Oklahoma State heads on the road to Manhattan, Kansas this week in what feels like a “must-win” match-up with the fighting Bill Snyders.
OSU — is 4-2 on the season, 1-2 in the Big 12 — coming off a loss to Iowa State, their second home conference loss of the season. With the back-loaded schedule they face, the prospect of getting back to a bowl game for a 13th-straight season has become a bit daunting.
While Manhattan has been a difficult place to play for the Cowboys, this is not the Kansas State of old. The Wildcats are 2-3 and haven’t looked all that good so far this season.
Phillip Slavin: Kansas State played probably their best game so far this season in the 37-34 loss to Baylor. Is this a sign of progress with the team or just playing against Baylor?
Derek Young: “It may have, though the second half against Texas is probably the best we’ve seen from the Wildcats, in my opinion. They weren’t bad against Baylor, especially on offense. The defense was pretty leaky, though. I am not confident that there were good things to glean from the contest in Waco. They couldn’t tackle, still are operating at a steep talent deficit and the special teams have fallen apart.”
PS: Skylar Thompson looks like the quarterback moving forward. He torched Oklahoma State last season going 10/13 for 204 yards and three touchdowns. What’s the likelihood he has a repeat performance this year?
DY: “It’s certainly possible, especially if their rushing game will be more honored now due to Alex Barnes going off for 250 yards last week. But they haven’t been able to put together a complete game on offense this year and this would be asking for that. He can do it because the running game will demand focus now and the Cowboys have struggled more in pass defense than they have against the run. However, the Oklahoma State pass rush should complicate things.”
PS: Oklahoma State just saw Iowa State’s defense run through its offensive line. Who for Kansas State has the best chance to get into OSU’s backfield on Saturday?
DY: “There isn’t a lot. This has been an area of struggle for the Wildcats. I will say that it has improved quite a bit the last two weeks, though, and the culprits have been defensive ends Reggie Walker and Wyatt Hubert and linebacker Justin Hughes.”
PS: Ok. Honest answer. What is going on in the Little Apple? Is Coach Snyder’s career at Kansas State coming to an end?
DY: “Who knows when the end will come. It is not for me to say. But it’s been more dysfunctional with each year. The leadership seems to be lacking and its not the smooth operation that it used to be. He’s also become agitated with things a bit as well judging by his relationship with the media in recent weeks. There’s less cohesion and chemistry and more dysfunction and turmoil.”
PS: What does Kansas State have to do right to win this game and final score prediction.
DY: “I do think they need to lean on their running game. They’re always a better team when they can run the ball but they also can’t win this game by being one-dimensional. So while I believe they need to be able to lean on the running game, it won’t matter if they can’t pass it and take advantage of Oklahoma State’s weakness. The Cowboys have surrendered at least 247 yards passing the last four games. Defensively, they need to stop the run. Taylor Cornelius is obviously good enough to beat you but Justice Hill and the running game is what makes the Cowboys tick this season. They are 4-0 when they rush for more than 150 yards.”
“Oklahoma State might be eager to get away from home. They’ve seemed to be a better football team away from Stillwater. I think they win in Manhattan, 35-28.”