Kansas State continues to improve under head coach Bill Snyder, who has not forgotten about last year’s humiliating 55-0 loss against the Sooners. The Wildcats were at a significant disadvantage due to a number of key injuries, but Snyder’s resurgent squad arrives in Norman this season with the manpower (and talent) to pull off the outright upset.
The Wildcats’ strength is on the defensive side of the ball where they are allowing just 17.6 points per game and 310 total yards at 5.0 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.8 yards per play against a mediocre defensive squad.
Kansas State’s stout front seven has been 1.1 yards per play better than average against the run (2.7 yards per rush attempt to a group of running backs that would combine to average 3.8 yards per play), while the secondary has been 0.7 yards per pass attempt better than average.
Kansas State’s stop unit has held all six of its opponents to season-low yardage, but the Wildcats will be tested by a potent Oklahoma attack that has been 1.7 yards per play better than average (7.1 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.4 yards per play).
The Sooners should have success moving the chains, but the issue is whether Oklahoma’s underperforming defense will get enough stops against an improved Kansas State offense.
The Wildcats are averaging 34.2 points and 344 total yards per game at 10.1 yards per point against teams that would combine to allow just 12.9 yards per point. Kansas State’s ground game is averaging a healthy 5.0 yards per rush attempt, which is good enough to move the ball against an Oklahoma defense that is yielding 4.8 yards per rush attempt at home, 461 total yards at 6.2 yards per play in its last three games and 469 total yards at 6.0 yards per play versus conference opponents.
My math model favors Oklahoma by less than ten points and the Wildcats are 17-5 ATS as road underdogs, including a perfect 8-0 ATS as double-digit underdogs. The visitor is a surprising 6-1 SU and 7-0 ATS in this series, and Kansas State is 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS in its last three trips to Norman.
The fact that the Wildcats are playing with legitimate revenge from last year’s 55-0 loss is significant in that they are 9-2 ATS with conference revenge and 5-0 ATS in their last five conference games when getting 10+ points. Take Bill Snyder and his underrated Wildcats on Saturday!