Kansas State travels to Stillwater this weekend to take on Oklahoma State. Its the Big 12 opener for the Wildcats while OSU will be looking to get to 1-1 in Big 12 play. Here are the players to watch for when OSU takes on Kansas State.
Skylar Thompson: Quarterback
Thompson is an experienced quarterback who makes the difference for the Kansas State offense. The Kansas State offense is still predicated on running the ball, but Thompson’s passing ability gives the Wildcat offense an added dimension.
Thompson has completed 68 percent of his passes this season for 484 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions. The only notable opponent Kansas State has played is Mississippi State, where Thompson was often set up with a short field by his defense.
James Gilbert: Running Back
Gilbert had two 100-yard rushing performances to kick off the season against bad teams before only rushing for 59 yards on 3.5 yards-per-carry against Mississippi State. Gilbert has rushed for 277 yards and three touchdowns this season.
If Gilbert can average closer to four or five yards-per-carry against Kansas State, that will open up the passing game for Thompson much more. The Wildcats will use a handful of running backs, but Gilbert usually gets the most attempts.
Malik Knowles: Wide Receiver
The freshman started his collegiate career with a 99 yard showing against Bowling Green, but had only one reception for 12 yards against Mississippi State. Thompson has spread the ball around to a bunch of different receivers in each game, but Knowles seems to be one of his favorite targets.
Knowles had 100 yards worth of kick returns and a touchdown against Mississippi State and is one of Kansas State’s better playmakers.
The defense is the strength of this Kansas State team. The Wildcats recovered a fumble and forced two interceptions against Mississippi State. Denzel Goolsby had one of the interceptions against MSU and was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.
The KSU defense plays physical and will likely need to force a turnover or two and get a few stops in order to beat Oklahoma State.