On a note outside of the Oklahoma game, the Kansas State family tragically lost a member in the past week. David Garrett, a 2010 Big XII honorable mention for Kansas State at cornerback, was shot and killed outside a Cleveland nightclub last Saturday. Bill Snyder has stated that a special helmet decal will be worn by the Wildcats on Saturday in honor of Garrett, according to Ken Corbitt.
REASON #1: Stoops vs. Snyder
While somewhat of a belabored storyline among the media and Kansas State fanbase over the last decade, the Bob Stoops vs. Bill Snyder saga still acts as an interesting storyline. Snyder is currently 2-8 in matchups against his former protégé, with the two wins laying the framework for two of the more memorable seasons in Kansas State history. Could a third win for Snyder over Stoops lead to another great season in Manhattan? Does a bye week to prepare for Oklahoma give the 75-year old Snyder an advantage over Stoops?
REASON #2: Oklahoma Pass Defense
Many a Wildcat fan can remember the monster performance Tyler Lockett put up against Oklahoma last year in Manhattan. While a 278-yard and three-touchdown performance should not be expected from Lockett again, the Sooner pass defense has struggled the past couple of games, giving up over 300 passing yards in every Big XII matchup the Sooners have played. If Kansas State can get a productive day out of both Lockett and Curry Sexton, the Wildcats could be in a great position from an offensive productivity standpoint.
REASON #3: Oklahoma Offensive Production
While Kansas State may be looking to open up the passing game, Sooner co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell should be looking for some stability in the Oklahoma offense. The Sooner offense has been inconsistent so far this year, a contrast to the preseason expectations for Oklahoma after last year’s Sugar Bowl. Many Sooner fans have decried the offensive playcalling by the Sooners’ coaches over the past few games. Last week, Oklahoma only had 29 yards of offensive output in the first half, a number that if repeated could likely doom the Sooners on Saturday. Nevertheless, Oklahoma could also account for 510 yards or 461 yards of offense in Saturday’s game like the Sooners accounted for during Oklahoma games against West Virginia and TCU earlier this year, respectively. Which Sooner offense will show? The play of the Sooners’ offense is largely dependent on quarterback Trevor Knight, whose inconsistent play has impacted the efficiency of the Sooner offensive attack this season. One of the ways the Oklahoma offense could thrive in Saturday’s game is finding ways to catch a disciplined Wildcat defense off guard.
REASON #4: Kansas State Defense
After five games, the Kansas State defense is the unit the has received the most praise and accolades on the team, whether that be from the Wildcat faithful or national prognosticators. The defense, however, faces a few challenges. While the following challenge may not be based on the opponent, the health of Travis Green and Dakorey Johnson are in question for the Oklahoma game. Johnson and Green have both added speed to the Kansas State defense this year, a key defensive element against Big XII opponents and the Sooners. Green has been a factor in the secondary so far for the Wildcats this year, a group that must find a way to contain Sooner wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Johnson would be missed in a linebacker corps that seeks to contain Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine. While Kansas State leads the Big XII in rushing defense (81.4 yards a game), losing the speed and talent of both Green and Johnson could hurt against a talented running back like Perine.
REASON #5: Big XII Championship Picture
While Saturday’s game will certainly not crystallize the Big XII Championship, the picture can certainly become more clear. The route to the Big XII Championship may still reside in Waco, but the Sooners certainly have a fast track to the title by getting to play Baylor, Oklahoma State, and the Wildcats at home. If the Wildcats can win in Norman, Oklahoma’s seemingly easier route to the championship can be detoured and Kansas State can gain a great leg up in the title race