The Oklahoma Sooners look to keep the momentum going against the Kansas State Wildcats, and here to preview OU’s opponent is Jon Morse of Bring On the Cats.
1. There was hope that Adrian Martinez would benefit from the change of scenery, but he had his struggles against Tulane. What seems to be holding him back?
I obviously can’t speak to his headspace, but it sure looks like fear. Martinez had a reputation for taking too many risks which led to turnovers at Nebraska. He hasn’t turned the ball over yet at K-State, but he’s also flat refusing to throw downfield on obviously designed passing plays when he’s got receivers open.
In his post-game press conference and early week availability, Chris Klieman openly addressed this, saying they have to get him to “let ‘er rip” and if he makes a mistake he makes a mistake. So we’ll see how that works out going forward.
2. OU fans are obviously acquainted with Deuce Vaughn, but what other skill position player do you think has the best chance to make an impact on Saturday?
Malik Knowles is the most talented player on the team over 5’7”. Of course, y’all are already familiar with him too since he’s been here since the Carter administration.
3. Defense clearly hasn’t been an issue. What’s been the biggest key to success on that side?
I could go on for days about this one. The first reason is the obvious one: K-State had a great defensive line last year, great linebacking last year, great corners last year. Pretty much all of them are back this year.
The key for the coaching staff, however, is that having to completely reload at safety — four transfers or freshmen on the two-deep and two former backups — has worked out perfectly. Cincere Mason and TJ Smith are the holdovers, but Kobe Savage, Josh Hayes, Drake Cheatum, and VJ Payne have all been fantastic.
K-State’s always been known for forcing turnovers, of course, but seven interceptions in three games? That’s pretty hot.
4. Speaking of the defense, which player should OU fans keep an eye on as they watch the game this weekend?
Gosh, so many. The most impactful player is Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who will spend the whole game in OU’s backfield if he’s not handled. But if he IS, then Eli Huggins is going to spend the whole game there, so it’s going to be an annoying experience.
5. We’re a year out from the 2021 announcement of OU and Texas heading to the SEC. Are K-State fans feeling better about the future than they were at this time last year?
I mean, K-State fans seemed to have the feeling we’d be fine regardless of what happened, one way or another. I think we mostly blamed UT for the defection, and anger toward OU was more anger at losing the rivalry, which has actually been a very good one for the last 30 years. We’re 10-14 against OU in that span, more wins than any other original Big 12 member except Texas... who has one more win despite getting to play OU every year from 1996-2010 instead of twice every four.
I know OU fans don’t view K-State as a “rival” in the sense they do Texas and OSU and that’s understandable, but it’s going to be a real shame to lose this game after OU leaves.
6. Say one nice thing about the University of Oklahoma.
I have been to a game at Owen Field, and the experience both within and outside the stadium is fantastic. Having Campus Corner right there is a blast, and contrary to how they sometimes behave online OU fans were exceptionally friendly to us.
Shame K-State picked that game to get railed like it was 1985, but that was the “wait we don’t have a quarterback” year, so...
7. How do you see this playing out? Does K-State have a real chance of pulling another upset in this series?
Between Martinez’s struggles and the Wildcat defense, this may be the lowest-scoring K-State/OU game we’ve seen in a long while. I can’t predict the outcome, because if Klieman and Klein can get Martinez to loosen up the offense might open up. I think there’s a better chance of K-State blowing OU out than the reverse, but I think there’s an even better chance of OU winning a low-scoring affair.