The #14 Kansas St. Wildcats make a return trip to Norman to face the #11 Oklahoma Sooners in what should prove to one to remember. In 2012, Bill Snyder led the squad into what many considered to be the toughest place to play and escaped with a 24-19 win. Can the Wizard pull off an upset once again over Bob Stoops?
Oklahoma Sooners Keys To Victory
Run The Ball
Oklahoma has been exposed as a team that must run the ball in order to be successful on the field. Over the past three games, opposing programs have stacked the box and dared Trevor Knight to throw consistently. Unfortunately, the idea has proved to be effective more times than not. Once again, the expectation this weekend is for Kansas St. to follow suit by daring Knight to continuously throw the ball.
There are multiple factors working in the Wildcats favor this go around. First off, the Sooners most versatile running back, Keith Ford, continues to watch from the sideline due to an injury. That leaves a speedster, Alex Ross, and a power back, Samaje Perine, to split duty in the back field. The potential to attack the edges with Ross remains a possibility but has yet to be seen.
Secondly, KSU plays a disciplined style of football rarely giving in to mental lapses during the game. The mental toughness contributes to a defense that gives up a mere 2.75 yards on the ground per carry. If any opponent attempts to consistently run between the tackles without utilizing the stretch play, the afternoon becomes a long unproductive one. Make no mistake, Kansas St. has faced an offense very similar to OU's in the Auburn Tigers. Needless to say, Auburn struggled to pull away and should have lost that game in Manhattan.
Contain Jake Waters
Previously mentioned at CCM, the Sooners most unimpressive defensive games have come against mobile quarterbacks. This weekend, another one comes to town in Jake Waters who currently leads the Wildcats in rushing yards and passing yards. The challenge then becomes, how do you keep Waters in the pocket?
A secondary cannot expect to cover receivers for long periods of time. With the ability to extend the play, Waters' receivers eventually open up and cause damage when they do. That's not to say the junior quarterback proves ineffective when dropping back to throw the ball. KSU still possesses a Lockett on the roster and racks up 255 yards per game through the air.
Limiting on aspect of Waters' game may very well decide the outcome of the game.
Convert On 3rd Down Opportunities
Over the past two games, Oklahoma has converted a mere 8-of-29 attempts on third down. Simply put, that is not a recipe for success. It comes down to play calling on first and second down as the Sooners find themselves all too often in third an long.
As opposing teams have come to know, Coach Snyder is more than willing to play the field position game...especially against a struggling offense.