Setting the stage: OU at KSU

KSU is looking for its fifth win in a row. Bob Stoops is searching for history. Breaking down the matchup between the Sooners and Wildcats.

SoonersIllustrated.com is going to set the stage every week breaking down Oklahoma's game during the 2013 season.

No. 20 Oklahoma (8-2, 5-2) at Kansas State (6-4, 4-3)

When: 11 a.m. CST

OU's biggest question going into the game

What weapons will Trevor Knight have at his disposal? Injuries, suspensions are limiting what the OU offense is going to be able to do this weekend.

This isn't an offense that was putting up major numbers to begin with so any limitations make the task all that much more difficult.

Seniors Damien Williams and LaColtan Bester both are expected not to play this weekend, while it appears sophomore wide receiver Sterling Shepard should return after missing last week.

Add in those distractions to the fact this will be Knight's first start on the road, and it could be a recipe for disaster for the Sooners or the start of Knight slowly separating himself from the rest of the pack in the quarterback competition.

"He won the job, not because he can run the football, but because we thought he could be an efficient passer," co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. "He could be a great one before it's all said and done. We expect him to go up there and play well, running the football and passing it as well."

Knight still hasn't shown the ability to be a consistent passer. It will be interesting to see if the weather affects the game plan at all. As of now the forecast is for it to simply be cold. That is fine. As long as there is no wind, it shouldn't hamper the passing game.

KSU's biggest question going into the game

Will the improved quarterback play allow for a big game from John Hubert? The Wildcats had early quarterback issues during the season in trying to find consistency with Jake Waters or Daniel Sams.

It has happened as KSU has rattled off four consecutive victories and made itself bowl eligible after a rough start.

"I think most teams, you would like to think get better as the season goes on," defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "Their quarterbacks being new, you can see them becoming more comfortable with their roles on the team. Their confidence as players has picked up."

But Hubert is somebody who is just as crucial to the Wildcats' success. He has rushed for 731 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging more than five yards per carry.

Sams has rushed for a team-high 784 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.

Quotable

"I think everyone gets more comfortable as the year goes on. Players see things and react quicker and better. We're more comfortable as a team and guy's roles have been defined more thoroughly. It really hasn't changed a whole lot from the beginning to where we are now. Guys have done a nice job and I like the direction." – OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops on the defensive improvement throughout the season

Breakout player

The final visit OU freshman linebacker Dominique Alexander took was to Kansas State. His ties to the Wildcats via former high school teammates almost had him donning the purple instead of the crimson and cream. But he stuck with the Sooners. He's more comfortable, and he'll make an impact against the Wildcats on Saturday.

Prediction

OU 24, KSU 22. The task got tougher this week with the one-game suspensions to running back Damien Williams and wide receiver LaColtan Bester, but Knight is able to pull it out during his first road start. The return of Sterling Shepard gives Knight his top two options, while Brennan Clay puts together another solid outing to give OU's its ninth win of the season and Bob Stoops the all-time record for wins at OU.


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