A final look at the Oklahoma Sooners games against Kansas State

Sooners need a statement bounce back performance against the Wildcats

SoonersIllustrated.com is going to set the stage every week, breaking down Oklahoma’s upcoming game during the 2014 season.

No. 19 Oklahoma Sooners (4-1, 1-1) at Kansas State Wildcats (3-2, 0-2)

When: 2:30 a.m.

Biggest question - - How will Oklahoma rebound from its first loss?

Does anything else really matter at this point? Oklahoma has to be better against Kansas State than it was against Texas or the Sooners could be in for a long season – and a murderous November.

Oklahoma still controls its own destiny but can’t afford another loss. The Sooners should head into November with a record of 8-1. The manner in which they make it there is key. Lincoln Riley has to find rhythm within the offense, and Mike Stoops needs to get the defense in order – maybe making a starting safety change before too long.

The one stat going for Oklahoma is that since Bob Stoops’ first year with the Sooners, they haven’t lost back-to-back regular season games. That’s a string of more than 30 regular-season losses.

As a secondary question: Can Oklahoma defend the pop pass? Kansas State will use it plenty.

An educated guess: Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield throws for more than 300 yards, three players have more than 70 receiving yards and five players have more than 50.

Kansas State’s secondary presents a great opportunity for the passing game to re-find its mojo. The pass rush isn’t electric or overly dynamic, which could also give the offensive line a chance.

But the competition isn’t easy by any standard.

Mayfield spreads the ball around pretty early with a couple bubble screens, and running back Joe Mixon finishes with more than 70 yards receiving too. It’s a test that Oklahoma needs and one that it passes.

Player to watch

It has to be Samaje Perine because the offensive line has to start to make a push upfront. This is the gut-check game for the Sooners, espeically when it comes to both of the lines. Perine has become sort of an afterthought through the first five games, this is where OU leans on Perine to get it through a tough battle to set up winning situations for Mayfield instead of scrambling for his life on third-and-long. (Przybylo)

Predictions

Hite – Predicting a sluggish first quarter and a halftime deficit for Oklahoma is hardly going out on a limb with the way these two teams have played in the first half dozen games (or so) of the season. Kansas State takes a two-score lead into halftime, but Oklahoma scores on its opening drive of the second half and closes the gap by the end of the third quarter. It’s a dogfight to the very end. Oklahoma, 42, Kansas State 38

Przybylo - It's now or never for OU and for this group of seniors and leaders. They've said all the right things this week about not duplicating what happened in 2014, but this will be the time to actually see if it leads to anything. OU has to make a statement with its lines and force a couple of turnovers. It will get at least one turnover to help pull out a 23-19 win. It won't be pretty, but it will be oh so necessary.


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