Kansas State's defense will be tested by something they haven't seen this season...one of the nation's top offenses that can run or pass with equal effectiveness. And yes, I enjoyed finding a picture of Bob getting sacked.
I spent several hours compiling stats, ready to find something deep and complex that would point to a weakness Oklahoma State's offense could exploit, and something simple jumped out that soon brought what I think will be the turning point of the game this week.
Big plays and turnovers.
In five Big 12 games, Kansas State's defense has NOT given up a score (TD or FG) on any drive of 7 or fewer plays.
In four Big 12 games, Oklahoma State has scored 10 of 13 TD's on drives of 7 or fewer plays.
Chunks of yards.
Kansas State rarely gives them up.
Lots of stats don't get your attention:
- KS opponents avg 21 first downs pg...OSU avg's 23
- KS opponents avg 44% 3rd down conversions...OSU avg's 42%
- KS opponents avg 62% completion rate...OSU avg's 63%
But then a couple of other stats do get your attention:
- KS opponents avg 4.8 ypp on 70 ppg...OSU avg's 6.8 ypp on 75.5 ppg
- KS opponents avg 3.4 ypc on 30.8 cpg...OSU avg's 4.6 ypc on 41.5 cpg
- KS opponents avg 5.9 ypa & 9.6 ypc...OSU avg's 9.6 ypa & 15.5 ypc
In fact, the best numbers for any KS opponent are 6.7 ypa & 11.2 ypc...OSU's worst performance was 8.8 ypa & 13.0 ypc.
To revisit the possession statistics at the beginning of this post, the flip side of each is:
- Kansas State allows 4 drives pg of 8+ plays...3 of those (75%) result in a TD;
- OSU avg's less than 4 drives pg of 8+ plays...and less than 1 of those is a TD;
So there you have it.
The Wildcats have yet to face an offense the caliber of Oklahoma State. No other Big 12 opponent brings the dual big play threat that is the balanced attack of the Cowboys, and that is the main reason for the yards per play discrepancies.
Kansas State's two toughest games (OU/TT...not counting WV based on what we've seen) were influenced by 6 total turnovers (3 each). Oklahoma should have beaten the Wildcats, but 2 key fumbles from the QB's swung the score by 14 pts. The Wildcats probably still beat Tech, but that score would have been MUCH closer if not for 2 fumbles and an interception.
And neither of those teams, nor West Virginia, bring the running game spearheaded by the Big 12's leading rusher, Joseph Randle.
That's right. I think you know where I'm leaning.
If OSU is patient, and limits mistakes, they can win this game and it's not a long shot to do it on the offensive side of the ball. King will discuss the defensive effort necessary to pull this off, and Optimus Klein will see to it that the opportunities will be limited, so the Cowboys will have to be very efficient and avoid errors that hand points to Kansas State.
But this game is winnable.
Kansas State is good, but they aren't so good that OSU can't walk out of Manhattan with a win.
And stroll back to Stillwater with the defense of their Big 12 title still in tact.