Oklahoma football: Four story lines for Saturday’s game at K-State

The last time an Oklahoma football team traveled to Manhattan, Kansas, to play Kansas State the week following the Red River Showdown game with Texas, the Sooners rolled 55-0.

In fact, Oklahoma is 16-1 since 2000 the week after playing Texas. That one loss incidentally came against Kansas State, 31-30 in Norman, three seasons ago. The Sooners and K-State have played each other five times over that time frame, including each of the last three seasons.

The Sooners are 4-1 against Kansas State since 2000 the week following the Texas game. All of those games came under Bob Stoops, who coached for five seasons under K-State head coach Bill Snyder, from 1989-95, the last five as defensive coordinator.

Stoops was 10-2 against his former employer in the Sunflower State, but Stoops is gone from the Sooner sidelines and it is Lincoln Riley who is making the trip to Kansas State this weekend as the new head coach of the Sooners.

Oklahoma is 74-19-4 all-time against Kansas State in football. That is tied for the second most wins by the Sooners against any opponent. Seven of K-State’s 19 wins against OU have come in the Bill Snyder coaching era. Oklahoma has won eight of the last 10 games between the two schools, including the last six played at Kansas State.

The two K-State wins over the Sooners in the last decade were on the road in Norman, where Oklahoma has lost just 10 times in the last 113 games.

OU’s series dominance over Kansas State, particularly in this century, is a key story line setting the backdrop for Saturday’s game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in the city they call the Little Apple (the game will be televised nationally by FOX, with Gus Johnson doing the play by play and Joel Klatt as the color commentator).

Here are three other prime story lines surrounding this game:

  • OU’s consecutive-game road winning streak: The Sooners have won 18 of their last 19 games against Big 12 opponents. That includes 12 consecutive Big 12 wins in true road games (away games not played on a neutral field) and 13 consecutive true road wins overall. The Sooners 13 consecutive true road victories is tied with Alabama for the longest active such streak in the country and represents the third longest in Oklahoma football history. Additionally, Sooner quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is 2-0 against Kansas State has never lost a true road game as the OU starting quarterback.
  • Stay on the field on offense; get off the field on defense: There is no question that the Oklahoma offense (which ranks in the top-five nationally in at least 10 offensive categories) is superior to the Kansas State offense. But this game won’t be about offensive production as it will about which team plays the best on defense. Kansas State’s game plan against the Sooners will be ball control, sustaining drives on offense and shortening the game. Bill Snyder want to keep the OU defense on the field, which keeps Mayfield and the explosive OU offense off the field. The problem is, Kansas State is 116 out of 120 FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) teams in first downs per game and 90th in the country in total offense.
  • Weather: The weather forecast for Saturday afternoon in Manhattan, Kansas, call for a 100 percent chance for rain and thunderstorms, which puts the weather more in control of the game’s outcome than the players on the field. The probability of turnovers increases dramatically with the wet ball. The team and individuals who adjust the best to the sloppy and wet conditions will be in the best position to win the game. Unfortunately for OU, bad weather conditions on the road play more to Kansas State’s favor than they do for the Sooners. The game last week at K-State between the Wildcats and TCU was delayed by a couple of hours at the start and endured a second lightning delay in the second half.