Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 Conference game in our Kansas State vs. Oklahoma State preview and prediction.
11:00 a.m. Central Time, Saturday, October 13th, 2018, Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS
TV: ESPNU (Kevin Brown, Andre Ware)
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker); Kansas State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson); Sirius 119/XM 199
Fun Fact: Saturday’s game marks the 65th meeting between Oklahoma State and Kansas State. OSU holds a 39-25 all-time advantage in the series, including an 18-15 edge on games played in Manhattan. The Cowboys have won two of the last three and six of the past nine matchups overall.
RB Justice Hill
Hill had his 100-yard per game rushing streak snapped last week against Iowa State, when he only had 66 yards on 24 carries for 2.8 yards per carry. But unlike Iowa State, Kansas State does not have a good rushing defense. The good news is Mike Yurcich is realizing he has to put the ball in Hill’s hands. After having no more than 15 carries in the first four games, he has had 55 the past two.
LB Justin Phillips
At middle linebacker, Phillips is the cog in a defense that has dealt with some injuries as of late. He’s eighth in the Big 12 in total tackles and his 6.5 tackles for loss ranks in the top 10 in the conference. Stopping the run against a Kansas State team that is anemic passing the ball will be key and Phillips will play a big role in that happening.
K-State has its issues throwing the ball, but Zuber will have opportunities this weekend as the team’s top wide receiver. For the season he has 36 catches for 445 yards and three touchdowns, almost nearing his totals from last season (51 catches, 510 yards, 4 TDs). Zuber has two 100-yard receiving games this season and if K-State wants to win, he probably has to have another one going up against the worst pass D in the Big 12.
DE Reggie Walker
Walker is quietly having himself a nice season. He ranks second in the Big 12 Conference with 3.5 sacks and is ninth in the conference with 3.5 tackles for loss. Now, he gets to go up against one of the weakest offensive lines in the Big 12 that has had a ton of trouble protecting quarterback Taylor Cornelius.
Run, run and run some more. Sure, Oklahoma State has one of the best wide receiver duos in the Big 12 Conference with Tylan Wallace and Tyron Johnson, but Kansas State can’t stop the run. The Wildcats are giving up 180 rushing yards per game, which ranks 9th in the Big 12. Meantime, Oklahoma State enters the game with the top rushing offense in the conference at 213 yards per game, and has, I believe, the top running back in the conference in Justice Hill. The four-headed monster of Justice Hill (get him a minimum of 20 carries, Gundy!), J.D. King, Chuba Hubbard and L.D. Brown should find itself plenty busy on Saturday if Oklahoma State wants to leave Manhattan with a win. Allow the running attack to set up the downfield passing attack and it’ll be a fun afternoon for the Cowboys.
If there is ever a time for Kansas State to develop a passing game, this week is it as they go up against the team with the worst pass defense efficiency in the Big 12 Conference. Oklahoma State is also allowing 277 passing yards per game, which is 9th in the conference. I think Brock Purdy is going to be a special player, but Oklahoma State’s defense allowed him to look like Baker Mayfield last week. We don’t know who is going to play QB for Kansas State, but my hunch is that Skylar Thompson will again get the nod, because he has the far superior passing abilities to Alex Delton, which need to be utilized heading into this game against the Cowboys.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 31, Kansas State 24. Oklahoma State has certainly had its issues so far this season, but Kansas State has been worse… in fact, much worse. The Cowboys went up against an Iowa State team last week that needed a win desperately to get its season back on track and they threw out a dual-threat freshman quarterback that nobody saw coming and who brought the running threat that Zeb Noland does not possess. The Cowboys defense won’t be caught as off guard this week, because we know Thompson and Delton will probably both see time, and each have been incredibly mediocre this season. Also, Oklahoma State has done a good job this season in forcing nine turnovers, which is third in the Big 12, while K-State ranks second to last in turnover margin in the conference. That bodes well for the Pokes heading into a road game.
Finally, Kansas State doesn’t have the weapons to take advantage of Oklahoma State’s average, at best, passing defense, while Oklahoma State has the horses to beat up Kansas State’s woeful run defense. That’s what this game will come down to as Oklahoma State goes back to Stillwater with a win.
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