No. 3 Oklahoma hopes for better outcome vs. Kansas State

NCAA Football

A year ago, Oklahoma came into Kansas State soaring.

The Sooners were 7-0 and ranked No. 5 before the 4-2 Wildcats jumped out to a 48-23 fourth-quarter lead before holding on through a furious comeback to finish off the upset, 48-41.

This year’s meeting comes much earlier in the season, as the No. 3 Sooners host Kansas State on Saturday in both teams’ Big 12 openers.

Oklahoma is coming off a 48-0 win over FCS Missouri State, while the Wildcats fell to Arkansas State 35-31.

The Sooners haven’t lost their conference opener since 2012, when Kansas State knocked them off. Kansas State hasn’t started 0-2 since 1989.

The teams are much different this time around than in last year’s game.

No one on Oklahoma’s current roster had a carry, threw a pass or had more than one reception in last year’s game.

Kansas State experienced significant turnover on the offensive line and across the defense.

“The teams are totally different,” Wildcats coach Chris Klieman said. “But the guys that played in the game, I hope, have some confidence that we had some success.”

Sooners defensive back Tre Norwood missed last season due to injury but said that game is definitely leaving an impression this week as Oklahoma prepares.

“It was just frustrating from the standpoint that it wasn’t necessarily that they beat us. We kind of beat ourselves,” Norwood said. “It was one of those type things that we didn’t play good as a whole.

“It was obviously frustrating.”

Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler had an impressive opener last week, throwing for 290 yards and four touchdowns on 14-of-17 passing.

Rattler’s throws looked effortless at times in his starting debut.

“He’s a confident thrower,” Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said. “He’s got really sound mechanics throwing the football and … if you were to draw it up, start from scratch, it kind of looks the way you think it probably should look.”

The Wildcats’ quarterback, Skylar Thompson, returns after scoring four touchdowns against the Sooners a year ago, though Thompson didn’t practice last week during the team’s bye after being banged up in the opener. Klieman said he was confident Thompson would be 100 percent this week.

While Thompson might be ready to go, how many other Wildcats will is unknown.

Klieman said the Wildcats were close before their season opener to one of the position-group thresholds the Big 12 set for game postponements due to coronavirus quarantines.

Klieman said Tuesday the Wildcats were close again at another position. Teams that have fewer than one quarterback, seven offensive linemen or four interior defensive linemen available can elect to postpone games this season.

“But in the meantime, the guys that are out there, we have to keep rolling in and you may be the backup, but the backup knows that he’s one day away from being the starter, the third-team guy’s one day away from being the starter,” Klieman said. “So it’s stressful. It’s anxiety, but everybody’s dealing with it.”

The Sooners also went down to the wire with those thresholds for their opener, though Riley said Monday he expected Oklahoma to be able to play this week.

–Field Level Media

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