November 02, 2012
In order for Oklahoma State to keep their Big 12 Championship hopes alive, Saturday's match up against the Kansas State Wildcats is an all-important game. For the Wildcats, this ranks among the biggest games in the Bill Snyder era. Never in Snyder's tenure have the Wildcats finished undefeated and played for a National Championship. This weekend the Oklahoma State Cowboys are going to try and keep it that way.
Three weeks ago nobody would have given the Cowboys a chance to steal this game. However, after three solid performances and a deeper understanding of the team's capabilities, more people have jumped on the upset band wagon. If you expect the Wildcats to be tamed easily think again, and in order for the Cowboy's to pull out a win there are a few numbers that should be watched closely. If Osu can win these key points Saturday, don't be surprised if they walk away with a victory.
I have come to the conclusion that Bill Snyder is the greatest coach I have ever seen in person. In his glorious tenure at Kansas State the "Silver Fox" has posted a record of 151-5 when leading at halftime for an astounding 97% winning percentage. It is essential for Osu's offense to get off to a fast start. If the Cowboys fall behind early expect a loss.
1.3% vs. 7.0%
Oklahoma States offensive line allows a QB sack on 1.3% of drop backs while the Kansas State defense sacks the QB 7% of the time. A QB sack is one of the most important plays of the game. It can lead to turnovers, injuries, and even kill drives. If the offensive line can produce a favorable ratio, the Cowboys should have success moving the ball.
In basketball these are called 50/50 balls. When the ball is put on the turf, usually, the teams that are in better position and out hustles the other team recover these fumbles. As of now, the Kansas State defense recovers 75% of all fumbles while Oklahoma State operates at about 50%.
The Kansas State offense is ranked number one in the nation in points per play. The Oklahoma State offense averages .46 points per play despite moving the ball better than the Wildcats. This number is a direct result of red zone scoring efficiency. The cowboys must convert red zone field goals to red zone touchdowns.
During Snyder's second tenure, the Wildcats have caused 13 turnovers and given up 22 turnovers in conference loses. This year the wildcats have turned the ball over only once in conference play while creating 14 turnovers. Thus, the turnover battle will play a huge role in the game and will more than likely determine the outcome.
Since 2005 only two teams have gone undefeated in conference play, and as we saw last year games get more difficult the longer a team stays undefeated. If Oklahoma State can win these few important aspects of the game don't be surprised to see the Cowboys give KSU their first loss of the year.
The Wildcats will be seeing the best defensive line they have faced all year. Barnett and Castleman have developed into game changing defensive tackles over the past three games. The Wildcats will face the most balanced offense they have faced all year. If the Cowboys can limit mistakes and play unaffected by the Manhattan faithful the game should come down to the last 5 minutes.
Expect Snyder's team to be prepared, but also expect Gundy's team to come out with an attitude and excitement for getting to play on national TV for the first time all year.
Prediction: Osu 34 Kansas State 31