Five elements of question for Saturday's OU game

With Oklahoma looking as strong as ever and the Wildcats struggling, this week's five key questions takes a look at elements of K-State's game that could have an impact for the rest of the season.

This week, it gets no easier for Kansas State. In fact, it couldn't get much harder because arguably the best team in the country is coming to town – the Oklahoma Sooners.

We all know what happened last season when the Wildcats met the Sooners – a dominating K-State victory to win the Big 12 Championship.

However, that was with Ell Roberson and a group of other great, proven Wildcats at the helm. And Oklahoma, well, very little has changed. The Sooners still have Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jason White leading the way. They still have a crop of receivers waiting to take their talent to the next level. They still play solid defense. And they've introduced true freshman running back Adrian Peterson into the mix to give the Sooners a potent running attack.

As for K-State, a lot has changed. K-State is still breaking in new sophomore quarterback Dylan Meier and learning how to cope with a depleted offensive line. But, perhaps the biggest difference is that K-State hasn't tackled anyone yet on defense and is still actually find a defense.

So with that in mind, here are five key elements of question to watch for in the game Saturday which kickoffs at 11 a.m. on ABC television:

 

  • Can K-State stop the run?

It will be a long day if the Wildcats can't slow down Peterson. This young guy is running through, over, and around defenses. I'm not sure K-State can stop him, but slowing him down might be doable. However, they'll have to play above their No. 66 ranked run defense up to this point. It will have to if the Wildcats have any chance at all to win the game. K-State can't allow OU to control the game clock with a ground attack. The key is to make White throw the ball to beat you – making the Sooners one-dimensional.

 

  • Will Meier step and be a leader?

Meier really got under my skin last week, unable to start the Kansas game because he didn't feel well. He was well enough to pass for 249 yards in the second half. How come he couldn't do it in the first half? Was it a miracle?

The actions of Meier did nothing but prove he still has some growing up to do and that he has yet to be leader to this point. I truly think Meier will be a great quarterback someday. He's already shown that he has the tools to do great things passing the ball. And if K-State is to have any chance on offense, they need Meier. But for everyone's sake, let's hope Meier's antics last week were a one-time thing because K-State really needs him to take control of the offense and lead.

 

I'm hoping that now without the burden of returning punts, Sproles can focus more on running the football and doing what he does best – making people miss en route to touchdowns. Sproles has had an up and down season so far, but maybe taking him off the punt return unit will lighten the load on him physically and mentally. His return muffs this season are only a result of over-thinking and now he can focus on his real job – tearing up Oklahoma again.

 

  • How will K-State head coach Bill Snyder scheme the game?

Though K-State's defense looked great last season against Oklahoma and Sproles produced over 300 yards of total offense, perhaps the best thing about the game was the way it was coached. Snyder out-coached OU's Bob Stoops in every way last season. It was like Snyder knew before what Stoops was going to do before he did it. For everything OU threw at the Wildcats, Snyder had an answer. With that in mind, I can't help but wonder if Snyder has something up his sleeve for this contest. Something tells me that Snyder hasn't shown his whole bag of tricks and that they might be focused on the game film from a year ago. It's all a chess match and I'll take Snyder all day over Stoops.

 

  • What will the offensive line do?

They have to show up. We've all seen them be great this season and then we've all seen them look atrocious at times too. They have to fight in the trenches to give Sproles a chance to break big plays. There can be no middle ground this week. They have to be great. A lot of the problem for Sproles has been the play of his line. Against Fresno State, Sproles had to break two tackles before even making it back to the line of scrimmage. That can't happen this week and OU's defensive front will be much better than what Fresno State could ever march out in front of K-State.

 


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