Kansas St. Wildcats began the 2011 season with nothing to talk about in a 10-7 win over Eastern Kentucky. After this dismal performance, no one could fathom what was about to take place. Led by a powerful and strong running quarterback in Collin Klein, KSU stunned the Miami Hurricanes on the road and never looked back. The end result was a 10-win season and national respect.
This year, Kansas St. is heading to play Big XII favorite, the Oklahoma Sooners, in a highly anticipated game. The Wildcats steam rolled Miami by putting up 52 points on 498 total yards with 288 coming from the rushing attack. They followed it up with a trap game as they began to look toward Oklahoma a bit too early. The Sooners have welcomed their off week as prep time but there is still room for concern.
Heading into the game, Kansas St. is averaging 251.67 yards per game on the ground behind QB Collin Klein (70 yards per game) and RB John Hubert (98.67 yards per game). Make no mistake, this is a dangerous tandem that thrives on the zone read and is able to execute consistently.
The wrinkle that Bill Snyder will be throwing in this season is allowing Klein to toss the ball around more often. Those who are used to seeing this kid tuck the ball and run may be in for a bit of a surprise. While the most prevalent option for Klein last season was the run, he currently has more passing attempts (59) than rushing attempts (46) this season. Of course, this trend could change in less than a few seconds notice as ball protection will be key against top tier opponents.
On the flip side of the coin sits Oklahoma who has given up 134 rushing yards per game to the tune of 4.19 yards per carry to what most would say has been sub-par competition. This will be one of the biggest and most physical offensive lines the Sooners will face this season. If OU is unable to string together four sound defensive quarters, this could be one in which the Wildcats run wild yet again.
Changing sides of the ball, Oklahoma has had great talent along the offensive line for several years. The problem with the O-Line is that they need to be great as a unit, not necessarily as individuals. This is a position that is heavily dependent upon forming a cohesion, if you will, between all involved in the most important job, keeping the QB's jersey clean.
This season, through two games, the Sooners have given up a total of six sacks. When compared with the 2011 offensive line which gave up a total of 11 sacks, a concern begins to arise. This is a talent group, yet the mix up of positions has left them playing underneath their potential. Pass protection is going to be key heading into Saturday as Kansas St. has shown they are susceptible to an air raid and have yet to see a QB the caliber of Landry Jones. Don't get too excited though KSU fans as the Wildcats have recorded seven sacks through three games and have not been able to hurry the QB a single time this season.
This is a game that will be a tell all sign of where the Sooners currently stand on both offense as well as defense. The panic button is close by but has not been pushed as of now.