Videos by OutKick
1. Trevor be thy name: Is this the week that starting QB/Captain/Sophomore/Sugar Bowl MVP Trevor Knight finds his mojo, relaxes and flips the switch to help the Sooner offense get untracked? Knight is not a natural, pocket passer and needs to use his legs to create. OU can’t reach the Promised Land with its QB completing 55 percent of his passes and by not using all of his skills. Let’s be clear, the issues with Oklahoma’s offense do not fall entirely on #9’s shoulders but he’s the first place everyone looks for the solution.
2. Where’s the O-Line P&V? This massive group needs to regain their aggression and dominate the line of scrimmage as they did earlier in the season. We’re talking $2 steak tough here. The Wildcat front seven will drop their Spaulding’s and hopefully the Sooners will reciprocate and drop theirs. If OU’s offensive line can consistently win their wars Saturday, the Sooners win the game.
3. Discipline: Kansas State has been penalized only 20 times the entire season, the best of all the Power 5 conference teams. Snyder’s teams don’t self destruct and they come to Norman knowing that the ‘Cats are still in the hunt for the Big 12 Title and that they can win in Norman as they proved two years ago. Of those 20 penalties, the KSU defense has accounted for only 4 of those mistakes.
4. Tyler Lockett: The dangerous, Wildcat wide receiver from Tulsa Washington High School torched OU last year for 440 all purpose yards including 278 receiving yards from QB Jake Waters who’s back at the helm. The Sooner defense is allowing 342 passing yards in Big 12 play and will no doubt be targeted Saturday. Why wouldn’t K-State attempt to exploit the Sooner pass defense?
5. Defensive playmakers: Striker, Tapper, Sanchez, Phillips, etc must have productive games and make K-State’s excellent QB Jake Waters visit to Norman as unpleasant as possible. Containing the athletic QB is imperative and not allowing Waters the room to run, especially around end, or the time to throw from his ‘spot’ are critical.
6. Special teams: Alex Ross’ kickoff return for a touchdown and the leg of Michael Hunnicutt helped bail the Sooners out in the Cotton Bowl in the Texas win and getting something out of the special teams can be the difference again this Saturday. That also includes containing the ‘quicker than a hiccup’ Lockett who had 162 kickoff return yards against OU last year in Manhattan.
7. Home-field advantage: If ever there was a time for the OU faithful to be loud, proud and borderline obnoxious it is this week. The 11 am kickoff may not be conducive for some to become emotionally invested but dig deep and help make a difference. Wear shades and pretend it’s a night game.
The Vegas line opened with OU a 12-point favorite and has been worked down to OU -7.5 against Bill Snyder’s crew, which the wager friendly folks apparently love. KSU control the ball and they convert 51 percent of its third downs. OU must be able to get the ‘Cats off the field while the OU offense has to move the chains. This game will be a genuine Slobber Knocker that has no gray area … the Sooners must win the game to stay in the hunt for the Final Four of college football.
Prediction: OU 24 KSU 21
Jim Ross @JRsBBQ
You can follow Jim Ross on Twitter @JRsBBQ, listen to him on the Ross Report Podcast, and see him live atRINGSIDE: An Evening with Jim Ross. JR’s products are also available online at wweshop.com,americansoda.co.uk and beyondtheropes.co.uk