability. Instead of getting the edge and beating defenses with speed like some rushing quarterbacks, Hurts operates more like a running back when he decides to tuck the ball and take off.
His favorite target is junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb who stands 6-foot-2 and averages 22 yards per carry.
I expect the Sooners to be fairly balanced between the run and passing game this week. They have the talent and scheme to do whatever they want on offense against most conference defenses and their offensive numbers show that.
The defense has generally been a weak spot for Oklahoma in the last few years of Bob Stoops’s tenure and the first year of Riley’s, but new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch flipped the script this year.
They rank first in the Big 12 in total defense and third in scoring defense. They stop the run and the pass equally well.
They run a 4-3 defense with a smart, athletic middle linebacker in junior Kenneth Murray.
The defensive front does a good job of bringing pressure to the quarterback in key situations and plugging up running holes, and they play fast in the secondary.
In their game against Texas, they did a lot of tricky things in pre-snap motion to throw junior Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger off and brought blitzes from different angles and positions.
PREDICTION: Frankly, Oklahoma is really, really good. I don’t think K-State has the talent at most positions to win the one-on-one battles consistently enough to stay in this game — Oklahoma 42, K-State 10.