PREVIEW: No. 15 K-State vs. No. 6 Oklahoma

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Norman, Okla., will be the site for the 2012 Big 12 opener between the 3-0 Wildcats and 2-0 Sooners. The game could shape up to be one of dueling quarterbacks with Collin Klein at K-State and Landry Jones at Oklahoma.

All the numbers point to an Oklahoma win: OU has dominated the series 71-17-4; Bob Stoops is 7-1 against Bill Snyder; the Sooners are 78-3 under Stoops in home games; OU is 7-0 in home Big 12 openers under Stoops; and on, and on, and on.

But that was also true in 2003 at the Big 12 title game when Kansas State stunned what many believed to be one of the best teams in college football history, 35-7.

So, what would it take for a Wildcat victory in Saturday's 6:50 p.m. kickoff at Gaylor Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium?

OFFENSIVELY:
On the key to victory Wildcat QB Collin Klein says, "I would say a collective effort. We cannot turn the ball over and cannot to tree-and-out. We are going to need to execute, protect well and make some plays. We cannot do just one thing. It has to be everything working."

Statistics are somewhat meaningless this early in the year, but numbers that are sticking with K-State this week are those of the first quarter last week against North Texas: six … yes, only six offensive plays for negative-1 yard.

Coach Bill Snyder blamed the slow start on taking the Mean Green for granted, which will not take place this week.

The Wildcats will put its running game of 252 yards against OU's run defense that allowed 134 yards, and its pass game of a league-low 203 yards per game against a Sooner pass defense that ranks second in the league allowing 111 yards per game.

Keys to victory will be winning the time of possession by five or six minutes, but mix in two or three 40-plus yard plays, preferably for touchdowns, with its ball-control format.

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"We just have to prepare our tools the best we can and then be ready to make some adjustments on the fly," said Klein. Worth noting on offense is the fact that the offensive line has not been penalized this season for either a hold or a false start.

Worth watching on offense is whether B.J. Finney is up to full speed at his center position after being injured last week.

DEFENSIVELY:
Last week North Texas completed 25-of-28 passes on K-State, but for an average of just 7.4 yards per attempt. That same short-range package has been OU's story in passing averaging a modest 7.8 yards per attempt.

On controlling OU QB Landry Jones, KSU safety Jarard Milo said, "He's a great quarterback and there's not too much you can do about it. We'll just come out with our best game plan and try to execute."

While not a factor in last year's game where OU scored the game's final 44 points and Jones passed for 505 yards and five touchdowns, Milo said, "Last year was last year."

Landry is completing passes at a 62 percent rate this season with four touchdowns and 237 yards per game.

Balancing that attack is a 1-2 rushing punch of starter Dominque Whaley and his backup Damien Williams. Ironically, it's Williams that leads the Big 12 and ranks seventh nationally averaging 129 yards per game and a Big 12-high five touchdowns

Keys to victory will be stopping OU's run game that averages 277 yards per game and 7.1 yards per carry and not allowing the long-ball for scores.

Worth noting on defense is that K-State's Adam Davis leads the Big 12 with 1.0 sack per game and ranks second in tackles for losses with 3.5 for the season. As a team, K-State has a league-high of eight QB sacks.

Worth watching is whether Arthur Brown is up to full speed at linebacker after injuring an ankle last week.

SPECIAL TEAMS:
Make a video of how the Wildcats and Sooners work their return games.

K-State leads the Big 12 with averages of 32.0 yards on kickoff returns and 36.2 on punt returns, while Oklahoma is second on kickoff returns at 29.0 and third in punt returns at 22.0.


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