The Oklahoma Sooners are two games back of Baylor for the conference crown. They can’t win it outright, but can force a four-way tie. The Sooners need some help, but also need to take care of their own business, starting with a visit to Bill Synder Stadium as they face the Kansas State Wildcats on Nov. 23.
Bob Stoops has lost two games this year, after losing three last season. The Sooners lost to the Texas Longhorns and Baylor Bears, both by double digits, but with a little help, can earn a share of yet another Big 12 title, leading the BCS computers to vote in the team to represent the conference in the BCS.
After losing three straight to drop to 2-4, the Wildcats have won four in a row, three of which coming at home. Sophomore kicker Jack Cantele kicked the game-winning field goal to send K-State to a 33-31 victory over TCU on Nov. 16.
Even before then, the Wildcats were playing well. Despite losing three straight, it came against the top three of the Big 12, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas, by a combined 24 points and never losing by more than 10.
Kansas State would go on to defeat West Virginia, Iowa State and upset then No. 25 Texas Tech in Lubbock.
One of Stoops’ three losses last season came during week 4 when No. 15 K-State shocked No. 6 Oklahoma in Norman 24-19 on ABC. Duel-threat quarterback Colin Klein was a force as the Sooners defense couldn’t find enough stops to win.
Enter younger brother Mike Stoops, this season’s defensive coordinator, and no Klein, and the Sooners have a great shot of remaining in the conference race come Saturday.
The Sooners rank 19th in the nation in allowing just 20.1 points per game; that number decreased as Oklahoma defeated Iowa State 48-10 on Nov. 16.
Junior quarterback Blake Bell left early with an apparent concussion, but freshman quarterback Trevor Knight, who started the season, came in and led a furious rushing attack, finishing with 405 yards, most ever under Stoops.
Senior running back Damien Williams led the charge with 128 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns. Knight added 123, including a 56-yard touchdown to start the fourth. Fellow senior Brennan Clay added a 63-yard score in the third and finished with 86 yards on seven carries. Williams rushed for a 69-yarder to open the second half for the go-ahead score, for the Sooners their first lead at 17-10.
The win marked the 157th for Stoops, tying him with Barry Switzer for the school record.
While the Sooners are third in the Big 12 in points allowed, the Wildcats are fourth in allowing 23 a game. K-State allows fewer yards on the ground than Oklahoma and both teams are tied with 11 interceptions, so it may come down to the passing game.
No. 20 Oklahoma allows 182.8 per game, K-State allows 233, but the Sooners know all too well their problems in the passing department.
Bell has been ruled out with a concussion, so Knight will get his first start in nearly two months. Sophomore Kendal Thompson will be the backup.
If the Sooners can find ways to get the ball down field through the air, as the run game will be there, Oklahoma will have a great chance at winning.
The Sooners have to worry about themselves and take care of business, but need help to have ANY chance of a BCS bowl.
Oklahoma State will have to defeat Baylor this week and Texas will need to lose at home to Texas Tech on Nov. 28. On Dec. 7, Texas will need to defeat Baylor (Baylor also has TCU left) and Oklahoma will need to beat Oklahoma State at Bedlam in Stillwater. IF all of that happens, it will come down to who has the highest BCS rank between the four schools when it comes to a BCS bowl, most likely the Fiesta Bowl or Sugar Bowl.