Game preview: Oklahoma at Kansas State
November, 22, 2013
By Brandon Chatmon | ESPN.com
Oklahoma hopes to improve to 5-0 in Manhattan, Kan., under Bob Stoops on Saturday. The Sooners take on the red-hot Kansas State Wildcats in an overlooked but intriguing Big 12 Conference tilt. The Sooners quarterback situation remains unsettled, meaning they don’t know who “the guy” is, but Trevor Knight will get another shot against KSU.
Here are some storylines, players to watch and a prediction:
Can Knight start to cement himself as the No. 1 guy? Quite frankly, this could be the most important question of the rest of the season in Norman, Okla. OU went with Knight to start the season and was willing to deal with some ups-and-downs due to his exceptional upside. Against Iowa State last Saturday, the redshirt freshman looked much more comfortable running OU’s offense. Could he start to show why he took the first snap of the season?
Brett Deering/Getty ImagesOU QB Trevor Knight looked comfortable running the offense against Iowa State, but can he keep it going against a red-hot K-State team?
Will K-State continue to roll? The Wildcats have won four-straight games as they finally have limited the turnovers, penalties and silly mistakes that cost them games early in Big 12 play. They have a plus-six turnover margin during their four-game win streak so if they continue to be optimistic on defense, they could change the game with a turnover or two if Knight makes some mistakes.
Could the chilly weather impact the outcome? Saturday’s forecast is calling for cloudy conditions with highs in the mid-30s. The weather could make it harder for either team to throw, but neither team must pass to move the ball so it may not matter. Regardless, both teams play in the same elements. No excuses.
Players to watch
KSU receiver Tyler Lockett: The Wildcats’ pass catching and return threat has been one of the Big 12’s top playmakers since he arrived at KSU. He has 56 receptions for 825 yards and five touchdowns in nine games this season. He will test OU’s secondary with his quickness, competitiveness and play making ability.
OU linebacker Dominique Alexander: The true freshman has been very solid while replacing senior Corey Nelson at linebacker. But K-State features an assignment-sound, fundamental offense that could take advantage of any small mistake the youngster makes on Saturday. Alexander will need to play with great focus, technique and maturity against a Wildcats offense designed to take advantage of any mental mistake.
KSU quarterback Daniel Sams: His running ability could be the wild card in this game. Sams is a dynamic running threat from the quarterback position, but can throw well enough to make teams pay for focusing on stopping his running skills. Yet, at the same time, he’s made some turnovers that have really hurt the Wildcats this season. He could be the difference, one way or the other.
Kansas State 28, OU 24. The Wildcats are playing too well to watch the Sooners come in and knock them off at home. KSU has found its offensive rhythm, something the Sooners cannot say heading into this game. Ultimately K-State’s sound approach will win out.
Top Returning Players: Big 12
BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35