By Shehan Jeyarajah
No. 20 Oklahoma (8-2, 5-2) at Kansas State (6-4, 4-3)
Oklahoma was largely eliminated from the Big 12 title discussion on Nov. 7 after getting embarrassed by No. 5 Baylor in Waco. Since then, Oklahoma is coming off of a 48-10 dismantling of the Iowa State Cyclones last Saturday in Norman, Okla. Freshman quarterback Trevor Knight accumulated 184 all-purpose yards and a rushing touchdown.
The Sooners are led by a strong rushing game that ranks top 20 in the country and second in the Big 12 with 236.4 yards on the ground per game.
The Sooner defense has also been one of the stingiest in the country, giving up 326.4 yards per game and 20.1 points per game.
Junior starting quarterback Blake Bell was taken out of the Iowa State game with a concussion, so Knight will start his first game since Sept. 7 against West Virginia.
After losing three straight games to start Big 12 play, Kansas State has looked like a completely different team.
Last week against TCU, sophomore kicker Jack Cantele kicked K-State to a 33-31 win. The win was Kansas State’s fourth straight.
Sophomore quarterback Daniel Sams and junior quarterback Jake Waters have combined for 2,142 passing yards, 1,080 rushing yards and 29 all-purpose touchdowns while splitting time at quarterback.
The duo of quarterbacks has led K-State to 407.5 yards per game offensively. K-State also has a top 40 defense in the FBS.
The Wildcats hold opponents to 370.9 yards per game and 23.3 points per game.
The Kansas State defense will be hindered without safety Ty Zimmerman, out with an ankle injury.
In their last matchup, No. 15 Kansas State beat No. 6 Oklahoma 24-19 in Norman behind 130 rushing yards from senior running back John Hubert.
With a win, Kansas State could pull into a tie with Oklahoma for fourth in the conference. These two teams match up against each other well, so it should be a tight game up in Manhattan, Kan.
Kansas (3-7, 1-6) at Iowa State (1-9, 0-7)
Kansas finally broke through with its first conference win since 2010 with a 31-19 victory against West Virginia last Saturday. After the win, Kansas fans tore down the goalposts and threw them into a nearby lake for some reason.
Before that victory, Kansas had been outscored 251-85 in conference play this season. The offense has mustered 303.2 yards per game on the season, which ranks bottom 10 in college football.
The defense gives up an average of 431.8 yards per game and 31.7 points per game.
Iowa State is still searching for its first Big 12 conference win of the season after getting destroyed 48-10 by No. 18 Oklahoma last week in Norman.
The Cyclone offense is averaging 327.9 yards per game, which is second to worst in the Big 12 behind only their opponent for this weekend, Kansas.
The Cyclone defense has allowed 40 or more points in five of its last six games. Iowa State’s defense gives up an average of 471.0 yards per game. That mark is worst in the entire Big 12.
Without a doubt, this is the matchup of the two worst teams in the Big 12, and two of the worst teams in automatic qualifying conferences this year.
In their last matchup, sophomore quarterback Sam Richardson broke out for 293 yards of total offense and five all-purpose touchdowns in a win.
It would be difficult to imagine that the Kansas Jayhawks would finish with more conference wins than Iowa State, so expect the Cyclones to have their biggest output of the season at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday.