Week 13 - Oklahoma at Kansas State

Posted Nov 20, 2013

Week 13 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Oklahoma at Kansas State

Oklahoma (8-2) at Kansas State (6-4) Oct. 23 12:00, FOX Sports 1

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Trivia question. Who won the 2012 Big 12 championship? Kansas State went to the Fiesta Bowl, but Oklahoma technically won a share of the fun. While this year's matchup won't have any Big 12 title implications unless Baylor somehow loses its final three games, it'll be a big showdown for the conference's bowl pecking order.

Kansas State has come up with a terrific turnaround after a 2-4 start made it seem like a bowl bid wasn't even on the radar. It took a fight and a great finish to get by TCU last week 33-31, and it came up with a brilliant performance to paste Texas Tech on the road, and with Kansas to finish things up, the chance is there to close out strong to finish 8-4.

Oklahoma hasn't exactly been a huge disappointment – almost no one picked the Sooners to win the Big 12 title – but getting blasted 41-12 at Baylor was a bit of a surprise and the clunker against Texas cast a cloud over the season. Even so, if it's possible to come up with road wins against Kansas State this week and Oklahoma State in two weeks, a 10-2 record is hardly anything to get upset about. It's been a wildly inconsistent team that hasn't been able to find a groove, and while the prospect of a double-digit winning season might seem great, two losses might make this a rough offseason for Bob Stoops.

Why Oklahoma Might Win: As always, time of possession is a huge deal for Kansas State. The Wildcats need to control the ball and the clock with their running game, and they have to be able to keep the opposing offense off the field to make up for the lack of star power on defense. Unfortunately, Oklahoma is just as good at controlling the game, leading the Big 12 in time of possession. The Sooner defense is excellent at coming up with the key stop and getting off the field, and Kansas State's isn't. The Wildcats are normally great on third downs, but they might be in a slew of third-and-long situations against a pass defense that doesn't give up much of anything big to anyone other than Baylor.

Why Kansas State Might Win: The Sooners have gotten better at covering punts over the last two games, but there was only one return from both Baylor and Iowa State. Overall, OU has been giving up massive plays on a regular basis on special teams that tilt the field – ranking 116th in the nation at stopping punt returns – while Kansas State is No. 1 in the country thanks to Tramaine Thompson, who came up with a 34 yarder last week against TCU while helping the team averaged close to 18 yards per try.

Who To Watch Out For: Trevor Knight came up big. It helped that Oklahoma was playing Iowa State, but the offense finally started to show a spark of life again after Blake Bell started 2-of-5 for ten yards and suffered an apparent concussion. Knight might not have done much through the air, throwing for only 61 yards, but he got the job done on the ground with 123 yards and a score on just ten carries. The starter at the beginning of the season, Knight is looking far more comfortable, but he doesn't have the big-time passing ability that Bell can provide when on.

- Kansas State is doing just fine with its two quarterback system. Jake Waters only completed 10-of-24 passes against TCU, but he bombed away for 234 yards while running for 20 more. Daniel Sams came in and ran for 109 yards and a score on 19 carries while completing three of his five throws. The two seem to have found a rhythm, and the offense has been solid.

- There's the Damien Williams we've all been waiting for. The Oklahoma running back was expected to become a more explosive part of the offense this season, but he had been just okay throughout the year. Against Iowa State, that all changed with touchdown runs from 59 and 19 yards away as part of a ten-carry, 128-yard day. Last year he ran just ten times for 34 yards against the Wildcats. Unfortunatley, he and receiver Lacoltan Bester have been suspended for the game and Blake Bell is out with a concussion.

- Kansas State beat OU 24-19 in last season's big 12 opener, but the Sooners had won the previous five meetings since dropping a shocker in the 2003 Big 12 championship. The Wildcats owned the rivalry in the mid-1990s when OU was down, but from until 1971 to 1992, the Sooners had won 21 straight and went on a 32 game run from 1937 to 1968. The two first met in 1914 – a 52-10 Oklahoma win.

What Will Happen: Which Oklahoma team is going to show up? The Sooners haven't played the same type of game twice in a row, and they're different on the road. 6-0 at home and 1-2 away from Norman, with that one win coming against Kansas, OU will be just inconsistent enough offensively to give Kansas State the openings it needs on special teams and with the ground game.

Prediction: Kansas State 30 … Oklahoma 24
Line: Kansas State -3.5 o/u: 54.5
Must See Rating: (5 Tiebreaker – 1 A Medea Christmas) … 3.5
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