Big 12 Previews

Kansas State vs. Oklahoma: Preview and Prediction

Here is everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming matchup between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Oklahoma Sooners.

GAME INFO

Saturday, September 24, 2022; 7:00 p.m. CT; Oklahoma Memorial Stadium; Norman, Oklahoma

TV: FOX (Jason Benetti, Brock Huard, Allison Williams)

Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, Stan Weber, Matt Walters); Sooner Sports Network (Toby Rowland, Teddy Lehman, Gabe Ikard, Chris Plank)

Records: Kansas State 2-1 (0-0 Big 12); Oklahoma 3-0 (0-0 Big 12)

Last Week’s Games: Kansas State 10, Tulane 17; Oklahoma 49, Nebraska 14

Rankings: K-State unranked; Oklahoma ranked No. 6 in AP Top 25 Poll

Series History: Oklahoma leads series 77-21-4

Last Meeting: Oklahoma 37, Kansas State 31 (2021)

Favorite: Oklahoma (-13)

Fun Fact: Oklahoma and Kansas State have split the last four meetings in this series, with Oklahoma winning in 2018 and 2021, while K-State took home victories in 2019 and 2020.

 

Key Players

Oklahoma Sooners

QB Dillon Gabriel

Last weekend, Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel had some accuracy issues, but ended up having a good day at the office, completing 17-26 for 230 yards and two touchdowns, adding a 61-yard rushing touchdown to get the Sooners on the board in the first quarter enroute to a 49-14 victory over Nebraska . Gabriel has been extremely efficient to this point in the season, going 52-78 for 759 and seven touchdowns to zero interceptions, garnering a QB rating of 178.0 through three games. He will need to be efficient once again this week as the defense he will face on Saturday night will be the best he has faced all season.

DE Reggie Grimes

There have been several players on the defensive side of the ball that have broken out for Oklahoma in 2022, and perhaps none of them have done so more than defensive end Reggie Grimes. The junior pas rusher put on some weight this offseason and is playing around 280 pounds, but his suddenness hasn’t waivered. Grimes ranks sixth in the country in sacks (4.0), has collected 6.0 tackles for loss and also has a forced fumble already under his belt. His presence on the edge has been huge for a surging Sooners’ defense and will be important again on Saturday night.

 

Kansas State Wildcats

QB Adrian Martinez

Through three games, Adrian Martinez has been disappointing in a Wildcats’ uniform. Sure, the offense should revolve around a talent like Deuce Vaughn, but Martinez hasn’t been able to stretch the field vertically in the passing game and it has caused the offense to sputter, ultimately costing them the Tulane game last week. Martinez’s 7.4 yards per completion ranks 120th in the FBS, and if he can’t find a way to improve upon that number, defenses will stack the box against Vaughn and make K-State work for every yard.

LB Daniel Green

K-State linebacker Daniel Green is at the heart of a defensive unit that has been extremely impressive to this point in the year. Green is tied for second on the team with 12 tackles and leads the team with two interceptions (fifth nationally). His play in the middle will be important as Oklahoma uses a plethora of run-pass option concepts that make life difficult for linebackers. Having an experienced senior at linebacker will really help the Wildcats diagnose the Sooners’ offense.

 

Key Storylines

Oklahoma Sooners

Is this team for real? The Sooners have looked extremely impressive through nonconference play, but they’ve played arguably the easiest schedule to this point in the Big 12. With a true test like Kansas State, we will finally see if Oklahoma is who they seem to be, or if they are a false contender. Hardly anyone in the last five years has has the level of success against OU that K-State has, so this will be a great litmus test for Brent Venables’ team to open up conference play.

Kansas State Wildcats

Was last week a fluke, or is K-State in trouble offensively? Tulane held the Wildcats to 10 points and just 336 yards of offense in last week’s game, and even gave KSU two turnovers to work with. Was it a case of looking ahead to Oklahoma, or is the issue with Adrian Martinez something we need to worry about? Oklahoma’s defense has been impressive through three games, so this is a bad spot for a get-right game for the offense. However, K-State has found a way to win with special teams and defense in Norman before, so don’t count out the Cats with their backs against the wall.

Prediction: Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 17

I believe that Oklahoma announces themselves as the Big 12 frontrunner in this game with a resounding victory over a good K-State team. The key for this game is Oklahoma’s defense against Deuce Vaughn. If the Sooners can limit Vaughn offensively similarly to what Tulane did last week, they should prove to win this game handily. I expect Venables to force quarterback Adrian Martinez to throw in this game, which he has struggled with in 2022, and it leads to some costly turnovers. Offensively, this will be the first time that Dillon Gabriel will play meaningful snaps for Oklahoma in the fourth quarter and it shows up in the stat sheet and on the scoreboard.

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