K-State Faces Dynamic Oklahoma Offense
Though K-State will enter today's game as the underdog, the last time the Wildcats took on the Sooners in Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Sept. 22, 2012, they traveled home with a 24-19 victory en route to its 2012 Big 12 title.
With K-State undefeated in league play and the Sooners one game back after a 37-33 loss to TCU two weekends ago, today's game could, like it did two seasons ago, play a pivotal role in the outcome in determining this year's Big 12 Champion.
"We can play with anyone, and we know that," said K-State quarterback Jake Waters. "It takes great practice, great preparation and going in and executing during the game. We know that anyone can beat anyone, it all depends on how you execute and if you see things and eliminate the mistakes. We are going to have to play a great game to beat Oklahoma."
The Sooners will be returning home after a 31-26 win over Texas and three consecutive games away from home (at West Virginia and TCU, and vs. Texas in Dallas). Since Oklahoma hasn't played in front of its home crowd since Sept. 13, Kansas State fully expects a loud, exciting environment today.
"I know at Oklahoma, their fans are going to have a huge impact on the game," said senior linebacker Jonathan Truman. "It's going to be loud and it's going to be rocking, but it should be fun."
Heading into today's game, perhaps the toughest challenge K-State will face will be the dynamic offense the Sooners are capable of executing. While the Wildcat defense has overcome elite running teams such as Auburn and UTEP, and a talented passing team like Texas Tech, the Sooners have among the most versatile offenses in the nation.
"They are very balanced," K-State head coach Bill Snyder said about Oklahoma's offense earlier this week. "Their numbers would tell you exactly the same thing. You better be able to cover the pass and defend the run. They could have two or three guys at running back who can be effective in that regard. Trevor Knight poses that question as a running quarterback and that creates more diversity in what they do. The more diversity that you have, the more effective you are in your offense."
Led by Knight, who owns a 10-1 record as the Sooners' starter, Oklahoma has scored 30 points or more in 10-consecutive games. Oklahoma boasts the Big 12's second-best rushing offense (191.0 yards per game) due to running back Samaje Perine's 94 yards per game, which is also second best in the Big 12. While Knight and Perine are enough to put an opposing defense to work, wide receiver Sterling Shepard ranks second in the Big 12 with 119 receiving yards per game.
"They're very balanced; everything they do, they do well," said Truman. "They can run the ball when they want to run the ball, and they can pass when they want to pass. Their quarterback can run and scramble anywhere he wants to at any given time. I think with the way that they're so balanced, that will be a good challenge and a great opportunity for us."
While the K-State defense looks at the Oklahoma offense as tough to beat, the Oklahoma offense will do the same about K-State's defense. A tough, gritty bunch, the Wildcats are the Big 12's leader in rushing defense by allowing only 81.4 yards per game this year.
The Wildcats' key to defensive success so far? It just does what it does. It plays its own game and plays it well.
"It's a great opportunity for us to improve our preparation," continued Truman. "If we can stop the points on the board, that's huge. We just need to do what we need to do to win."
Coming off of a bye week, the Wildcats have had a little extra time to prepare for the Sooners. Rested, prepared and ready to go, K-State has nothing holding it back as it heads into today's tough Big 12 matchup.
"They are physical, they are tough, and they have a tradition of winning at home all of the time," said sophomore fullback Glenn Gronkowski. "It is definitely going to be a tough game; we know that and we are preparing for that. To go out there and play a team like that and get a win, that would be awesome."
For everything you need to know about today's game, check out Wildcat Gameday by clicking here: www.kstatesports.com/gameday.