Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Kansas State Wildcats: Complete Game Preview
The Oklahoma State Cowboys had their annual Homecoming festivities spoiled last week during a 34-10 loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers. Unfortunately, the Pokes don't get a chance to regroup, as they follow up that tough loss with a trip to Manhattan to face the Kansas State Wildcats.
The Wildcats are one of two teams in the Big 12 in the College Football Playoff Top 10 (TCU is No. 7, while K-State is No. 9), and currently lead the Big 12 with a 4-0 record in conference play.
On paper, Kansas State has the clear advantage, but does Oklahoma State have the firepower to engineer a colossal upset? Read on to find out.
Who: Oklahoma State at Kansas State
When: Saturday, November 1 at 7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET
Where: Manhattan, KS
Stadium: Bill Snyder Family Stadium (50,000 cap.)
Series History: Oklahoma State leads 37-23
TV: ABC Regional (Bob Wischusen, Matt Millen and Quint Kessenich)
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb and Robert Allen)
Satellite Radio: Sirius channel 91, XM channel 91 (K-State radio feed)
Oklahoma State Key to Victory
Feed the Freek
Oklahoma State's loss to West Virginia looks like a blowout if you just look at the final score. If you watched the game, you know that the Cowboys were very much still alive midway through the fourth quarter.
Of course, then Dravon Henry picked off Daxx Garman and ran the ball back 52 yards for a score that put the game away. That said, the Pokes certainly looked better than the 24-point loss would have you think.
What was the difference between that Cowboys team and the one that got blasted by TCU two weeks ago? It might just have something to do with Tyreek Hill getting 14 carries out of the backfield (he had zero against TCU).
Hill made the most of his opportunities against West Virginia, rushing for 78 yards in route to arguably his best game since the season-opener against Florida State.
The Freek is a game-breaker, that much is obvious. What also seems to be obvious, at least from a fan's perspective, is that the more touches he gets, the better he is. Look for Hill to tally 20 or more total touches this Saturday and potentially break this game open for the Cowboys.
Kansas State Key to Victory
Get After Garman
When he has time to throw, Daxx Garman is pretty good at slinging the pigskin. Unfortunately, he hasn't been afforded much time to sit back in the pocket these past three or four weeks.
Obviously it's a two-way street. The offensive isn't blocking as well as they need to be and Garman can hold onto the ball longer than he should from time-to-time. However, no matter who you want to blame, the fact remains that teams can and do get pressure on Garman.
Kansas State needs to blitz early and often. When Garman gets rattled, his play takes a monumental hit. He struggles throwing the ball on the run and if he doesn't have time, he can't unleash his deadly deep ball.
Look for Bill Snyder to bring the heat in Manhattan.
Oklahoma State Player to Watch
I like Richards, I really do, but the fact is that he's been very suspect since taking over for an injured Ashton Lampkin at the cornerback position. Honestly, that's to be expected. He is, after all, a true freshman going up against some of the best offenses in the nation.
However, the Oklahoma State coaching staff needs to do a better job of protecting their young cornerback in coverage. In every game that he's started, Richards has given up back-breaking, long touchdowns.
Richards can't let that happen if the Pokes want to steal one from Kansas State. He just doesn't look ready to cover his man one-on-one and the coaches almost have to rotate a safety over to protect him.
If Richards is the starter (Lampkin is currently questionable), then Oklahoma State might be in for another long day.
Kansas State Player to Watch
If Kansas State has anyone that can match Tyreek Hill's explosiveness, it's Lockett.
The do-everything player is likely the best player on the Wildcats' offense and will be in line for a potentially huge day against a struggling Oklahoma State team.
Obviously, he should dominate the aforementioned Ramon Richards if he's ever matched up against him, but don't be surprised if he takes one to the house in the return game as well.
Look for Lockett to rack up 150 total yards and two scores this weekend.
Kansas State has road games against TCU and West Virginia following this one, so Oklahoma State has an outside chance to play spoilers here. However, the Wildcats are still coached by Bill Snyder, so chances of that seem small.
Look for Kansas State to roar out to an early lead before Oklahoma State makes a few plays to make it relatively close in the second half. That said, don't expect this one to be closer than two scores after the first quarter.
Kansas State wins by 17.
Kansas State 38 Oklahoma State 21