Oklahoma-Kansas St. Preview
Bob Stoops needs one more win to set the record for most coaching victories at Oklahoma.
No big surprise, he hasn't named who'll start at quarterback as he goes for the milestone Saturday when his 22nd-ranked Sooners visit a Kansas State team seeking a fifth straight victory.
Oklahoma (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) scored 45 unanswered points to close last Saturday's 48-10 win over Iowa State, giving Stoops win No. 157 with the Sooners. That ties him with Barry Switzer for the most in Oklahoma history, and he has a chance to move into sole possession of the record against Bill Snyder, a man Stoops played for and coached under earlier in his career.
"Winning there would be great for our season and this season for all of those reasons," Stoops said. "Outside of that, coach Snyder and I aren't going to play. We have got teams and staff and a bunch of people working with us and it will be one team against the other."
Stoops also has three possible candidates to line up under center.
Blake Bell, who has thrown for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns, was injured early against the Cyclones. Freshman Trevor Knight then came in and primarily running the read-option completed 8 of 14 passes, while also rushing for 123 yards and a TD. Kendal Thompson then saw the first action of his career in the fourth quarter, and helped lead the Sooners on an eight-play, 90-yard drive that saw him throw a three-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Ripkowski.
"The quarterback issue, it does no possible good to define all of that today or Friday," Stoops said. "We will just go into the game and hopefully have all of them ready.''
Fans are hoping Thompson, the son of former Oklahoma quarterback Charles Thompson, will get some more playing time.
''I will be comfortable to whoever is going to hand the ball off to me,'' said senior running back Brennan Clay, who has a team-best 643 yards running. ''Whoever is going to come in is going to be fine. They all prepare throughout the week and do a great job. Coach (Josh) Heupel does a great job of getting them right. I feel confident with whoever is in there.''
Clay rushed for 86 yards on seven carries against the Cyclones while Damien Williams ran for a season-high 128 yards on 10 attempts. The Sooners rushed for 405 yards, their highest total since gaining 411 against Louisville in 1997.
Oklahoma is 17th in the FBS in rushing at 236.4 yards per game, and 61-1 when running for at least 200 yards under Stoops.
"They run the ball extremely well when they get it in their hands," Snyder said of the Sooners. "They have experienced offensive lineman, all returning starters and upper classmen. They just play to their strengths and that's what they do extremely well so that's what they do."
Kansas State (6-4, 4-3) also has a strong ground attack, averaging 193.3 yards, led by the one-two punch of Daniel Sams and John Hubert. Both players have 143 rushing attempts on the year, and they each gain more than 5.1 yards per carry.
Sams, a quarterback, averages 5.5 yards every time he runs, and leads the team with 11 rushing touchdowns. He splits time under center with Jake Waters, Kansas State's primary passer.
"It will be a difficult task," Stoops said of facing Kansas State. "They have really played well in the past four weeks. They've won four straight games. They're moving the football really well with two different quarterbacks. They really have two different offenses with the quarterbacks in some aspects."
The Wildcats, who are averaging 39.5 points during their win streak, defeated TCU 33-31 last Saturday on Jack Cantele 41-yard field goal with 3 seconds remaining. Kansas State gained 411 yards of offense - including 109 yards rushing by Sams - and kept the Horned Frogs out of the end zone in the fourth quarter.
''The bottom line is we didn't play nearly as well as I'd like us to play,'' Snyder said, ''but we played well enough to win.''
The Wildcats snapped a five-game losing streak to the Sooners with a 24-19 win over then-No. 6 Oklahoma last season. They're now trying to snap a four-game home skid in the series, with their last victory in Manhattan coming in 1996.