When and where: October 26, 2019, Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS, 12:00 PM ET
The Jalen Hurts Show continues for the Oklahoma Sooners in Saturday’s anticipated clash with the Kansas State Wildcats. A phenomenal defensive showing against TCU has the Wildcats riding a tidal wave of confidence heading into a Big 12 Conference meeting with the Sooners. Perhaps they have the blueprint to slowing down Hurts and the Sooners’ high-flying offense. Oklahoma, who is coming off a 52-14 win over West Virginia, is averaging 612.9 total yards per game.
A big defensive test for HurtsKansas State isn’t going to be taken seriously ahead of this match-up, but they do boast a strong enough defense to give Hurts and the Sooners' offense problems. This isn’t the type of game where the Heisman candidate is going to flawlessly go 16-of-17 passing for 316 yards and three touchdowns like he did last week against a bad West Virginia defense.
Kansas State has the No. 1-ranked passing defense in the conference and is allowing only 152.5 yards per game. They have only given up three passing touchdowns so far this season, setting the stage for a frustrating day for Hurts. This could be the game when he hammers home the notion that he’s deserving of the Heisman Trophy if he’s able to carve up this defense through the air like he has previous opponents.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Sooners have steadily improved every week, which is downright terrifying for the rest of the country. Everyone has already seen how potent they can be on offense. Adding a legitimate defense to that group could be checkmate to every opponent left on their schedule. They are only allowing 19.4 points per game, and they’ll be facing a Kansas State team that hasn’t shown the ability to consistently move the ball well on offense. It’s an offense that relies heavily on protecting the football, short-yardage plays and time of possession.
The Sooners will be without linebacker Jon-Michael Terry, who suffered a season-ending lower leg injury in practice. Hurts could also be without tight end Grant Calcaterra for a third straight week as he continues to work his way back from an upper-body ailment.
OU head coach Lincoln Riley hopes that Calcaterra will return after a bye week. The tight end has 41 catches for 637 yards in his career with the Sooners.
"Won't play this week," said Riley on Wednesday in a news conference. We're going to get him through this week and then obviously into the bye week and hopeful to have him after that," Riley said. "But we're going to use the bye week to our advantage to get him a bit more rest."
Can the Wildcats offense show up?Quarterback Skylar Thompson has been able to get by being mostly a game manager playing opposite of Kansas State’s stout defense. However, if they have any hope of upsetting the Sooners, he’s going to have to come out of his shell. Of course, that’s easier said than done when facing a Sooners defense that ranks second in the conference behind the same TCU team he conquered last week.
The only difference is Oklahoma has the best offense in the country to go along with their defense. It doesn’t matter how well the Wildcats’ secondary has held up against the pass. Hurts is going to figure out a way to move the ball down the field at some point, and it will fall on Thompson and the Wildcats offense to respond.
Playing keep-away will likely be a big part of the game plan heading into Saturday. The best defense is keeping the Sooner offense on the sidelines. It won’t help matters that running back Jordon Brown, along with receivers Phillip Brooks and Malik Knowles, are all questionable for the game with injuries. This is an all hands on deck kind of contest for the Wildcats’ skilled positions.
- Sooners are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Sooners are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Wildcats are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
- Wildcats are 7-3 ATS against a team with a winning record.
- Wildcats are 33-16-2 ATS in their last 51 games in October.