No. 6 Oklahoma vs. Kansas State: Sooners Wire staff plus expert predictions

·10 min read

Everything is looking up for the Oklahoma Sooners coming into their week four matchup with the Kansas State Wildcats.

The Sooners are 3-0, with three 30-point wins. They’re coming off of an impressive road win over old rival Nebraska in an absolutely dominating week three performance.

Hosting the Wildcats in primetime, the Sooners have another opportunity to make a statement in the early part of the 2022 season. Kansas State is a solid football team and is well coached, but simply looking at the early returns, the Sooners are the better team on paper.

Of course, that’s typically been the case over the years, and the Wildcats have found a way, even recently, to throw a wrench in Oklahoma’s plans.

The Sooners and Wildcats have played several tight football games over the last three years, with Kansas State holding a 2-1 edge during the Chris Kleiman era with K-State.

However, it’s a new day in Norman. The Sooners are a different team with a different DNA. They’ve got a defensive coaching staff that’s shown an ability to slow down the opponent’s top player and make adjustments on the fly to better put the team in a position to win.

The Sooners are double-digit favorites to win this week, can they live up to expectations, or will they play another close contest with Kansas State? Let’s see what the experts had to say.

Offensive Line Leads the Way

Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Oklahoma Sooners tight end Jason Llewellyn (87) and Oklahoma Sooners tight end Daniel Parker (22) and Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman McKade Mettauer (72) and Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Andrew Raym (73) and Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) and Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Anton Harrison (71) and Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Savion Byrd (59) against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Brent Venables has handled his first head coaching job very smoothly so far. Things have gone well, and after navigating the non-conference part of their schedule 3-0, Oklahoma is just getting started.

His next opponent? His alma mater.

He played under the legendary Bill Snyder from 1991-1992 before his coaching career would take off. On Saturday, despite what story the paper says, Oklahoma will be tested by a Kansas State team that will compete for four quarters

Ultimately, Oklahoma’s speed and momentum win out as they kick off Big 12 play with a win under the lights. The offensive line plays well, and the Sooners rush for over 200 yards with rushing touchdowns by Eric Gray and Marcus Major.

Defensively, we see the Sooners pick off two Adrian Martinez passes while holding spark plug running back Deuce Vaughn in check. Reggie Grimes continues his monster start to the season with another sack.

Sooners win 38-17.

Check out more from Bryant with this week’s Keys to an Oklahoma Sooners victory.

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Oklahoma's Offense too much for Wildcats

Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Marvin Mims (17) stiff arms Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive back Marques Buford Jr. (1) during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

No team got to the Sooners at the end of the Lincoln Riley era, quite like the Kansas State Wildcats. K-State has won two of their last three against the Sooners, one of which was right here in Norman. Chris Klieman’s group is not to be taken lightly.

RB Deuce Vaughn led the Wildcats in both rushing and receiving yards in the previous matchup between these two teams. OU’s improved defense should do a better job at keeping Vaugn in check, but he is very difficult to bring down when he catches a ball out of the backfield.

Simply put: take away Vaughn, and the Kansas State offense has nothing to work with.

This K-State defense will be Jeff Lebby’s and the offense’s biggest challenge so far. This Wildcats group is a bit more stingy than Nebraska, ranking 21st in points per game and falling in the top ten in total defense.

Unlike Nebraska, K-State doesn’t have the offense to hang around with the Sooners. Their defense will keep the Sooners from making this a blowout, but OU’s firepower will just be too much for the Wildcats to keep up.

Sooners 35, K-State 17

Ben gets you ready for a big weekend of Big 12 football with his weekly Big 12 picks.

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Focused Sooners take care of business

Sept. 10, 2022; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Brent Venables reacts during the first quarter against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In the build-up to Oklahoma’s matchup with Kansas State, the refrain has been, “don’t sleep on Kansas State.”

I actually don’t think it’s possible for Brent Venables or a Venables-led team to take any opponent lightly. Especially not one that’s been a thorn in the side of the Oklahoma Sooners at different points in the last two decades.

The Sooners are the better team on paper and their focus and determination will allow that to play out on the field. It will be the toughest running game this Sooners defense has faced in 2022, but that’s about all the Wildcats’ offense offers.

In turn, it will also be the best defense Oklahoma has played so far, but it’s hard to determine just how good the Wildcats are based on their 2022 nonconference opponents. Wins over South Dakota and Missouri and a loss to Tulane put much of this into perspective.

Kansas State has several talented players in Deuce Vaughn, Cooper Beebe, and Felix Anudike-Uzomah, but the depth on both sides of the ball favors the Oklahoma Sooners.

Vaughn isn’t enough for the Kansas State offense as Brent Venables and Ted Roof come in with a plan to slow down one of the best players in the country.

Offensively, the Sooners have another strong and balanced day. Dillon Gabriel is much more precise this week, missing fewer throws, and continues to protect the football well, while the running game has another good day led by Eric Gray.

After playing a complete game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers a week ago, the Sooners continue their strong start to the season with another convincing win.

Oklahoma 42, Kansas State 17

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John gives you a look at the two teams with his weekly By the Numbers preview of the matchup.

Scroll below for predictions from national analysts on this game.

Athlon Sports likes the Sooners

Oklahoma running back Jovantae Barnes (2) plays against Nebraska during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Lincoln, Neb. Oklahoma defeated Nebraska 49-14. (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)

Steve Lassan, Ben Weinrib, and Mark Ross from Athlon Sports each picked the Oklahoma Sooners to beat the Kansas State Wildcats in their top 25 picks for week four.

Kansas State keeps it interesting, but Oklahoma prevails

Oklahoma running back Eric Gray (0) runs the ball against Nebraska during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)

Kansas State has a funky style that could make this interesting.

It’s not going to screw up, and it’s going to hold the ball for over 35 minutes. However, the OU defense is playing well, there’s absolutely no downfield passing attack coming from Martinez, and the balance of the Sooner offensive O should be too much to overcome. – Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Oklahoma 34, Kansas State 14

Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) passes against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

The Sooners have cruised through the first 3 weeks of the season against non-conference opponents, winning by a combined score of 127-30. QB Dillon Gabriel has been extremely efficient for Oklahoma thus far, completing 52 of his 78 passes for 759 yards and 7 TDs while he’s yet to throw an interception. – Skyler Carlin, Sportsbook Wire

Oklahoma comes away winners

Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Eric Gray (0) celebrates with wide receiver Theo Wease (10) after scoring a touchdown during the first half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Sooners will open Big 12 play against the Wildcats on Saturday. Oklahoma under first-year head coach Brent Venables hasn’t seen much of a challenge this season with three wins by a combined 97 points. Can Kansas State be the one to slow them down a bit? – Patrick Conn, College Wires Regional Editor

Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 17

Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Marcus Major (24) scores a touchdown during the first half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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. – James Parks, College Football HQ

Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 17

Sep 10, 2022; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Brent Venables walks before the game against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

I believe that Oklahoma announces themselves as the Big 12 frontrunner in this game with a resounding victory over a good K-State team. The key for this game is Oklahoma’s defense against Deuce Vaughn. If the Sooners can limit Vaughn offensively similarly to what Tulane did last week, they should prove to win this game handily. I expect Venables to force quarterback Adrian Martinez to throw in this game, which he has struggled with in 2022, and it leads to some costly turnovers. Offensively, this will be the first time that Dillon Gabriel will play meaningful snaps for Oklahoma in the fourth quarter and it shows up in the stat sheet and on the scoreboard. – Bryan Clinton, Heartland College Sports

Oklahoma 42, Kansas State 24

Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Gabe Ervin Jr. (22) gets tackled by Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Jaren Kanak (7) during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma’s defense has outperformed expectations and that’s not a good recipe for a Kansas State team that struggled mightily to move the ball on Tulane.

The Wildcats will rely on Vaughn getting 25 or more touches and flip field position with good special teams play.

Meanwhile, the Sooners got impactful play from Farooq and Wease, which could add more momentum to a wide receiving group that is the deepest core on the entire roster.

Although the Wildcats’ strategy can work for a while, I do not believe it can last. Oklahoma’s offense will overwhelm K-State’s defense, which has not seen a good offense this season. – Andrew Tineo, The Dallas Morning News

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire