OU vs. Kansas State: Where the Advantages Lie


The main billing reads OU vs. Kansas State, but Saturday’s Big 12 matchup in the Little Apple on the Kansas plains comes with several intriguing story lines.

Saturday will mark the third consecutive week Kansas State will face a ranked Big 12 opponent, and two of those opponents have been from the state of Oklahoma. The Wildcats came up just short of stealing wins in their two previous outings, and this weekend they turn their sights to the country’s 19th ranked team, the Oklahoma Sooners, in hopes that the third time this season going up against a top-25 team will be charm.

Oct 3, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners defensive end D.J. Ward (87) carries the ball after a fumble recovery against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the fourth quarter at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma leads the all-time series 72-19-4 and has won the last five times the game has been played in Manhattan. Since Bob Stoops, a former Kansas State assistant, became the OU head coach, the Sooners are 8-2 vs. Bill Snyder and the K-State Wildcats.

Here is how we see the 96th meeting all time between these longtime conference opponents breaking down on offense, defense and special teams:

When the Sooners Run the Ball

Last season, Oklahoma led the Big 12 in rushing offense, averaging 261 yards per game, half of which was supplied by then-freshman running back Samaje Perine. The Sooners have not been nearly as potent running the football this season. They are seventh in the conference in rushing this season, averaging 100 yards less on the ground than a year ago, even though they have two highly talented running backs to call upon in Perine and redshirt freshman Joe Mixon. Kansas State’s strength defensively is stopping the run. The Wildcats lead the conference in rushing defense, allowing opponents just 105 yards per game. Shapes up as another difficult week for the Oklahoma run game. Advantage: Kansas State

When the Sooners Pass the Ball

Oct 3, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) looks to pass against West Virginia Mountaineers linebacker Shaq Petteway (36) at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma starting quarterback Baker Mayfield is an ideal fit for new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley’s Air Raid offense. The Sooners are averaging 329 passing yards per game, 14th best among FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) teams, and they are going up against a Kansas State pass defense that yields almost 300 yards per game. This is a mismatch that heavily favors the Sooners. Advantage Oklahoma

When Kansas State Runs the Ball

Kanas State runs the ball 65 percent of the time. When the Cats run the ball, they average 4.1 yards per rushing attempt and 180 yards per game. That’s only seventh best in the Big 12, but the good news for the Wildcats is that Oklahoma is the eighth worst in the conference at defending the run game. The Sooners have given up 311 and 197 yards on the ground to Texas and West Virginia, respectively, in their last two games. Bill Snyder likes to run the ball and play ball control. Unless OU can show it can stop quarterback Joe Hubener, K-State’s leading rusher, and running backs Charles Jones and Justin Silmon, the Sooners are going to see plenty of it on Saturday. Advantage Kansas State

When Kansas State Throws the Ball

Oct 10, 2015; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Joe Hubener (8) drops back to pass during a 52-45 loss to the TCU Horned Frogs at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats don’t really like to put the ball in the air, but when they do they have been fairly effective this season, despite losing their quarterback (Jake Waters) and their two leading receivers (Curry Sexton and Tyler Lockett) from a year ago. Joe Hubener is completing just 47 percent of his pass attempts, and it won’t get any easier going up against a much-improved OU pass defense that ranks 20th in the country through five games in 2015. The Sooners will do their best to make K-State one dimensional on Saturday. Advantage Oklahoma

Special Teams

Both teams have outstanding placekickers in Austin Seibert of Oklahoma and Jack Cantele of K-State. Between the two of them, they have connected on 16 of 17 field-goal tries so far this season. K-State’s Morgan Burns leads the conference in kick returns, averaging 31.7 yards per return. The Sooners have their own burner in the kick-return department. Senior Alex Ross had the third-best kick-return average nationally last season, but his kick-return numbers are down quite a bit so far this season. Both teams are very comparable in punting and on the receiving end of punts. No Advantage 


Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder is the dean of Big 12 football coaches and annually gets more from less than any other coach in the conference. Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops spent seven seasons as an assistant at K-State under Snyder. He has been at OU now for 17 seasons and is the winningest football coach in one of the country’s premier college programs. These are two excellent college football coaching staffs. No Advantage