"It will be a major challenge," said the Sooner coach. "They are doing a really good job of protecting the ball. I think they lead the league or maybe are second in the league in turnover margin. Defensively, they have been very disciplined, structured and good in how they have played. We know it's always a ruckus environment going up there to Manhattan. It will be a big challenge, but our players are excited about the opportunity."
The experts are making 7-0 and No. 10-ranked Kansas State the two touchdown underdog to 6-1 and No. 11 Oklahoma. Oh, and the game is being played at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
"I can't say the youngsters are not aware of that," said Snyder. "If you polled them, I would guess a small majority would say they like the underdog role. But once they're on the practice field, it's the last thing on their mind. I promise you that."
Of the Snyder vs. Stoops matchup, the elder coach said, "They're going to do what benefits them, and we're going to try to do exactly the same thing. There's nothing known about each other that would necessarily impact the outcome of the ballgame."
Awaiting K-State is the challenge of controlling OU's passing game of QB Landry Jones (2,589 yards, 21 TDs 65 percent completion rate) and a cast of receivers that includes Ryan Broyles (67 catches, 899 yards, 9 touchdowns).
OU QBs have been sacked just three times in 323 passing attempts. For K-State to add to that total, Snyder said, "We have done a better job in terms of our pass rush. That has not always resulted in sacks, but I believe we are ahead of where we were last year. I think we disrupt throws sometimes. That helps our secondary and our pass coverage. I think our youngsters are good about being where they are supposed to be. Our discipline in the back end has been good."
K-State's 2003 Big 12 Championship trophy went from the normal trophy case into a place of prominence of the Vanier lobby this week.
On whether that win of eight years ago would have an impact in 2011, Snyder simply said, "If they're talking about that, we're a lost cause."
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES:
Last year, K-State allowed 446 yards per game, which included 231 rushing yards per game and 5.9 per carry. This year the ‘Cats are allowing 337 yards per game, which includes just 94 on the ground and 3.0 per carry.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
• NO. 4 Arthur Brown
continues to lead the Wildcats in tackles with 53, which includes 5.5 for negative yards.
• NO. 7 Collin Klein
ranks fifth in the Big 12 in rushing with 95.7 yards per game, while his 14 rushing touchdowns leads the league.
• NO. 16 Tyler Lockett
has scored a touchdown on a kickoff return – 100 and 97 yards – in the last two games, which is an all-time Kansas State first. Lockett is this week's Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week.
• NO. 42 MESHACK WILLIAMS
scored a pair of quarterback sacks against Kansas and now has six for the year to lead the team.
• NO. 12 LANDRY JONES,
OU's 6-4, 229-pound junior QB, has a school-record seven 400-yard passing games in his career. He is averaging 370 passing yards per game with 21 TDs and 7 interceptions.
• NO. 8 Dominique Whaley
rushes for 104 yards per game with nine touchdowns. His yardage ranks second in the league.
• NO. 85 RYAN BROYLES
has caught a league-high 67 passes for a 13.4 average with a Big 12-best nine touchdowns. He averages 128 receiving yards per game. For his career, Broyles has an NCAA record 333 receptions and 44 touchdowns.
• NO. 28 Travis Lewis
leads the Sooners with 51 tackles.
• NO. 84 Frank Alexander
has scored 7.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage from his defensive end position.