College Football Pick’em
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No. 6 Oklahoma starts Big 12 play by hosting Kansas State on Saturday night in what has become a trap game for the Sooners in recent years. The Brent Venables era is off to a solid start in Norman, however, following blowout wins over UTEP, Kent State and Nebraska. The Sooners dominated the Cornhuskers 49-14 on the road behind 312 yards rushing on nearly six yards per carry.
Strangely, Kansas State became the fourth straight opponent to lose the week before playing Oklahoma as the Wildcats dropped a shocker to undefeated Tulane in Week 3. K-State scored a field goal as time expired in the first half, but posted just 141 yards in the second half despite nabbing two interceptions. The performance came just one week after dropping 40 points on Missouri.
Oklahoma edged Kansas State last season 37-31 thanks to two second-half touchdown passes from Spencer Rattler. The Sooners also hold a dominant 77-21-4 advantage all time. However, Kansas State has won two of the last three matchups, including a 38-35 win the last time these teams played in Norman.
Disruptive defense: When Venables took over, there was little doubt the Sooners would put a new premium on defensive play. In a dominant win over Nebraska, the Sooners showed off all sorts of tricks to make the Cornhuskers’ offensive drives a living hell. Four different players recorded sacks, while defensive linemen Ethan Downs and Jonah Laulu were each credited with multiple tackles for loss. Kansas State’s offensive line will be a different challenge, but OU can make life difficult.
Deuce is loose: The most underrated player in the country stars in Manhattan, Kansas. Running back Deuce Vaughn posted 1,404 yards rushing, 468 yards receiving and 22 total touchdowns in a breakout sophomore season. With 388 all-purpose yards and three scores through three games, Vaughn is already back on track to match those lofty numbers. Kansas State is willing to move Vaughn all over the field to create mismatches, including out to slot receiver, making him one of the most unique playmakers in the sport.
Easy transition back: Quarterback Dillon Gabriel picked Oklahoma as his transfer destination to team back up with offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby, his former OC at UCF. Three games in, the transition has been easier than anyone could have expected. Gabriel has thrown for at least 230 yards and two touchdowns in each of his three starts. He has a pair of rushing scores, too, including a career-long 61-yard scamper a week ago. Gabriel has built a strong connection with future NFL receiver Marvin Mims, who is nearly halfway to his 2021 stats just three games into the season.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 24 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium — Norman, Oklahoma
TV: Fox | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Kansas State has quietly played Oklahoma better than anyone since Chris Klieman took over the program in 2019. The Wildcats beat OU each of Klieman’s first two seasons, and played the Sooners to within a score in 2021. There was optimism that this could be the best team of Klieman’s tenure, but an inexplicable loss to Tulane put a damper on that. Still, expect the Wildcats to keep the game within two scores. Prediction: Kansas State +13
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