For the opening weekend of MSF-LaQuinta College Football Road Trip, our esteemed Founding Editor Jerod Morris will be in Norman, Oklahoma courtesy of the fine folks at LaQuinta.
He will be taking in the Big 12 Game of the Week between the #6 Oklahoma Sooners and #15 Kansas State Wildcats. I’ll try not to let my jealousy derail this preview.
And even though he didn’t ask me to go with him (jerk!), I’ll give Jerod some space at the end of the preview to discuss what he’s looking forward to most about this leg of the tip.
But first, let’s discuss the game.
Kansas State at Oklahoma
Both teams enter unblemished, but what is surely in the heads of both sides is the 58-17 shellacking that the then-11th ranked Sooners handed the then-10th ranked Wildcats last season. In fact, the series has been almost all Oklahoma for the last nine years, as OU has won 5 in a row and 8 of 9 overall.
Given how tough the Sooners are at home under Bob Stoops (42-1 in their last 43 games, a gaudy 77-3 overall), Bill Snyder’s team may be hard-pressed to buck that trend.
In last year’s blowout, Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Landry Jones threw for 505 yards and 5 touchdowns, while Kansas State accumulated just 58 yards passing behind the arm of dual-threat quarterback Collin Klein. Klein added 92 yards and two scores on the ground, but it was far too little against Oklahoma’s high-flying passing attack.
This year, things could be a little bit different.
Heisman candidate Landry Jones is looking to have another stellar game against Kansas State.
Let’s look at the keys for each team.
What Kansas State Must Do To Win
Let’s face it: the Wildcats really have their work cut out for them in this game.
In addition to last year’s nightmare at Bill Snyder Stadium being fresh in their minds, Kansas State is facing an Oklahoma team that was off last week, meaning the Sooners have had almost two full weeks of preparation time to perfect a scheme to stop Klein.
There’s also the issue of Kansas State struggling until late in the game in a 35-21 win against North Texas a week ago. The Wildcats turned the ball over twice and only outgained North Texas by 20 yards for the game.
Against Oklahoma, it is imperative that the Wildcats protect Klein. Last year, the Sooners recorded 7 sacks against Klein, which is especially impressive given his ability to move. The line will need to create lanes for Klein to run and give him time to pass.
Kansas State QB Collin Klein needs to have a big game for Kansas State to have a chance to pull off the road upset. (Image via. si.com)
One way they can keep the Sooners’ front at bay is with John Hubert. The junior tailback is averaging 6.9 yards per carry (although 95 of his 296 rushing yards came on a single play vs. Missouri State). If Hubert can have success it will force Oklahoma to change their plan of unending harassment of Klein.
Defensively, the Wildcats have to at least slow down Landry Jones and the Oklahoma passing attack. Even though Sooners’ running back Damien Williams has scored 5 touchdowns and run for 259 yards in just two games, Kansas State must take their chances with the running game beating them as opposed to letting Jones torch their secondary for another record-setting day.
What Oklahoma Must Do To Win
With the absurd home record and recent history, it might seem like Oklahoma simply has to show up to win this game.
Because of last year’s embarrassment, Kansas State will come into Norman looking for redemption and a spot at the table in the discussion of national title contenders. Oklahoma can’t come out flat and expect to trounce this team again.
A very important component of Oklahoma’s success, not surprisingly, is protecting Landry Jones. Last year, Jones wasn’t sacked at all against the Wildcats, and he was only taken down 10 times all year. This year Jones has already been sacked 4 times in two games. The offensive line will have to hold up to allow him time to pick apart the defense.
Damien Williams is averaging a robust 13 yards per carry, but he only has 20 attempts in two games. If I were Bob Stoops I would find some more creative ways to get the ball in the junior’s hands.
Photo: Richard Rowe | US Presswire via usatoday.com
Lastly, Oklahoma should stack the defense against the run. Take away Hubert, limit what Klein can do with his legs, and force him to throw. That philosophy worked to perfection last year, as they turned Klein into a completely one-dimensional, and therefore ineffective player.
Kansas State-Oklahoma Prediction
While it is plausible that Kansas State could exorcise their demons against Oklahoma, I certainly don’t see them doing it in Norman.
I expect Landry Jones to have much success and the Sooners’ defense to bottle up Klein and force a couple of turnovers en route to a fairly decisive win.
Final Score: Oklahoma 38 | Kansas State 24
What do you think? Make your pick in the poll below!
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Three Things Jerod is Looking Forward To
That’s Jerod on the right. Not sure who the guy is on the left…
1. Mostly, I am looking forward to getting the MSF-La Quinta College Football Road Trip kicked off. I’ve been salivating to get on the road ever since the opportunity was presented to me, and Norman is a great place to start. I’ve heard it’s a lot like Bloomington, where I went to school, so I’m thinking I’ll feel right at home.
If you want to follow along with the journey, this weekend, do so here:
2. I’m looking forward to quality time with my little bro Bryce, currently a freshman football at Lewisville High School here in Texas. Though his allegiances have shifted towards Oregon – yes, mostly thanks to the uniforms – Bryce used to cite Oklahoma as his favorite team thanks to Adrian Peterson. Up until this year Bryce played running back and ran with a similar style to Peterson – tough and punishing and fast. His coaches have him focusing more at linebacker this year, but it will still be fun to see where Peterson went to school and hopefully give him a taste of what could be possible for him if he keeps working hard, stays humble and hungry, and gets his work done in the classroom.
3. And finally, I’m looking forward to a good game. We have a great tickets (50-yard line baby!), and it’s been a long time since I’ve been to a college football game as a spectator. I’m expecting a raucous atmosphere, which will make it a fun experience even without a specific rooting interest.
4. And here’s a bonus one: I’ve had a few late nights recently, so I’m also looking forward to comfortable beds and a couple good nights of sleep. I know La Quinta won’t let me down.
Kansas State – Oklahoma Game Info
- Kansas State – Oklahoma Date: Saturday, September 22, 2012
- Kansas State – Oklahoma Kickoff Time: 7:50 PM ET
- Kansas State – Oklahoma Point Spread: Oklahoma -14.5
- Kansas State – Oklahoma Over/Under: 57.5
- Kansas State – Oklahoma TV Info: FOX
Follow me on Twitter @KeithMullett
Image Credits: kansascity.com, usatoday.com, si.com
The post MSF-La Quinta College Football Road Trip Week 1:
#15 Kansas State at #6 Oklahoma Preview and Prediction appeared first on Midwest Sports Fans.