The ABCs for a Sooner Football Win Over Kansas State


It doesn’t seem to matter what year it is, where you play them or whether it is an up or down year for on-the-field talent, you can always count on a Bill-Snyder-coached Kansas State team to make a game of it, especially when the Wildcats are playing at home. And that is the buzz saw that Bob Stoops and his Sooner football team are headed directly into this weekend.

Since 1990, the year after Bill Snyder took over a Kansas State program that Sports Illustrated once labeled “Futility U” and “America’s most hapless team,” the Wildcats are 137-32-1 in games played at home.

Oklahoma is 5-3 over that time in games played on the road at K-State, with all five of those wins coming after Stoops, a former Kansas State assistant himself, became head coach of the Sooners. As a matter of fact, Stoops was on the Kansas State sidelines for two of the three OU losses at K-State in the 1990s (1993 and 1995).

Oct 18, 2014; Norman, OK, USA; Kansas State Wildcats head coach Bill Snyder speaks with Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops before the game at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

If Oklahoma is to make it six wins in a row on the road at Kansas State, though, it is going to have to find answers to the Sooners’ sad offensive and defensive display in a humbling Red River Showdown defeat to unranked and heavy underdog Texas. You can bet the Kansas State coaches took note of where the Sooners struggled in that game and how it came about.

Finding a winning formula in the House that Bill Snyder built – otherwise known as Bill Snyder Family Stadium – could just be a simple as thinking A-B-C and D.

A – The Sooners need to take advantage of the weapons they have on special teams. True freshman Austin Seibert is averaging 43.8 yards per punt, fourth best in the Big 12, but more important, he is a perfect 8 for 8 in field-goal tries, the best percentage in the conference among placekickers with a minimum of eight field-goal attempts. Oklahoma also needs for kick-return specialist Alex Ross to return to his performance numbers from last season. Ross was third in the nation a year ago, averaging 31 yards per kickoff. He is averaging only 17 yards per kickoff return this season, with a long of just 28 yards.

B – Quarterback Baker Mayfield needs to get it going early against K-State and give the Sooners an early advantage on the scoreboard. The Sooners know they need to shore up some of the protection breakdowns that put Mayfield under pressure and out of rhythm for most of the game against Texas. Look also for the Sooners to go more up tempo than they did against Texas and for Mayfield to get the ball out of his hands faster, which is one of the chief designs of the Air Raid attack.

More from OU Football

C – The Sooners are off to a 4-1 start to the 2015 season, and their season goals are still very much in front of them. They have looked very strong on offense, defensively and on special teams this season, but not on a consistent basis, and it finally caught up with them and cost them a disturbing but deserved loss last weekend. Turnovers and penalties have been put the Sooners behind the chains far too often this season and has been a huge contributor to their Offensive inconsistency and their lapses in execution. Among the chief characteristics of Bill Snyder’s teams are that they are fundamentally sound, highly disciplined in what they do and they do not beat themselves. The Sooners’ lack of consistency thus far is largely of their own doing. That is the good news. The bad news is: If they don’t get it turned around and fast, a season that began with great promise could quickly take a downhill turn into a second consecutive year ending in disappointment and despair.

D – Missed tackles by the OU defense were a primary reason for the success by the much-maligned Texas offense and the Longhorns’ ability to literally run away from the Sooners on a number of rushing plays last weekend. This had not been an issue in OU’s previous four games, and it can’t be against Kansas State, or the Sooners will put themselves in a position to lose a second consecutive game in the regular season for the first time since Stoops’ debut season at Oklahoma in 1999.