October 5, 2006

The game up close: Oklahoma State at K-State

Kansas State's character will be tested this week, as we'll find out on Saturday how well the Wildcats respond to a 17-3 loss against a 1-3 Baylor team in its most recent outing. K-State's offense will have a new look with Josh Freeman stepping into the starting role in place of Dylan Meier; can the Wildcats' true freshman quarterback prevent K-State from dropping its third straight game?

The Game Up Close: Oklahoma State (3-1, 0-0) vs. Kansas State (3-2, 0-1)

Saturday, Oct. 7, 2:35 p.m. kickoff
Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kan.

Oklahoma State rush offense vs. Kansas State rush defense
The numbers:
KSU rush defense: Allowing 89.6 yards per game, No. 5 in the Big 12, No. 25 overall
OSU rush offense: Averaging 203.0 yards per game, No. 3 in the Big 12, No. 15 overall

The breakdown: The big-play ability of Oklahoma State's passing game gets a great deal of attention, but the Cowboys have been equally impressive with their ability to run the ball. Sophomore Mike Hamilton, the seventh-leading rusher in the Big 12, has proven to be one of the conference's best backs over the past two seasons. Hamilton's 6.4 yards per carry through four games is the best mark among any of the league's Top 10 rushers. Hamilton is far from the only rushing threat on OSU's roster, however, as quarterback Bobby Reid is one of a group of players capable of hurting teams on the ground. Reid has ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns on 27 rushes. K-State allowed virtually nothing on the ground last week against Baylor, then again, the Bears entered the contest averaging around 30 yards per game on the ground. K-State has done well against the run in games against the Bears, Marshall and Florida Atlantic but not quite as strong against Illinois State and Louisville. Oklahoma State doesn't run the ball as well as the Cardinals, but the Pokes will easily provide the next biggest test as far as the running game goes for Quintin Echols and company up front.
ADVANTAGE: PUSH

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