Keys to the Game: KSU vs. OU

22 Sep

Let’s cut to the chase today. Oklahoma (2-0) is quite heavily favored over Kansas State (3-0) when the teams meet Saturday night in Norman, where the Sooners are 44-2 against Big 12 competition under coach Bob Stoops. Here is what the Wildcats have to do to have a chance.

1. Get pressure on Landry Jones. Easier said than done, clearly, since this quarterback torched Kansas State last year for 505 yards when Oklahoma defeated the Wildcats 58-17 in Manhattan. The Sooners completed 25 pass plays of 10 yards or more, including seven of 20-plus yards. The Wildcats did not sack Jones once in the 2011 meeting – not particularly surprising since Oklahoma allowed just 11 all season long. However, through two games this year, the Sooners have already given up seven sacks … and the Wildcats have amassed eight over their three non-conference games.

2. Mix it up on offense. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has played his cards close to the vest so far, but you had better believe the playbook will be opening up this week. We’ve seen a significant amount of running back John Hubert already, but the passing game should also get going with a little more of Chris Harper, Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett. Throw in fullback Braden Wilson and tight end Travis Tannahill, and you see the Wildcats have quite a few options should they choose to use them. All in all, it is less predictable than trying to run quarterback Collin Klein every time, which seemed to be the dominant strategy last season.

3. Avoid injuries. With both linebacker Arthur Brown and center B.J. Finney going down in last weekend’s contest against North Texas, keeping everyone healthy is certainly a short-term and a long-term goal. Despite a lack of big-time, four-star or five-star recruits, the Wildcats have solid starters. Their depth leaves something to be desired, however, and the loss of either Brown or Finney could be a fatal blow. Snyder said Tuesday that both should be ready to go this week, but hopefully they are actually as physically well as Snyder would have people believe.

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