K-State’s Offense Efficient in Victory at Oklahoma

| October 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Cole Manbeck

 

It has been well documented that Oklahoma rarely loses at home during the Bob Stoops era. It’s just as rare for the Sooners to lose on their home turf to a ranked opponent. And the Sooners had never lost the following game after playing Texas during the Stoops era.

 

The Wildcats marched into Norman and handed Stoops just his sixth home loss of his career (two coming from Bill Snyder and K-State in the last three seasons) on Saturday. K-State handed Stoops just his third loss at home vs. a top-25 opponent in his 15 years at Oklahoma (now 16-3 vs. ranked teams at home) and his second loss to a top-25 Big 12 team at home (both coming from K-State in the last three seasons).

 

K-State made far fewer mistakes than Oklahoma. The Sooners entered Saturday No. 8 in the country in turnover margin with a plus-eight advantage They were minus-two in turnover margin against the Wildcats and that proved pivotal in the outcome of the game. However, what I want to focus on is K-State’s offensive performance on Saturday, as well as on the season overall.

 

The Wildcats averaged 5 yards per rush Saturday. That’s the second-most yards-per-carry average Oklahoma has given up in a game in its last 16 contests, dating back to last season.

 

Oklahoma’s defense against the run over its previous 15 games (prior to K-State averaging 5 yards per carry Saturday)

 

Opponent Yards per rush
TCU (2013) 1.6
Texas (2013) 4.3
KU (2013) 4.7
Texas Tech (2013) 2.9
Baylor (2013) 4.7
Iowa State (2013) 3.0
K-State (2013) 1.2
Oklahoma State (2013) 5.7
Alabama (2013) 3.7
Louisiana Tech (2014) 1.9
Tulsa (2014) 2.8
Tennessee (2014) 3.4
West Virginia (2014) 3.4
TCU (2014) 3.9
Texas (2014) 3.7
Average: 3.4

 

 

K-State’s offense was outgained by 148 yards on Saturday, but the Wildcats had the more efficient offensive performance. They averaged 7 yards per play to Oklahoma’s 6.8. Dating back to the start of the 2013 season, Oklahoma’s defense has now allowed only three teams to average 7 yards or more per play over a 20-game period. Two of those three performances have come from K-State (7.3 yards per play last season), and the other was Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in 2013 (7.9 yards per play).

 

Yards per play allowed by Oklahoma’s defense over its last 19 games prior to K-State’s performance Saturday

 

Opponent Yards per play
Louisiana Monroe (2013) 2.7
West Virginia (2013) 6.0
Tulsa (2013) 5.0
Notre Dame (2013) 6.0
TCU (2013) 4.0
Texas (2013) 5.4
KU (2013) 3.9
Texas Tech (2013) 5.8
Baylor (2013) 5.7
Iowa State (2013) 4.2
K-State (2013) 7.3
Oklahoma State (2013) 5.7
Alabama (2013) 7.9
Louisiana Tech (2014) 3.8
Tulsa (2014) 3.9
Tennessee (2014) 4.1
West Virginia (2014) 6.3
TCU (2014) 6.0
Texas (2014) 5.7
Average: 5.2

 

The Wildcats were efficient and only had one three-and-out in the entire game. They had opportunities where they were close to getting into scoring territory before being forced to punt, but let’s give the Sooners’ defense some credit, as they’ve got plenty of talent on that side of the ball. And in a couple of those instances where the offense didn’t come away with points, it at least put the punt team in a position to pin Oklahoma deep, thus flipping field position.

 

I have previously written about K-State lacking explosive plays on offense and how I found that concerning. But the numbers certainly tell me my eyes are wrong.

 

Over the last three games, K-State has averaged 6.9 yards per play, which is sixth-best nationally during that time frame. K-State is 11th in the country with 0.525 points per offensive play this season, and over its last three games, K-State is second in the country with 0.677 points per play (Marshall is No. 1).

 

Here are some other notes to mention about the offense:

 

  • The Wildcats average just 3.6 punt attempts per game. Only eight teams in the FBS average less.
  • K-State has averaged five red-zone scoring attempts per game this season, ranking as the 10th-most in the country.
  • K-State averages 4.4 red-zone scores per game this season (touchdowns and field goals combined), ranking seventh nationally and first in the Big 12.
  • The Wildcats have come away with points on every single trip inside the 20-yard line in each of their last three games.

 

Jake Waters was tremendous against Oklahoma. He has been tremendous most of the season, actually. The senior has thrown just three interceptions on the year, but only one of those was his fault. The other two came on a ball tipped off Tyler Lockett’s hands against Auburn and a pass that was batted up in the air by a Stephen F. Austin defensive lineman.

 

In K-State’s three Big 12 games, Waters has completed 55 of his 83 passes (66 percent), thrown for 809 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. He also has 294 yards rushing, four touchdowns on the ground and 6.3 yards per carry in Big 12 play. Overall, he has accounted for 1,103 yards and 10 touchdowns without a single turnover during league play. We are only three games into a grueling conference slate, but it’s hard to do much better than that.

 

I thought K-State’s offensive line was terrific and played its best game of the season Saturday, considering the opponent it was facing. The Wildcats moved the Sooners strong defensive line off the ball and opened up some running lanes. They were key in pass protection. Oklahoma entered the game with 16 sacks on the season, and it recorded three on Saturday, which is more than ideal. But one of those sacks was a coverage sack. The other two came on blitzes. However, outside of those three sacks, Waters had plenty of time in the pocket on his other passing attempts and wasn’t under duress.

 

On the other side of the football, K-State’s secondary struggled. Knight completed 26-of-32 passing for 318 yards and three touchdowns. The pass defense continues to be a concern. But K-State’s run defense was relatively solid against a powerful Sooners offensive line. Will Geary and Travis Britz both did a terrific job at stuffing the interior of the line for most of the game, and Jonathan Truman and Dakorey Johnson played very well at linebacker.

 

And lastly, K-State’s special teams were terrific. Britz blocked the extra point, which stands out, but punter Nick Walsh was also very good, pinning Oklahoma at its own 7-yard line once and at the 2 another time. Oklahoma entered the game No. 1 in the country with 31.2 yards per kick return, but K-State’s game plan of angle kicking it short worked out for the most part. And Matthew McCrane converted on every extra point and his lone field-goal attempt in the game.

 

K-State has a very difficult schedule remaining, but the Wildcats control their own destiny. They’re in the driver’s seat. And that’s a position nine other Big 12 teams would love to be in right now.

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