- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
Oklahoma’s running backs against Kansas State rush defense
OU running back Dominique Whaley should return against the Wildcats and Roy Finch was one of the few bright spots last weekend. Whaley is averaging 104.5 rushing yards per game this season and Finch rushed for 93 yards against Texas Tech. If the Sooners chose to use the duo together, they could be a solid combination with Whaley’s physical running style and Finch’s ankle-breaking open field explosiveness.
The Wildcats lead the conference in total defense at 337.1 yards per game thanks in large part to their 93.7 rushing yards allowed per game average. Starting defensive tackles Ray Kibble and Vai Lutui provide 585 combined pounds of beef in the middle providing a strong anchor for K-State’s defense.
KSU quarterback Collin Klein against OU linebacker Travis Lewis
Klein is a run-pass threat who will test the Sooners defense with his feet more often than his arm. He’s averaging 21.57 carries for 95.71 yards per game and attempts just 19.7 passes per game. That’s a good quarter for most Big 12 quarterbacks. It’s a complete 180-degree turn from last week.
Lewis, the Sooners leading tackler, could be the key to stopping Klein. The senior possesses the combination of size, speed, range and anticipation to stop Klein’s ability to run the ball and help make him one dimensional.
KSU kickoff returner Tyler Lockett against OU’s kickoff coverage team
The Sooners' kickoff coverage has been solid this season, allowing just 20.7 yards per return this season. But OU has given up a kickoff return for a touchdown each of the past four seasons including this year. In a potentially close game that could be shortened by Kansas State’s ball control style, one long kick return could change the outcome.
And Lockett could be the guy to do it. The freshman from Tulsa/Booker T. Washington may be looking to make a statement in his first game against a team from his home state. He’s returned kickoffs for touchdowns in the Wildcats last two games and is averaging 46.67 yards per return in six attempts. Kicking to him would be a mistake.
2dBrandon Chatmon and Jake Trotter