It’s week nine of the weekly post where the points don’t matter. This week Oklahoma State heads to the Little Apple to face the fighting Bill Snyders. (side note: does Kansas State get as jacked about Snyder’s outfit choices as we do our uniforms?)
In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the rules: Every week, each writer picks the player they think will be the MVP on offense, defense, and special teams for OSU and their opponent. If a player has the best game out of those chosen, the writer who picked him gets a point. We’ll keep track of the points through the season.
Here’s a look at the standings after last week:
Cade - 25 points
Phillip - 22 points
Dustin - 20 points
Joel - 19 points
Christopher/Kyle - 17 points
Cade’s 5 point performance helped him take the lead and put some space between himself and the rest of the players. We all need to step up our game.
On to this week’s picks
O - Mason Rudolph | D - Chad Whitener | ST - Zach Sinor
Offense: Kansas State is stout against the run, giving up only 102 yards a game on the ground. Similar to last week, I think the offense is going to rest on the shoulders of Rudolph, who has shown he can carry the team this season.
Defense: Whitener is (quietly) putting up a stellar season. He currently leads the defense win total and solo tackles. He may not make the eye-catching plays of Vincent Taylor and Jordan Burton, but he’s been solid recording at least 5 tackles a week since week three of the season.
Special Teams: I’m not making the same mistake again. Nothing against Grogan, but Sinor has been a STUD this season. I don’t expect that to change this week.
O - Jesse Ertz | D - Jordan Willis | ST - Byron Pringle
Offense: The OSU secondary looked solid against West Virginia. I fear it will return to form on the road this week and give up some big passing plays (looking at you Ramon Richards). That’s why I’m picking Ertz. After one bomb, he’ll have more room to run. Since he leads the team in rushing yards, I have a feeling he’s going to be the second coming of Montell Cozart (jk... kind of).
Defense: Sticking with my belief in players who get in the back field, Willis has 11.5 TFL (!!!) and eight sacks on the season. Those are impressive numbers. Plus, his most impressive performances have come in conference play. He’s also forced two fumbles so, I feel good about this pick.
Special Teams: I’m going out on a limb (a long one) and going with the kick returner. Pringle averages 28.7 yards a return this season, and has a TD. He also helps return punts. OSU has been solid in defending the return game this season so this is probably a bad pick.
O - Mason Rudolph | D - Chad Whitener | ST - Ben Grogan
Offense: Oklahoma State goes as #2 goes. Plain and simple. He is in a serious groove, and is coming off one of his best performances of the season against West Virginia. I think OSU is starting to gain momentum, and it continues this week behind a stellar performance from Rudolph.
Defense: I’ll take Whitener here. The ‘Cats love to run the football and don’t air it out nearly as much as other teams in the conference. Whitener has struggled in zone coverage this season, but excels in run defense. For that, I’ll take him this week.
Special Teams: I actually haven’t taken Grogan the last two weeks, so I’m doing it now.
O - Jesse Ertz | D - Elijah Lee | ST - Matthew McCrane
Offense: Much like Oklahoma State, Kansas State goes as their quarterback does. He is a threat on the ground but can pull it back and let it fly if needed. Running quarterbacks have given OSU trouble in the past, so I hope I’m wrong here. I think I will be.
Defense: I’m always impressed with Lee when I watch Kansas State. Jordan Willis very well could eat our offensive line whole on Saturday, but I’m going to take Lee. I expect him to be crucial in zone coverage.
Special Teams: I took a three point lead last weekend, and I’m going safe here to try to extend that. #TakeTheKicker
O - Mason Rudolph | D - Vincent Taylor | ST - Zach Sinor
Offense: Kansas State's pass defense has not been all that impressive this season. They've faced the likes of Patty Mahomes and Baker Mayfield, who are both great quarterbacks, but they've let some other teams, including Iowa State, throw the ball around on them. Rudolph has been looking more and more poised in the pocket as the season has gone on, and I expect him to have a big day against the Wildcats.
Defense: I really want Taylor to have a big day and be able to get to Ertz and force him to make some mistakes. I also think K-State will try to establish the run, and hopefully Taylor and the rest of the Cowboy D line can put a stop to that idea right from the get-go...
Special Teams: He got the points last week, he's been awesome all season, I want to get a point. There's my logic.
O - Jesse Ertz | D - Jordan Willis | ST - Matthew McCrane
Offense: Kansas State isn't a typical Big 12 team. They rely more on their defense than their offense. They like to slow the game down and they are all-in-all a run-focused football team. That being said, I'm going with the quarterback Jesse Ertz. This is not due to his ability to sling it around, but more for the his ability to use his legs for the Wildcats. Ertz is the teams leading rusher with 477 yards and has scored 6 times on the ground this year. He's also added on 7 touchdowns through the air and hasn't thrown many interceptions this season. With his ability to run and throw, I think hes the obvious choice here for the 'Cats.
Defense: Willis is tied for the Big 12 lead in sacks, with 8... yes 8. He also has 11.5 tackles for loss this season which is good for 2nd in the Big 12. The senior defensive end is an absolute beast on the defensive line. With the amount of sacks that the Cowboys have given up this season, I could see Willis getting to Rudolph a few times on Saturday.
Special Teams: Going with the kicker again. He's been pretty solid this year for KSU, and it's the safe pick. I mean, I want to win this thing.
BTW, I miss Dana
O - Mason Rudolph | D - Vincent Taylor | S - Zach Sinor
Offense: Mason seems to be getting sharper, and he'll need to continue that trend in Manhattan on Saturday. Kansas State has contained potent offenses already this season, but has given up yards along the way. I don't expect the Pokes to score a ton, but I do think they can move the ball, and it'll need to be Mason making plays on third down to keep drives alive.
Defense: Vincent Taylor is a monster. It's almost surprising when he doesn't make a game-changing play these days. The defensive line will be so huge in this match-up, and if the defense is able to hold the Wildcat offense at bay, I think it'll be Taylor leading the charge. He'll have plenty of opportunities to make plays in the run game and hopefully can get some pressure on Ertz as well.
Special Teams: I keep taking Grogan and Sinor keeps absolutely killing it. His ability to flip the field and pin opponents deep has been huge all season, and it will be a factor in Manhattan. OSU cannot give the Wildcats a short field and there's no one in the country better at making sure that doesn't happen than Zach Sinor.
O - Jesse Ertz | D - Elijah Lee | S - Nick Walsh
Offense: Ertz is the K-State offense, leading the team in both passing and rushing. Oklahoma State has struggled some with duel threat QBs since, like, 1946. I'm pretty confident that '45 team could handle them just fine. Ertz does not turn the ball over, and the Cowboy defense has struggled when it doesn't get turnovers.
Defense: Jordan Willis is a menace and could really cause this offensive line serious problems, but Elijah Lee has 69 tackles on the season. That seems like a whole lot. The guy is everywhere. And he does have 4.5 tackles for loss to add to his monstrous total tackles number. We'll hear Lee's name a lot on Saturday.
Special Teams: Going double punter here! Walsh has had almost as good of a season as Sinor. Almost. He averages over 42 yards per punt and has only had one touchback all season. The Pokes could be looking at a long field most of the night on Saturday, and Walsh will be a big reason why.
O - Mason Rudolph | D - Chad Whitener | S - Zach Sinor
Offense: Mason had a fantastic game last week, and is making his case as the best quarterback in the conference. He played turnover-free football last week, and hasn't thrown a pick since Baylor (knock on wood). While K State has one of the top defenses in the conference, they have had a hard time against top-tier quarterbacks. So, this should work into Mason's favor.
Defense: Even with 13 tackles last week, Chad sadly did not get the point (come on Phillip). That being said, I'm going with him again this week. K State is a different type of Big 12 team, they are more of a ground and pound, milk the clock type of team. If that is the case, Whitener will need to fill the middle and make plays on Ertz and starting running back Charles Jones.
Special Teams: AHA! I didn't pick the kicker this week! But, I did pick the punter.
O - Jesse Ertz | D - DJ Reed | S - Matthew McCrane
Offense: Ertz is the leading passer and rusher for the Wildcats this year, so he will be a force on offense. Ertz reminds me a lot of Colin Klein from a few years ago, he runs a similar style of game. The junior quarterback has been improving all year and will look to do so against the Cowboys on Saturday.
Defense: Reed has had 23 tackles in the last 3 games, including 14 last week in the victory against Iowa State. The sophomore DB will get work in this week, especially if the Cowboys can get their elite passing game working.
Special Teams: What else is new?