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Previewing: Oklahoma State-Kansas State

The Pokes should win a slugfest in BPS.



Oklahoma State will undoubtedly face their biggest test this weekend as the Kansas State Wildcats come to town.

What to expect from KSU

Like the Cowboys, K-State has yet to lose a game, playing a similarly weak schedule. The Wildcats opened up with a shutout against an FCS opponent (South Dakota), cruised past UTSA and needed three overtimes to sneak past Louisiana Tech at home two weeks ago.

The Wildcats struggled to defend the pass in that game, letting former Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel carve them up for 312 yards. Bill Snyder’s team showed a weakness for the first time all season after cruising past two lowly opponents.

The season got off to a rough start for K-State as starting quarterback Jesse Ertz was lost for the season only two plays in.

Joe Hubener has stepped in admirably, throwing for four TDs and no interceptions. Hubener isn’t as mobile as you expect from a quarterback in a Bill Snyder offense, but he’s still a pretty decent runner. For injury purposes (that is, lack of depth), they haven’t let him run as much as normal. The 6-foot-5 junior has only rushed for 105 yards in three games.

Kansas State’s passing offense is somewhat limited with Hubener, featuring a lot of balls thrown less than 15 yards. The Wildcats no longer have an elite-level receiver like Tyler Lockett who can stretch defenses. The best thing they have has been Kody Cook who leads the team with 148 yards and two touchdowns.

Justin Silmon is averaging 5.8 yards per carry, but like the rest of the Wildcats offense he’s nothing flashy.

Mason Rudolph’s turnovers accounted for 14 points being scored by Texas last weekend, but the defense only gave up 13. K- State does not have the type of offense that can put up 50+ points like some Big 12 teams are capable of. I’d be surprised if the defense allows more than 20 points. They should cook up a few more TOs, too.

“We say in the locker room that we not only need to keep getting turnovers and continue to do that, but also start scoring off of them,” said DT Vincent Taylor this week. “I think we need to keep doing what we’re doing each week and start getting points.”

What about OSU

Now to the million dollar question: How will golden-boy Mason Rudolph rebound from his first rough game?

Rudolph threw two ugly interceptions against Texas and another clumsy fumble resulting in two defensive touchdowns. Turnovers cannot continue to be a trend if the Cowboys want to improve on last year’s 4-5 conference record.

Rudolph will be challenged against a defense that has not given up very many points. However, even against two small schools in the first two weeks, K-State has let each of its three opponents complete at least 60 percent of its passes. The Wildcats also have not yet intercepted a pass in the 2015 season.

With Rennie Childs likely out and Chris Carson also banged up, the starting running back duties could be Jeff Carr’s. The freshman has shown good quickness and the ability to catch passes out of the backfield on occasion.

However, K-State has been incredibly stout against the run this season, allowing only 2.37 yards per carry. The Cowboys are only averaging 4.12 yards per carry with Childs and Carson, without them could be even worse with some legitimate questions about the offensive line having not been answered yet.

How will the game be decided?

The strength of K-State this season has been solid run defense and the ability to control the ball on offense. It may take more than on offense for KSU to win this game. Hubener has a strong arm, but he has yet to show it. If he can finally start to stretch the field then K-State has a chance, but a conservative offense will not go into Boone Pickens and win.

I think it will be very obvious that OSU will be one-dimensional on Saturday, but Rudolph does have a chance to expose the weakest unit on the field for the Wildcats. If Yurcich’s play-calling gets predictable and KSU can stuff the running game it could be a long one, but I don’t anticipate for struggles for QB1.

Ultimately, I don’t see the Cowboys losing this game at home. The Wildcats don’t have an offense that can put up enough on points on Glenn Spencer’s unit, period. That should be the deciding factor in a low-scoring win for the Cowboys.

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