The No. 15 Kansas State Wildcats will travel south to Oklahoma this weekend to square off with the No. 6-ranked Oklahoma Sooners in a can't-miss Big 12 showdown.
Both teams are looking to get off to a hot start in conference play, and a loss in either's Big 12 opener would sting.
The Sooners have had the Wildcats' number over the past decade. But if Oklahoma has proved anything over the past few seasons, it's that it is prone to a letdown.
Here is everything you need to know for Saturday's epic clash in Norman.
Where: Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK
When: Saturday, September 22 at 7:50 p.m. ET
Listen: KMAN 1350 (Manhattan), KOKC 1520 (Oklahoma City)
Live Streaming: Big 12 Digital Network
Betting Line: Oklahoma (-14), according to Covers.com.
The biggest storyline heading into Saturday night's matchup in Norman is whether the Sooners or Wildcats will remain undefeated and move one step closer to a potential Big 12 title and eventual BCS Championship Game berth.
Oklahoma is the favorite playing at home, but was defeated by an unranked Texas Tech team at home last October. Kansas State hasn't beaten Oklahoma since 2003, however, when it won 35-7 over the then No. 3-ranked Sooners in the Big 12 title game.
Who May Not Play for Kansas State
*According to USA Today
OL Nick Puetz (Foot), questionable for Saturday
Who May Not Play for Oklahoma
*According to USA Today
DT Torrea Peterson (Academics), questionable for Saturday
TE Geneo Grissom (Suspension), out indefinitely
DE Chaz Nelson (Knee), out until mid October
WR Jalen Saunders (Eligibility), out for season
DT Stacy McGee (Suspension), out indefinitely
DB Trey Franks (Suspension), out indefinitely
DB Quentin Hayes (Suspension), out indefinitely
WR Jaz Reynolds (Suspension), out indefinitely
OL Tyler Evans (Knee), out for season
The loser of Saturday night's game will have its work cut out for it as the season wears on. Although an early loss wouldn't totally eliminate the Wildcats or Sooners from BCS Championship Game consideration, it certainly wouldn't make life easy.
This win would mean more for Kansas State, though; it is ranked lower and is playing on the road. If they could pull off the upset over the Sooners then they would be on the inside track to winning the Big 12 and earning a BCS bowl bid in 2012.
What They're Saying
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder acknowledged that the Wildcats haven't really come close to beating Oklahoma as of late (via The Kansas City Star's Blair Kerkhoff):
I don’t know that we’ve been as competitive as I’d have liked.
Snyder need not say much more. His team lost a 58-17 matchup with the Sooners in Manhattan last season.
Oklahoma defensive end R.J. Washington is prepared to see plenty of Kansas State's running game on Saturday night (via NewsOK.com's Jason Kersey):
An offense like theirs, where they run the ball and just smash-smash-smash-smash, it wears you down a little bit. It's important for us to make plays when you can make them. It's important to do our jobs.
The Wildcats have averaged more than 250 rushing yards per game this fall.
Kansas State Player to Watch
Wildcats senior quarterback Collin Klein is a serious threat on offense for Kansas State as a playmaker who can score through the air or on the ground. Klein is completing nearly 73 percent of his passes this season and has 609 yards and five touchdowns through the sky.
Klein's legs have also racked up 210 rushing yards and four additional touchdowns. Out of the 40 total touchdowns Klein scored in 2011 as a junior, 27 came on the ground. Look for the 6'5" field general to make plenty of plays for Kansas State on Saturday.
Oklahoma Player to Watch
Oklahoma wide receiver Kenny Stills has received plenty of love from quarterback Landry Jones through two games this season, and for good reason. The 6'1" junior has caught 16 balls this season for 241 yards and two touchdowns.
Stills has racked up 61 receptions in each of his previous two seasons in Norman and is without question the Sooners' top option in the passing game. Be sure to keep an eye out for No. 4 on Saturday night.
The most important matchup down on the field Saturday night will be the Sooners' rushing attack versus the Wildcats' defense. Oklahoma has one of the nation's most explosive ground games, led by Damien Williams and Dominique Whaley. The two have combined for 376 yards and five touchdowns in two games.
Kansas State's defense has been strong early on this season, but will face its toughest test by far this weekend when it attempts to slow Oklahoma's two-headed monster on the ground.
On the Hot Seat
Bob Stoops is in his 14th season as head coach at Oklahoma. But despite the Sooners coming into nearly every season as BCS favorites, Stoops has just one national championship to show for his effort. Oklahoma went 13-0 and won the title in 2000 during Stoops' second season.
After failing to win the Big 12 last season despite a 6-0 start, Stoops is on the hot seat in 2012 as the team prepares to host a Kansas State team that is more than capable of pulling off an upset.
Saturday night marks Kansas State's first road game of the season, and that would scare me if I was a Wildcats fan. Hitting the road is always tough in college football, but it's a nightmare when you're visiting a team projected to win the conference.
The Sooners' defense has been stout so far this season and the offense can compete with any other in the country. Klein and the Wildcats are game, but Oklahoma wins a tight one in Norman.
Oklahoma 31, Kansas State 24
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