Wednesday, 05 October 2022
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Regional Sports News
K-State Preview vs. Oklahoma
By Jared Sleppy
Copyright: MSC Sports

Last weekend was a major snapback to reality after Kansas State’s (2-1) 17-10 home loss to Tulane. There was a lot of blaming and finger-pointing from the fans trying to figure out whose fault the loss was. However, the team and the coaches will try their hardest to block out the noise and regroup to get ready for a road game against #6 Oklahoma (3-0).

Looking back at K-State’s loss, issues arose such as offensive coordinator Collin Klein’s poor play calling, quarterback Adrian Martinez’s unwillingness to throw the deep ball, and the offensive line’s struggles.

Klein’s choices of plays could be best described as “vanilla” in last Saturday's loss. Strange shovel passes and shotgun snaps with handoffs to Deuce Vaughn on fourth and short being the ones that stood out the most.

The Wildcats were just 1-for-5 on fourth down conversions and head coach Chris Klieman said that if he had a chance to do it over, he would still go for it.

Klieman wholeheartedly trusts Klein, which is a good thing, but it also has its negatives. Klein is in his first season as an offensive coordinator by himself. In 2018, he was a co-offensive coordinator with former Wildcat wide receiver Andre Coleman and that season did not go too well for that offense.

Klieman will need to guide Klein and help him improve as a coordinator if K-State’s offense wants to succeed. If Klein doesn’t get any guidance and isn’t willing to change things up, what we saw against Tulane will be what we see every week.

The matchup between K-State and Oklahoma has been very competitive the past few years with K-State winning two out of the last three meetings. The margin of victory during those meetings is just 5.3 points.

This Saturday’s game will be the 22nd time in the last 27 years that they have opened conference play on the road.

If the Wildcats want to find success, they will hope to get a good number of rushing yards against a very good OU defensive line. Through three games, the Sooners have allowed just 118.3 rushing yards per game and only 10.0 points per game.

K-State’s offense, however, will be the toughest test for OU’s defense so far this season.

OU’s passing defense is a little bit looser allowing a still solid 194.3 yards per game. If the Cats want a chance in this one, Martinez will have to take some shots downfield. He said he’s ready to step up the plate.

As for the Sooner’s offense, they are led by transfer quarterback Dillon Gabriel who came to Norman after a very good career at UCF. In his freshman season, he led the Golden Knights to a 10-win season and a Gasparilla Bowl win against Marshall.

Sadly, that has been the only season in which Gabriel has been fully healthy as he missed three games his sophomore season and only was able to play in three games last year. Fortunately, he still had his redshirt available, so he is still a junior this season.

Gabriel has been playing his best ball of his career so far with a career-high 178.0 passer rating through three games with the Sooners. He has thrown seven touchdowns and doesn’t have an interception. He has also been throwing deeper passes with 9.7 yards per completion and 11.5 air yards per attempt.

Gabriel has certainly found his favorite target in junior wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. He already has 310 receiving yards (103.3 ypg) with two touchdowns.

They also have a solid ground game led by senior running back Eric Gray. He transferred in from the University of Tennessee before last season and he didn’t get a ton of carries in his first year as a Sooner because he shared the backfield with Kennedy Brooks. He played in every game, but got half of his attempts from his 2020 season with the Vols.

So far this year, however, he is getting the full workload and he has averaged nearly 100 yards per game with two touchdowns. He’s no Demarco Murray or Adrian Peterson, but he’s a solid back for this offense to rely on.

K-State’s defense will have their hands full, but there’s no doubt that they will be up to the task. Their passing defense has been exceptional and is 3rd in the country in defensive passing efficiency (79.68) and 10th in passing yards allowed per game (147.7) with the 2nd most interceptions (7).

The Cats are also 12th in points allowed per game (9.7), 14th in 3rd down conversion defense (25%), 20th in total yards allowed per game (276.0) and tackles for loss (8.0), and 25th in first downs allowed (45).

Kind of a wild stat to end this on that I find fascinating, K-State has not lost a game on September 24th since 1966.

Prediction: Oklahoma 28, K-State 17

©2022 MSC Sports
Hiawatha, KS 66434
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