Running Game Vital for Kansas State Wildcats vs Oklahoma Sooners

By Tyler Brett
daniel sams
Jasen Vinlove – USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas State Wildcats have won four straight games to get bowl eligible in 2013 as they have finally found their offensive identity in the second half of the season. This week, they face their biggest challenge since losing 35-25 to the Baylor Bears when they welcome the Oklahoma Sooners to Manhattan. If the Wildcats hope to keep their winning streak rolling, they need to get their running game on track early.

The Sooners have two losses on the season and both came against strong running games that made the Oklahoma defense look terrible. Both the Texas Longhorns (No. 4 rushing team in Big 12) and Baylor (No. 1) were able to carve up the OU defense on the ground, control the pace of the game and roll to easy victories. K-State is the No. 3 rushing team in the Big 12 so they have the formula to be a major headache for the Sooners this weekend.

That means that Oklahoma should prepare for a healthy does of Daniel Sams and John Hubert. The quarterback-running back duo have each carried the ball 143 times this year with Sams leading the team with 784 yards rushing with 11 touchdowns. Hubert is right behind him with 731 yards and eight rushing touchdowns as each are averaging over five yards per carry this season. Even “throwing” quarterback Jake Waters is dangerous with legs, gaining 296 yards this season on 88  carries with four touchdowns on the ground.

Oklahoma has shown themselves to be susceptible to the run this season, especially since injuries started gutting the interior of their defense. Texas and Baylor each racked up 255 yards rushing against OU, averaging 4.25 and 4.72 yards per carry respectively as they scored four combined rushing touchdowns. Over the last four games (all wins), Kansas State has averaged 207 yards per game and 4.84 yards per carry while scoring 11 rushing touchdowns. In short, they’re going to be a handful for the Sooner front seven to slow down.

Kansas State has found a recipe for success by achieving offensive balance and minimizing turnovers with a strong running game. Can Oklahoma find a way to slow the Cats down on Saturday or will K-State just keep rolling?

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