You could just as easily say the pressure point could be the offensive line but we have said the offensive line too many times and it is an equal proposition when it comes to the run game. You might be surprised to see this and read the numbers, but Kansas is 86th in total defense allowing 424.8 yards a contest and the split is somewhat impressive, considering Kansas hasn't won a Big 12 contest since beating Iowa State in 2014, as the Jayhawks are allowing 197.2 yards per game rushing and 227.7 yards per game passing.
On only the rushing number are the Cowboys better, but also Kansas has played a soft nonconference schedule and Texas Tech, TCU, and Baylor in the league. Only Baylor is really pushing the rushing game on its offense.
Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich is quick to point out it is more how his offense plays and prepares. Nobody is counting on an easy contest in Lawrence. In fact, the last two trips to KU have had OSU winning 27-20 in 2014 and 20-14 in 2012.
"You have to maintain your focus and it's about how we play," Yurich said pushing an agenda of the offense striving to improve in all areas of their makeup. "We have to make sure we're on top of our game and we're carrying our assignments, that we're playing with urgency. All those things are important to get momentum and play to your strengths.
"We can't do too much, we had an off-week, so we're rested, but at the same time we have to make sure we're not installing too much. We have to maintain our base offense and go to those plays that have been working all year for us, but change it up enough to keep them off-kilter. A fast start is imperative, ball security is important and that starts at the line of scrimmage and goes to the receivers, quarterback and making sure we're staying on schedule and giving ourselves a chance to score and move the chains consistently."
Offensive center Brad Lundblade believes this is a great opportunity to improve the run game.
"We know they will play hard and they have several junior college players they have brought in on the defensive line and they are playing well," Lundblade said. "We need to improve ourselves. The run game is better but we aren't anywhere close to what we need to be. Justice (Hill) has proven he is elusive and and we had that big run against Iowa State by Jeff Carr, but we need to open up holes that lead to a lot more explosive plays like those.
Oklahoma State is averaging 129.7 rushing yards a game and last season that number was 126.8 yards, so better but only by a smidge. It's time to take that to a greater level and Kansas is a perfect challenge to get that done. Chris Carson is back and another hand to help out.
Of course, I think every Oklahoma State fan wants to see a runner get hot, get rolling, and turn it into a monster game. Can it happen Saturday in Lawrence is a great question?