“Out of the frying pan and into the fire” comes to mind as the Kansas State Wildcats put last week’s defensive debacle at Baylor behind them and turn their attention to the Oklahoma State Cowboy’s high-powered offense. After surrendering over 680 yards to the Bears last weekend, the Wildcats face the Big 12′s top-rated Cowboy offense led by QB Brandon Weeden. The 6-4 junior is completing over 66% of his passes for 2,250 yards and 21 touchdowns. The Cowboy offense is second in the nation in scoring (48.3 ppg) and third in total offense (529.6 ypg). On the ground, Oklahoma State averages almost 180 yards per game and is led by All American candidate RB Kendall Hunter. After an injury-plagued 2009 season, the 5-8, 200-pound senior is healthy once again and will be the focus of the offense this weekend with his teammate and the nation’s leading wide receiver, Justin Blackmon, suspended for this game due to a DUI charge from earlier in the week. The 6-1 sophomore leads the nation with 1,112 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns for the Cowboys and will be missed.
For the Wildcats to keep this one close, they will have to have a balanced attack on offense and grind out yards to keep the lethal Cowboy offense off the field. Over the past several weeks, senior QB Carson Coffman has regained control of the Kansas State offense while completing over 66% of his passes for 1,145 yards and eight touchdowns on the year. Along with OSU’s Hunter, Wildcat tailback Daniel Thomas is one of the Big 12′s top ground gainers, averaging over 127 yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry. Much like last week, it will be up to the Kansas State offense to score often to keep pace with the Cowboys, who won’t have much difficulty putting up points on a very porous and ineffective Wildcat defense. KSU’s defense has allowed 428 yards per game, with 231 of those coming on the ground.
The Cowboys haven’t won in Manhattan since 1988, the year current OSU head coach, Mike Gundy, was behind center and NFL great Barry Sanders was in the backfield. These teams haven’t played each other since 2007, a thrilling 41-39 Cowboy victory in Stillwater, giving the Cowboys an overall 16-14 lead in the series. This week should be an offensive shootout, as neither defense has the capabilities to slow down OSU’s Hunter or KSU’s Thomas. The difference on Saturday will be in the Cowboy passing game, even without Blackmon. Look for Oklahoma State to turn to junior WR Josh Cooper to pick up the slack in Blackmon’s absence.
Oklahoma State – 42
Kansas State – 35
About the Author
Written by Chad Craghead
A 1988 graduate from Wichita State University, Chad has followed WSU as well as Kansas State athletics for over 30 years, along with being a lifelong Boston Red Sox and L.A./St. Louis Rams fan.