LOCATION: Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium (Manhattan, Kansas)
BETTING LINE: (-3) Kansas State
OKLAHOMA STATE PLAYER TO WATCH
Mason Rudolph is coming off his best performance of the season after picking apart West Virginia‘s secondary, going 26/36 for 273 yards and four total touchdowns. his week he’s going to have to match that performance to keep the offense moving against yet another tough Bill Snyder defense. Oklahoma State relies heavily on turnover margin and Kansas State only averages 0.9 turnovers per game, so Rudolph will need to take care of the ball. If he does then OSU has a great shot at the upset in Manhattan.
KANSAS STATE PLAYER TO WATCH
Charles Jones is getting most of the carries these days in his senior season and so far he’s been alright as the leader of the running back committee. He’s averaging a nice 5.0 yards per carry and 9.0 yards per reception. His ability to establish his presence between the tackles against a stout interior defensive line will be key to opening up the air for Ertz. If he can’t draw some linebackers in to crowd the box it could bail out a weak Oklahoma State secondary. If he can consistently reach the second level it should draw a safety down and allow for some shots downfield off play action.
OKLAHOMA STATE POSITION GROUP PREVIEW
OFFENSIVE LINE: They can’t seem to make up their mind if they want to protect Mason or create holes for Justice but they sure can’t do both. They seem to alternate games focusing on the running game or pass protection. Weird.
TIGHT ENDS: They’re not be targeted nearly as heavily as they were earlier in the season but Zac Veatch has made some tremendous blocks sealing the edge.
RUNNING BACKS: It’s hard to say that Justice Hill had a bad performance last week because there was nothing there for him. That being said he’s looking slower to the edge than he did earlier this season.
QUARTERBACKS: Mason is coming off probably the best performance of his career. It may not seem extraordinary due to the gaudy numbers he’s posted before in his career, but he was flawless in his decision making and execution against a unique 3-3-5 defense.
WIDE RECEIVERS: James Washington bounced back with 117 yards last weekend and is looking dangerous as ever. Jalen McClesky is looking like one of the best slot receiver in the Big 12 and Chris Lacy just had the performance of his career.
DEFENSIVE LINE: Vincent Taylor is looking like the best defensive tackle in the Big 12 and he’s surrounded by great depth. Their pass rush however seems to be at the expense of their rush defense.
LINEBACKERS: They’re dropping too far into coverage and allowing teams to keep the ball moving with short crossing routes. Pretty good at getting to the run but not physical enough to always make the tackles.
SECONDARY: After being weak all season they had a great game last week by holding Skylar Howard to 212 yards and forcing two interceptions. Ramon Richards seems to be playing better after a miserable couple of games.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Ben Grogan is one of the most reliable kickers OSU has ever had and Zach Sinor has put the defense in fantastic field position all year.
COACHING: Glenn Spencer just coached one of the best games of his career against his old pal Dana Holgorsen.
GAME PREVIEW ANALYSIS
Despite a thorough 37-20 dismantling of then 10th ranked West Virginia, the pokes come into Manhattan 3 point underdogs against the fighting Bill Snyder’s. The Wildcats have had an up and down season with some close wins and a heartbreaking close loss to WVU. They’re once again a stout defense with an average at best offense and they’re going to have to be much more dynamic against OSU if they hope to keep up with one of the best passing attacks in the country. This game will likely come down to whichever team can protect the ball the best, as both of these teams rely on turnovers. Oklahoma State relies on forcing them to get off the field and keep the defense from being over exposed, while KSU depends on turnovers to jump start the offense. Mason Rudolph doesn’t throw many picks and Jesse Ertz barely throws the ball, but he keeps it out of trouble. It might end up being that whichever stable of running back’s has the stronger hands will end up leading their team to hard fought close victory.
KANSAS STATE POSITION GROUP RATINGS
OFFENSIVE LINE: They rank 48th in the FBS rushing yards per game and tied for 55th in sacks allowed. They are a solid and experienced unit capable of shutting out a marginal OSU pass rush.
TIGHT ENDS: Dayton Valentine has 2 receptions this season so you could say that Snyder prefers to use them exclusively for blocking.
RUNNING BACKS: The committee approach seems to be working as they have 4 backs averaging 4.9+ yards per carry and a top 50 rushing offense.
QUARTERBACKS: Jesse Ertz is having a solid sophomore campaign thus far with only three interceptions and 13 total touchdowns. He won’t be able to beat the pokes through the air on his own but if he can hit a receiver in stride for a score just once it could open up the running game for his running backs.
WIDE RECEIVERS: This is a really weak group that can be a liability to their quarterback. If they can’t find a way to get open QB1’s jersey is going to get pretty dirty.
DEFENSIVE LINE: Good against the rush and decent at getting pressure on the quarterback. A solid unit top to bottom.
LINEBACKERS: They’re big and good at plugging the run but don’t quite have the speed to be great in coverage.
SECONDARY: They’ve held their own against the pass happy Big 12 and are good at limiting big plays.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Mathew McCrane is probably the best place kicker in the Big 12 and Nick Walsh is serviceable.
COACHING: Bill Snyder has been great for a million years and there’s just something magical about coaching in a stadium named after yourself.