As Stoops and the Sooners head north to play Kansas State Saturday, everything else seems to be heading south for Oklahoma.
The offense has sputtered — pretty much all season.
The defense has been spotty, at best.
Stoops and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said there are no major changes coming. Mike Stoops, the defensive coordinator said the Texas run game surprised Oklahoma last week in the Cotton Bowl. Teas passed for less than 60 yards in the 24-17 victory, yet with no interest in doing anything but run the ball, Oklahoma seemed powerless to stop it.
Stubbornness level: Expert.
But in Manhattan, strange things happen. It was in Purple Kansas that the Belldozer was born, debuting in the second half of the 2011 game. It was in Manhattan that quarterback Trevor Knight jump started the OU offense to a win, which led to another win at Oklahoma State and then onto the Sugar Bowl.
And here are 25 predictions about what happens this year in Manhattan:
1. No Belldozer, no Knight and no mystery for the Sooners Saturday. Remember, Bob Stoops said it wasn’t like they were going to make any major adjustments, so that means:
2. Forty-five or more passes from Baker Mayfield.
3. A running game that will continued to be ignored, manifested by less than 20 carries by Samaje Perine.
4. And you constantly wondering why there is so much of the former and not enough of the latter.
Manhattan might be the symbol of change for the Sooners, but it’s going to be a lot of the same that you’ve seen so far this year.
5. OU receivers will drop at least three passes. However, 6. six or more receivers will catch passes. 7. The Sooners will be less than 40 percent successful on third downs and 8. not have more than 14 points by halftime. 9. Count on another slow start as K-State will 10. score first and 11. lead after the first quarter.
One of the things that Stoops has done over the years is adapt, be open to change, be flexible. But now it seems he’s dangerously close to being out of options. Twice in the past three seasons, Stoops has turned over his staff, including heading into this year when two offensive coordinators were sent out of town.
But aside from seeing 12. five or more screen passes from Mayfield, including 13. at least one going for more than 40 yards, this offense is going to look similar. Remember, it’s not like OU has been great on offense. The running game has been invisible and overall somewhat stagnant more times (vs. Akron, Tennessee, Texas) than not (Tulsa, West Virginia).
OU won’t have to be great on offense in this game, though, because the 14. Oklahoma’s defense will be the best its been all season. Kansas State is similar to Texas in that each doesn’t prefer to pass. K-State quarterback Joe Huebner is averaging about 165 yards passing per game. 15. OU will have learned its lesson from last week. They’ll dare the Wildcats to pass instead of being surprised by the run.
You’ll also see:
16. At least three Wildcat turnovers
17. At least two Sooner interceptions
18. And less than 350 total yards for K-State, which is 20 yards less than the Wildcats are averaging this season.
19. Mike Stoops getting a level of redemption. 20. He’ll have that, "I told you so smile after the game."
Oklahoma quarterbacks Bell and Knight have starred in Manhattan.
21. Mayfield will, too, because he’ll lead the Sooners to a victory when they need it most. 22. The Sooners will put together another second-half comeback, only this one will be sweeter than winning at Tennessee because it will ease the pressure off of Riley, off of Stoops, off yourself and grip on Sooner fandom.
This isn’t a great Kansas State team, but Saturday 23. it will feel like a great win.
24. Because for the first time since forever, the defense will be the reason. 25. Give the four points. Sooners win, 30-24.