Kansas State will attempt to continue its march toward a perfect season in a road game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys this week. The Wildcats' season has been one of the more wild storylines this year as K-State is currently ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings.
Overlooked at the beginning of the season, Kansas State has built off of last year's 10-3 campaign to be even better this season. With Collin Klein making a convincing run at the Heisman trophy, the Wildcats appear to be the class of the Big 12.
Oklahoma State, on the other hand, has taken a step back from last season's Fiesta Bowl-winning squad. The Cowboys are 5-2 at this point but have reeled off three straight wins over Kansas, Iowa State and TCU.
Both teams have plenty to play for in this game, so the atmosphere should be great. Here's all the information you need on this pivotal Big 12 clash.
When: Saturday, November 3 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS
Watch: ABC (check local listings)
Spread: Kansas State -9.5 (via Covers)
Given Kansas State's dominance in Manhattan this season, it's no surprise it is the big favorite here.
The Cowboys are a solid team, but the Wildcats have won all five of their home games this season by at least 14 points.The Wildcats will put up a ton of points as they are averaging 49 points per game at home this year and have scored over 50 in every contest but one.
Conversely, the Cowboys have been less-than-impressive on the road this season. They are 1-1 with a loss to Arizona and let the lowly Kansas Jayhawks stick around in a 20-14 victory. They will need to play their best game of the year to keep it close against the steady Wildcats.
With a BCS game in reach, the Wildcats know what's on the line and should perform consistently again this week. That makes them a pretty good bet to cover the spread this week.
Over/Under: 66 (via Covers)
The oddsmakers like this game to be a high-scoring affair as 66 is clearly a high total for the over/under.
Given Kansas State's penchant for scoring points at home and Oklahoma State's reputation for offense, you'd think that this is a pretty good bet to hit the over. However, a closer look at this matchup says the under is a good bet.
The Cowboys defense is better than advertised. In the last three games it has held its opponents to 14,10 and 14 points respectively and has been a large reason for the team's success. They may not get enough stops to beat Collin Klein, but they certainly should keep this game close.
Obviously, Kansas State's defense has been playing well all year and has held opponents to 17.1 points per game all season. Expect the defenses to show up and keep this one on the under side.
Oklahoma State Injury Report (via USA Today)
DT Calvin Barnett, Personal, Questionable
TE Justin Horton, Undisclosed, Out for Season
WR Tracy Moore, Ankle, Out Indefinitely
QB J.W. Walsh, Knee, Out for Season
WR C.J. Curry, Shoulder, Out for Season
CB Jonovan Griffin, Knee, Out for Season
LB JeremiahTshimanga, Knee, Out for Season
Kansas State Injury Report (via USA Today)
LB Tre Walker, Knee, Out Indefinitely
All eyes are on Kansas State in this game as it will try to make another statement that it deserves the No. 2 BCS ranking it currently owns. However, the Cowboys have plenty to play for in their own right.
With a win, Kansas State moves to 9-0 and only has TCU, Baylor and Texas standing between them and an undefeated season. If they can do that it'll be hard to deny them a spot in the national championship game, but they have to beat the Cowboys first.
For Oklahoma State, a win catapults it into Fiesta Bowl contention. With two losses there's little to no chance of making it to the title game, but a 3-1 mark in Big 12 play still makes them dangerous in the conference.
Kansas State has more to lose in this game, but Oklahoma State will essentially be defending its 2011 Big 12 championship.
Keys for Oklahoma State Victory
If Oklahoma State wants to pull off the upset in Manhattan it will need a great game plan. Fortunately for them, Mike Gundy is one of the better offensive minds in all of college football.
Oklahoma State is known for its high-flying passing attack, but it will be the ground game and defense that determine its fate in this matchup.
The Wildcats have shutdown West Virginia and Texas Tech in successive games so putting this game in the hands of Wes Lunt is a bad decision. Running back Joseph Randle will be the key to the Cowboys' offense.
Randle has 891 yards and nine touchdowns on the season and has quietly been the leader of an underrated rushing attack.
On defense, the Cowboys need to stack the box and dare Collin Klein to throw. Klein is coming off of two killer games as a passer but he's still a runner first and can kill defenses when K-State gets the ground game going.
If Oklahoma State wants to win it will need to grind it out with Randle to win the time of possession battle and avoid turnovers.
Keys for Kansas State Victory
When you're undefeated at this point of the season, you just have to stick with what works.
For the Wildcats, that means a good dose of Collin Klein on offense and a rugged defense. The Wildcats aren't the most flashy bunch but they are the ultimate picture of fundamental football. They don't make mistakes and force you to play mistake-free football to get the win.
Outside of keeping up the offensive dominance with John Hubert and Klein, they'll need to force the Pokes to be one-dimensional on offense. Oklahoma State is extremely balanced on offense (they rank 6th in passing and 13th in rushing nationally) so taking away the running game and forcing the pass will be important for K-State.
The duo of Klein and Hubert have effectively run over everyone and sets up everything the Wildcats do. They'll look to get that going once again.
Kansas State has looked nearly unstoppable recently but it can't afford to look past this game.
Coming off of blow outs against Texas Tech and West Virginia, this has all the makings of a trap game for the Wildcats. A loss here would be detrimental as Klein's Heisman candidacy and their national title hopes would take a huge hit.
That being said, it's difficult to see a scenario in which this team loses. The way they play Oklahoma State will need to execute the game plan perfectly to win this one. Expect Oklahoma State to play from behind for most of the game but K-State successfully trumps any comeback efforts
Predicted Score: Kansas State 34, Oklahoma State 24