It wasn’t pretty, but OSU got the job done in nonconference play, polishing off Boise State last weekend in a 21-20 win to improve to 3-0 heading into league play this weekend against Kansas State.
Now things figure to get a little more tricky. Kansas State’s a good team that’s got a good win under its belt already over Stanford. But, like OSU, the Wildcats are a tad banged up, namely at quarterback with Skylar Thompson out indefinitely.
It’s a pretty even matchup on paper but OSU being at home with the better defense, better quarterback and better odds of winning are among the reasons our team likes OSU in this one. Our predictions are below.
Pick: Oklahoma State 28, Kansas State 21
Thoughts: Going into the year, I was predicting OSU would lose this game because of how stingy K-State can be and Mike Gundy’s lackluster 8-8 record in conference openers. But somehow with OSU performing worse than I expected to start this season, I’m now predicting an OSU win. This matchup is similar to last season in that Will Howard played in place of Skylar Thompson, and the Cowboys were all sorts of banged up. OSU won that game in Manhattan, so surely they can pull off a similar feat in Boone Pickens Stadium.
Pick: Oklahoma State 24, Kansas State 17
Thoughts: Oklahoma State figured some things out against Boise State in the running game by necessity. With receivers Tay Martin, Langston Anderson and Jaden Bray out, the Cowboys had to run it well and indeed did, rushing for 249 yards as a team with Jaylen Warren accounting for 218 on 32 carries. But OSU may need a different attack this week: Kansas State is allowing just 54.7 yards rushing per game on the season — that ranks sixth nationally. I expect this game might be a slog in which OSU starts slow on offense but finds a way, as it does, by winning the field position game, playing good special teams and defense, and getting just-enough on offense to escape with a close W.
Pick: Oklahoma State 28, Kansas State 23
Thoughts: The Cowboys should have the edge behind center and on defense, but Kansas State is an offense that has run the ball on every team it’s played so far — and that includes a pair of Power 5 teams in Stanford and Vandy. The Cowboys will need to play a clean game and replicate some of the the ground game success they displayed on the blue field last week. If they can avoid becoming one-dimensional in their offense for the first time this year — which I’m banking on with this pick — I think the Pokes come out on top.
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