OSU-KSU: Key Match-ups & Prediction

Congratulations, Cowboys and Wildcats. In a conferecnce where the top team is plenty good enough to compete for a national championship and the top level of teams in the league are competitive, Oklahoma State and Kansas State are playing the top game in the Big 12 for the second year in a row.

Oklahoma and Texas did not decide the championship. Neither did West Virginia or the other newcomer TCU.

Last year, Oklahoma State survived Big 12 runner-up Kansas State 52-45. I think it is absolutely cool that the most important contest in football in the Big 12 for the second season in a row isn't played in Norman, Austin or Dallas, but was played last season in Stillwater and Manhattan this season.

This time, however, the roles are reversed with Kansas State looking at an unbeaten season and a possible berth in the BCS National Championship Game. Oklahoma State, in control of its conference destiny, is looking at a spoiler role in the game and a ticket as Big 12 champion to the Fiesta Bowl.

Key Match-ups
1. OSU Linebackers and Safeties
vs. KSU Quarterback Collin Klein
Klein is the man for Kansas State as he has been responsible for 2,254 yards and 28 touchdowns so far this season. He is averaging over seven yards every time he either runs or passes the football. He is the monster.

Oklahoma State did not fare well in its only go against a run/pass quarterback as Matt Scott of Arizona dominated. The Cowboys Shaun Lewis, Caleb Lavey and Alex Elkins and safeties Daytawion Lowe and Shamiel Gary must always know where Klein is and what he is up to. He is averaging 283 yards a game in total offense. If they can keep him pinned in at less than 200 yards that would help immensely.
Edge: KSU QB Collin Klein

2. OSU Fullback Kye Staley and Running Backs Joe Randle and Jeremy Smith
vs. KSU Weakside Linebacker Jonathan Truman or Nickel Back Randall Evans
Tre Walker is a huge leader and inspirational player on the Kansas State defense but he is injured and likely out for the season.

I spoke to the KSU sidelines reporter Matt Walters, who said it would be tough to replace Walker. That the duty fell on Truman, a slightly built replacement at weakside linebacker, and the Cats nickel back Randall Evans, who has waited for this opportunity on a regular basis and has been getting more of the snaps.
Edge: Staley, Randle and Smith

3. OSU Kicker/Punter Quinn Sharp
vs. KSU Kicker Anthony Cantele and Punter Ryan Doerr
Kansas State is averaging over 26 yards on punt returns and right at 24 yards on kickoff returns. Sharp needs to hit his field goals, but more importantly boom his kickoffs and punts to where Kansas State can't return anything, and if they do they are going to be throttled.

Oklahoma State is not as accomplished in returns with Justin Gilbert still waiting to break one while averaging 28.1 yards per kickoff return. Sharp has 48 of 58 touchbacks on kickoffs. Cantele has kicked 28-of-66 kickoffs for touchbacks.

Sharp averages 46.8 yards on punts and has boomed some high and long. Doerr is last in the Big 12 in punting at 39.9, and Charlie Moore is getting better.
Edge: OSU's Quinn Sharp

Prediction
Honestly, I've said since early in the summer, or maybe it was since the spring, that this would be the hardest game on the Cowboys schedule. I felt all along that Kansas State would be a threat to win the Big 12. They are now a threat to be national champion.

Kansas State has veteran leadership in quarterback Collin Klein, who has enough playmakers to make the Kansas State offense really stout. The defense led by middle linebacker Arthur Brown and safety Ty Zimmerman is careful and dependable.

Kansas State leads the Big 12 in tunrover margin, sacks, and is second in penalties against. The Wildcats just don't beat themselves and they really force opponents to play as clean and perfect as possible.

Head coach Bill Snyder has his entire team buying in. You have to ask yourselves how many games OSU has played this season where they would have been good enough to beat Kansas State. The answer is one, maybe two. They might have been good enough versus Iowa State or possibly the rout over Louisiana, but that is no guarantee.

I'm taking the Cowboys, but heads up, I always take the Cowboys if they have a reasonable shot. I think they have that shot, but they had better come with their best game of the season.

No. 24 Oklahoma State 31
No. 2 Kansas State 28
Week 10 Predictions
No. 12 Oklahoma 27, Iowa State 12

No. 24 West Virginia 35, TCU 28

Baylor 31, Kansas 21

No. 18 Texas Tech 42, No. 23 Texas 20

Last Week's Predictions
Oklahoma State 38, TCU 31
Actual Score: 36-14 OSU

No. 24 Texas 45, Kansas 20
Actual Score: 21-17 Texas

No. 4 Kansas State 28, No. 17 Texas Tech 20
Actual Score: 55-24 Kansas State

Iowa State 30, Baylor 28
Actual Score: 35-21 Iowa State

No. 7 Oklahoma 24, No. 5 Notre Dame 14
Actual Score: 30-13 Notre Dame

Last Week: 4-1 SU/3-2 ATS

Record: SU 45-8/ATS 30-14 (Games involving FCS teams don't have point spreads.)


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