Friday, October 6; 6:30 PM CT; Boone Pickens Stadium; Stillwater, Oklahoma
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb, and Robert Allen); K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, Stan Webber)
Record: Oklahoma State (2-2); Kansas State (3-1)
Series History: Oklahoma State leads, 42-27
Last Meeting: Kansas State 48, Oklahoma State 0 (2022)
Line: Kansas State (-11.5)
Fun Fact: While the Wildcats enter the Week 6 matchup in a much better spot than the Oklahoma State Cowboys on paper, Chris Klieman has struggled against Mike Gundy in his career with a 1-3 record in the previous four matchups.
OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS
RB OLLIE GORDON
There is no way to beat around the bush, Ollie Gordon is the Cowboys’ best offensive threat and he will be needed against Kansas State. The Wildcats enter the game boasting the sixth-best rushing defense in the country and the top unit in the Big 12 Conference. Ollie Gordon has had some big plays this season for Mike Gundy’s offense and while the matchup may not be favorable in theory, Gordon is going to be a player to watch when the Cowboys take the field against the defending champs.
S KENDAL DANIELS
Kendal Daniels is the current leader in tackles for the Cowboys with 31 total tackles in 2023. The unit has not been great at bringing down ball carries this season as the Cowboys currently are the statistically worst tackling team in the country at the Power 5 level (20.5% missed tackle rate). Daniels will have to attempt to slow down a Kansas State rushing attack that put up nearly 300 yards and six scores against UCF in their last outing. If the Cowboys hope to get off the field on third and manageable distances, it all starts with Kendal Daniels.
KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
RB DJ GIDDENS
The man of the hour for Kansas State is sophomore running back DJ Giddens. Giddens took home Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors in Week 4 against Central Florida with a monstrous performance racking up 30 carries for 207 yards and four scores on the ground. The Kansas native currently ranks fifth in the Big 12 in total rushing yards (423) despite the fact that the Wildcats are one of two teams to have already completed an off week. If Giddens and the Kansas State rushing attack can get going, Oklahoma State will have more than a tough time slowing it back down.
LB DESMOND PURNELL
Purnell was quietly the defensive MVP for Kansas State against UCF in Week 4 as he led the team with seven total tackles in their Big 12 opener. K-State’s linebacker core entered the season as one of the best units in the Big 12 but after losing senior Daniel Green for the season with a torn pec, Purnell stepped into the starting lineup alongside true freshman Austin Romaine. Purnell had a textbook forced fumble punching the ball out of the UCF ballcarrier’s hands to give Will Howard and the offense the football back. Purnell is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who can get downhill in an instant.
OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS
Is Alan Bowman capable of winning big games? I know that the majority of sports personalities went after Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy for his three-man quarterback rotation but OSU has a ton of questions on their plate. Bowman was not the reason the Cowboys dropped their opener to Iowa State back in Week 4 but he also wasn’t what kept them in the game either. Bowman has a chance to prove what he’s made of against the team that took home the title in 2022.
KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
How healthy did the Wildcats get during the bye week? Will Howard played one one leg against UCF and while that was enough to walk away with a 44-31 win, getting Howard back to full strength should be priority number one. The Wildcats also were without players like wide receiver RJ Garia, running back Treshaun Ward, and saw limited snaps from senior OT Christian Duffie. With a full week of time to rest and recover, keeping players healthy for the duration could be one of the biggest tasks to overcome in the Wildcats’ pursuit of back-to-back titles.
PREDICTION: KANSAS STATE 44, OKLAHOMA STATE 24
Plain and simple, nine times out of ten this Oklahoma State team loses to Kansas State. While the Cowboys will have the pleasure of taking the champs on in Stillwater, Chris Klieman’s bunch has something to prove and I expect this game to be a comfortable win for the purple and white. It should be closer than the 48-0 massacre in Manhattan from 2022, but I expect Will Howard to have a big day against a shaky OSU defense.