Early Analysis: Oklahoma State vs. Kansas State

No. 24 Oklahoma State at No. 2 Kansas State
Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ABC
Line: KSU -9.5

This is going to sound odd, but Kansas State has improved substantially from a year ago, a season in which the Wildcats won 10 games.

Whereas K-State was winning last year by the skin of its teeth with a healthy dose of smoke and mirrors, Bill Snyder’s team is truly outclassing opponents this season. Last year, KSU outscored opponents by an average of four points per game; this year, the Wildcats’ average margin of victory is 27 points. Last year, opponents gained nearly a full yard more per offensive play; this year, KSU is generating 2 yards more per play than opponents.

If you’re still a Purple Kansas skeptic, time to admit the Wildcats are running out of games to lose. Fortunately for you, OSU might have the talent to pull off an upset.

For Oklahoma St. to Win: KSU feasts on opponents’ mistakes. Interceptions, fumbles, sloppy special teams – if you screw up, the Wildcats are always ready to pounce. Avoiding mistakes might not be enough for OSU to win, but making more than a handful will ensure a loss.

For Kansas St. to Win: Wes Lunt, the true freshman who will be under center for OSU, has loads of potential and little experience. Last week was Lunt’s first week back following a knee injury in the Pokes’ third game of the season. This will be just his second road start, and the first one at Arizona didn’t go so well. If KSU pressures Lunt into mistakes, it could make for a long night in Manhattan for OSU.

Key Player, Oklahoma St.: Lunt. The best way for the Cowboys to sneak out with a win might be to try to turn this game into a track meet. OSU coach Mike Gundy probably has no choice but to put this game on his rookie QB’s shoulders

Key Player, Kansas St.: Linebacker Arthur Brown. The Wildcats have college football’s MVP at quarterback, but Brown isn’t too far behind Collin Klein in terms of value to KSU’s team. With OSU’s high-powered offense coming to town, Bill Snyder will be counting on Brown to quarterback the D and get the ball back enough for Klein to go to work.

Key Stat: -2. KSU nearly upset the eventual Big 12 champions last year stealing the ball away a total of four times. OSU’s turnover margin of -2 for the game let KSU hang tight until the final gun, as the Wildcats nearly derailed the Cowboys’ BCS bowl bid.

About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.