OSU RUNNING GAME
The Cowboys have not fielded an impressive run game so far this season, ranking 83rd in the FBS for total yards per game in addition to only managing 2.2 yards per carry in their last outing against Texas. In addition to a poor pure yardage ranking, the Cowboys rank 119th in the nation in rushing S&P, an advanced statistic that seeks to look beyond just rushing yards to evaluate how well a team runs the football.
Compounding the Cowboys’ on-the-field performance issues is the fact that OSU’s second string running back Rennie Childs is reported to be out for Saturday’s game with an injury and first string running back Chris Carson is still suffering from a right ankle injury against Texas and may be held out entirely from Saturday’s game. If Carson and Childs are unable to go, Oklahoma State will have limited options as the next two running backs (Jeff Carr and Raymond Taylor) are inexperienced, however both have seen carries on the season.
OSU QUARTERBACK SITUATION
Oklahoma State is led by quarterback Mason Rudolph, a sophomore that burned his redshirt last season and led the Cowboys to a victory over Oklahoma and a Cactus Bowl win. Rudolph has done decent so far this year, completing 67.7% of his passes and throwing for 1237 yards and six touchdowns. During the Texas game, however, Rudolph injured his hand and turned the football over three times. If Rudolph has a shaky performance, the Cowboys can utilize former starter J.W. Walsh as they did against Texas in the fourth quarter. Walsh has been a significant contributor all four of his years at OSU and provides a potent running threat. Walsh is also the quarterback for OSU’s wildcat formation.
BALANCED WIDE RECEIVERS
Oklahoma State likes to distribute the football evenly among the Cowboy wide receivers, as OSU has three receivers tied for the lead in targets at 21 and the next two receivers not far behind at 15 and 13 targets. Senior David Glidden leads the Cowboys so far this year in receiving yards and touchdowns with 324 and three, respectively. The Cowboys also average 290 passing yards per game.
The Oklahoma State defensive line is coached by Joe Bob Clements, the former Kansas State defensive lineman and defensive line coach. Oklahoma State’s defensive line has been solid so far this year, with defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah standing out as a force to be reckoned with. Ogbah has already logged 6.5 tackles for loss and five sacks this year, and fellow defensive end Jimmy Bean has recorded seven tackles for loss and four sacks on the year. Vincent Taylor and Darrion Daniels have stepped in well to their starting roles at the two defensive tackle positions, as the two underclassmen have combined for eight tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. The defensive line’s performance has been a major reason why Oklahoma State has only allowed 4.4 yards per play this season.
Oklahoma State has fielded a strong defense against the pass this season, allowing only 170.5 yards per game through the air, a statistic that ranks 26th among the FBS. The secondary stars Jordan Sterns, a safety that has recorded 34 tackles in only four games this season. Sterns has almost double the amount of tackles as anyone on the Oklahoma State defense, including star defensive end Ogbah. Oklahoma State also intercepts a pass a game, a rate average compared to the rest of the country. The Cowboys’ secondary must be prepared to not allow large gains through the air, because although the K-State passing attack may be inconsistent, it averages 8.9 yards per pass attempt, ranking in the top 25 in the nation.
• Kansas State has not won in Stillwater during this century, with the last win coming in 1999.
• K-State has been uncharacteristic with penalties so far this season, averaging 6.5 per game.
• Time of possession could be an advantage area for Kansas State. K-State ranks 17th in the nation for time of possession in a game, whereas Oklahoma State ranks 78th. Oklahoma State also only possesses the ball for 40% of the first quarter.