A pair of old conference rivals meet up in Norman as No. 6 Oklahoma hosts Kansas State in the Big 12 opener in college football's Week 4 game on Saturday.
Oklahoma comes in a perfect 3-0 following a statement rout over rival Nebraska, while K-State started off 2-0 with a big win over Missouri but a close loss at home to Tulane.
Here's what you need to know about this weekend's matchup.
Oklahoma vs. Kansas State football preview, prediction
How to watch
When: Sat., Sept. 24
Time: 8 p.m. Eastern
TV: Fox network
Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Odds, point spreads, betting lines
Line: Oklahoma -12
Moneyline: OU -568 KSU +370
FPI pick: Oklahoma 84.3%
What you need to know
1. Oklahoma's skill pieces. They're second to none. Sooner quarterback Dillon Gabriel has passed for 759 yards and 7 TDs in 3 games, and is yet to throw an INT while rushing for 65 yards and 2 scores. Eric Gray leads a ground attack good for 235 ypg, 5.5 ypc, and 3 TDs per game. Marvin Mims is over 100 ypg receiving. All 3 lead a unit that scored 17 TDs, but with only 5 of those drives lasting longer than 2 minutes. OU has gained at least 200 rushing yards and 200 passing yards in 2 of 3 games this season.
2. K-State playing OU well recently. Looking over the last few years, the Wildcats have played some of their more inspired football against the Sooners. KSU has taken 2 of the last 3 in this series and played to a close 6-point loss last season. In 2019, the Wildcats beat 5th ranked OU by 7 despite losing 2 of their previous 3 that season, and in 2020 K-State upset 3rd ranked Oklahoma after losing to Arkansas State the previous week. Once again, Kansas State comes to Norman off a confusing loss, to Tulane. History suggests OU could be walking into a trap game of sorts.
3. Deuce. Wildcats running back Deuce Vaughn will be one of the 5 best skill threats OU faces this year. The centerpiece of Kansas State's offensive gameplan, he scored 22 TDs last season, boasting dual threat capacity with power on the inside and escapability on the outside, plus a proven receiving threat who can work in space and get yards after the catch. OU has fared well against him: he had 51 rush yards in this game last season and 35 the year before. But he was over 100 yards receiving in both matchups.
Oklahoma vs. Kansas State: Fast Facts
+ KSU has allowed just 9.7 points per game and is 2nd nationally with 7 INT
+ OU has won 8 of its last 9 Big 12 openers, its last 10 home games, and 28 of its last 29
+ KSU runs for 239.3 yards per game, 12th nationally and 2nd in Big 12
+ Sooners rank 1st nationally with 32 tackles for loss
+ The last 3 OU-KSU games were decided by 5.3 points on average
+ Oklahoma has run 22 fewer plays than opponents but is 16th with 7.2 yards per play and 11th allowing 4.1
+ K-State has allowed 18.9 ppg on average since last season
+ Brent Venables teams have won 10 games in 22 of 26 years
+ Kansas State is 11-15 all-time in Big 12 road openers
+ 5 of OU's 17 TD drives took longer than 2 minutes
+ Wildcats are 3rd best nationally since 2012 among Power 5 teams with 1.2 turnovers per game
+ OU has outscored opponents 35-7 in the 1st qtr and 52-0 in the 3rd
+ KSU is plus-6 in turnover margin this year (7 INTs, 1 lost fumble)
+ Oklahoma has won 80 straight games when holding opponents to 23 or fewer points
+ Kansas State allowed 8 plays of 20-plus yards this year, 2nd-least in Big 12
+ Sooners are 72-3 when scoring 40 points since 2012
Oklahoma vs. Kansas State Prediction
The key for Oklahoma's defense is to corral Deuce Vaughn, and limit his ability to get into space and earn yards after contact and after the catch.
Tulane did an admirable job last week, holding Vaughn to under 100 yards rushing for the first time in 9 games and kept him out of the end zone for the first time in 10 appearances.
Kansas State plays good enough defense in all phases, but shows its greatest potential in the back seven when the ball is in the air.
The unit has been able to paper over some of the Wildcats' offensive struggles, but that plan may fall through going against the likes of OU's targets and Dillon Gabriel's dynamic style of play.
Transfer quarterback Adrian Martinez is playing turnover-free football for K-State, running for 2 scores as the team's second-best rusher, but has just 1 passing TD and was a meager 9 for 20 against Missouri. A skilled pass rush - like, say, Oklahoma's - can throw him out of rhythm with some ease.
Vaughn will pepper in some decent gainers, and Martinez can run for a score, but the Sooners' collection of perimeter speed and power behind the line are a grade above the Wildcats' collective threat at the same positions.
College Football HQ Prediction: Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 17
College football rankings
According to AP top 25 poll
- Ohio State
- Oklahoma State
- NC State
- Penn State
- Ole Miss
- Wake Forest
- Texas A&M