When #15 Kansas State travels to Norman on Saturday to take on #6 Oklahoma, it may not have the same cache of your classic Big 12 rivalry, but this game will be must-see TV and could end Oklahoma’s national title aspirations.
This game will be the first real test for the Sooners, who have dismantled UTEP and Florida A&M in two relative scrimmages in their first two games before having this past weekend off before entering conference play vs. Collin Klein and the Wildcats.
The Wildcats and Sooners offensive approaches are radically different as far as their quarterback play is concerned. Klein is the throwback player who could play in any era. He is a grinder, physical, looks like a linebacker and hits like one too when he tucks the ball and runs.
Landry Jones is the classic drop-back pocket passer. He is tall, can throw the ball 70 yards in the air and he is extremely immobile, often looking like his feet are stuck in concrete.
The two stark contrasts in quarterback play will be evident Saturday night, but one thing the two teams have in common is their ability to rush the football. Both teams rank inside the top 18 in the country as each average more than 250 yards on the ground.
Defensively, they are equally adept at stopping the run and keeping opposing offenses out of the end zone, with both teams allowing fewer than 14.3 points per game, albeit neither team has faced an offense like they will see Saturday night under the lights in Norman.
I think the blueprint for both teams will be similar and both teams will look to control the time of possession and run the football to keep the other offense off the field. The team that is able to convert on third down and limit turnovers will win the game.
Sounds simple, right?
With the game being in Oklahoma, where the Sooners have had an incredible home-field advantage under head coach Bob Stoops, I am leaning toward the Sooners having enough talent on the perimeter at the offensive skill positions to sneak away with the victory.
If the game were held in Manhattan, I would give the slight edge to the home team, as there is not much difference in the two teams.
These two teams are kicking off conference play in style and don’t count the loser out of being in the conference title mix eight weeks from now in what figures to be a highly competitive conference that has seen six teams ranked at one point this season.
Oklahoma wins 37-31.
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Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.