THE FLIP SIDE… Oklahoma State

Have I mentioned that every time we’ve done one of these – OK, there’s only been two so far (thanks, Kyle) – the opposing team’s beat writer has been flat-out wrong. Don’t know if that’s telling or not, but if so, you’ll be happy with this week’s guest, The Oklahoman’s Mike Baldwin.

Kansas State and Oklahoma State are each fighting to stay atop their
division standings. The key matchup will be OSU’s high-powered offense
facing a formidable Kansas State defense that ranks among the league
leaders.

The Cowboys and Boise State were the only two schools in
the country to average both 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing
last season. This season, OSU’s offense is on pace to fare even better.

Led by Big 12 rushing leader Dantrell Savage (124.4 yards a
game), the Cowboys are averaging 246.3 yards rushing which ranks sixth
in the country. The Cowboys, featuring an all-American wide receiver
candidate (Adarius Bowman) and tight end Brandon Pettigrew, also are
averaging 238.0 passing yards.

K-State counters with a defense that’s allowing only 3.1
yards a carry and 112.5 rushing yards a game. The Wildcats also test
opponent’s pass protection. K-State owns a 20-4 advantage in
quarterback sacks.

The other matchup isn’t as intriguing but could play a key
role. OSU’s once suspect defense has allowed the equivalent of 14.6
points a game the last 14 quarters after allowing 33.6 points in its first
14 quarters.

Led by QB Josh Freeman, WR Jordy Nelson and RB James
Johnson, the Wildcats will provide some answers whether OSU’s defense
can continue its recent hot streak or be suspect against the pass as
they were in losses at Georgia and Troy and a 49-45 shootout win
against Texas Tech.

Still, the key matchup is OSU’s offense versus K-State’s
defense. The Wildcats haven’t allowed more than 30 points in any game
this season. The Cowboys, though, are starting to resemble last year’s
unit that finished seventh in the nation in scoring. As a result, OSU
playing at home, with an offense finding its stride, will be the
difference.

Prediction: OSU 31, Kansas State 24.

Thanks, Mike. His coverage of the Cowboys can be read here.