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OU Football: Sooners invade the Little Apple

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A sea of purple at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, home of the Kansas State Wildcats.
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MANHATTAN, Kan. – After failing to finish off Iowa State two weeks ago, the Oklahoma Sooners nearly let another lead against Texas slip into a second straight loss. One week after a stunning loss to the Cyclones, the Sooners held a 20-0 lead against the Longhorns, but Texas fought back to take a 24-23 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Three plays into the next OU possession, quarterback Baker Mayfield fired a 59-yard touchdown strike to Mark Andrews, who had slipped past the Texas secondary and raced down the sideline for the deciding tally in a 29-24 victory.

This week, the No. 9 Sooners (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) roll into Manhattan, Kansas for a showdown (3 p.m. FOX) with the Kansas State Wildcats (3-3, 1-2). It’s homecoming for the Cats, but if this is any indication of recent games with Oklahoma, the purple-clads will exit Bill Snyder Family Stadium with a bad taste in their mouths. Since 2000, the Sooners own a six-game winning streak in the Little Apple, all double-digit victories—53-21 is the average score of the last four contests in Manhattan.

There is no reason to believe this won’t be another big win for Oklahoma. The Wildcats will be starting their backup quarterback for the second consecutive game. Alex Delton will get the nod to replace Jesse Ertz. Delton was ineffective in a 26-6 loss to TCU last weekend. The Horned Frogs jumped to a 13-0 lead and never looked back. K-State could only manage a couple of field goals in the contest.

Delton completed 11 of 29 passing for 146 yards, and he was sacked twice. The Hays, Kansas sophomore also led the sluggish offense with 39 rushing yards. The Cats had only 216 total yards in the game, their worst output this season.

KSU ranks 91st in total offense (373.8-yard average) and 49th in scoring (31.7). After scoring 55 points each in the first two games against a couple of cupcakes, the Cats have averaged 20 points per outing. K-State’s offense is balanced averaging 187.7 yards on the ground and 186.2 through the air. The Wildcats run the ball 62 percent of the time.

Oklahoma’s defense is better against the run yielding 126.2 yards per game (36th) than defending the pass (241.8 ypg). The Sooners rank 50th by allowing 23.3 points per outing.

OU’s defense, which rarely blitzed against Baylor and Iowa State, turned up the pressure on Texas’ quarterback last week. Although UT’s Sam Ehrlinger rushed for 107 yards, he and Shane Buchele (who spelled him on a few plays) completed a combined 21 of 43 passes. They were hurried eight times and sacked three times.

Oklahoma linebacker Obogonnia Okoronkwo led the defense by logging five tackles, one sack for a loss of nine yards, a forced fumble, a pass breakup and a career-high five quarterback hurries (three of them in the fourth quarter). The senior was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for the effort.

Obo also was named to the USA Today midseason All-American first team along with quarterback Baker Mayfield and tackle Orlando Brown. Andrews was named to the second unit. Three All-Americans on the first unit shows how the Sooners are one of the most potent offenses in the nation. They rank 10th in scoring (42 ppg), third in total yards (575.5 ypg) and fourth in passing yards (377.7). Mayfield leads the country in completion percentage (.727), passing efficiency rating (207.3) and yards per pass attempt (12.03). He's completed 117-of-161 passes this year with 17 touchdowns to just one interception while throwing for 1,937 yards and rushing for 101 yards and another score.

K-State is ranked 39th in scoring defense (21 ppg) and 45th in total defense (362.5 ypg), but the Wildcats haven’t faced an offense of OU’s caliber. TCU is currently 27th in total offense and 11th in scoring. Will Geary leads the Cats with 6.5 tackles behind the line with 3 sacks.

KSU is ranked 15th in turnover margin (+6). The defense has forced 11 takeaways. OU has turned the ball over seven times—six fumbles and Mayfield threw his first interception of the year last weekend. The Sooner have only five takeaways and haven’t logged a defensive turnover since the Baylor game.

Punter Austin Seibert had his best game of the year against the Longhorns. He averaged 47 yards on five punts, and he nailed both field goal attempts. K-State’s D.J. Redd is one of the top return men in the country. He’s ninth nationally in kickoff returns with a 28.5-yard average and 11th nationally with a 14.25-yard punt return average (one TD).

Mayfield has been impressive against the Cats in the last two years. He completed 78 percent of his passes with 9 TDs and 1 INT. Two years ago, OU’s team plane was delayed to Manhattan until midnight, but the Sooners showed no signs of fatigue in a 55-0 victory. Last year in Norman, OU jumped to a 14-0 lead and 24-10 by halftime and coasted to a 38-17 victory last year.

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder is one of the best when scheming against opponents, but he’s lost nine straight against ranked foes and hasn’t defeated a Top 10 opponent since knocking off No. 6 Oklahoma in 2012 (six straight losses to a Top 10 team).

Look for Delton to the call for most carries since the running backs have not been productive with 98.5 yards per game. The Sooners should stay in position and not allow Delton to hit the gaps. K-State isn’t very good at passing, but the OU secondary must stay alert and not get sucked up and beat on the fly.

Oklahoma’s offense must limit mistakes and take care of the pigskin. Mayfield’s passing should open up the running lanes after about a quarter.

 

FAST FACTS

*OU leads the series 74-19-4, including two straight wins.

*OU leads 34-10 in Manhattan, including six consecutive wins.

*OU is favored by 14.

*OU coach Lincoln Riley’s record: 5-1 (.833) overall; 0-0 vs. KSU; 2-0 on the road; 2-1 vs. Big 12 opponents.

*Snyder’s coaching record: 205-108-1 (.654) overall; 8-14 vs. OU; 133-34-1 at home; 119-82-1 vs. Big 12 foes.

*KSU is 4-17 vs. OU on Homecoming.

*OU is 10-6-1 in games played on October 21.

*KSU is 3-13-1 in games played on October 21.

OU and KSU have met four times on October 21; OU leads 3-0-1.

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About the Author

Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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