OU football: 3-2-1 kickoff for No. 3 Sooners vs. Kansas State
Here’s a look at some keys to keep an eye on when No. 3 Oklahoma hosts Kansas State to open Big 12 play Saturday morning.
3 players to watch
Anton Harrison: The 6-foot-5, 334-pound freshman is listed as the Sooners’ starting left tackle. He missed the season opener. If he returns to the lineup, he’s the inexperienced lineman against a formidable Kansas State pass rush led by Wyatt Hubert, who had a sack against Arkansas State two weeks ago.
T.J. Pledger: Another Sooner who missed the opener, Pledger has the most experience in the backfield, having played in 21 games in his career. But OU’s backfield got a little more crowded with the emergence of freshman Seth McGowan. Millwood product Marcus Major is also a factor. But Pledger has the chance to take over the primary role.
Perrion Winfrey: The Sooners need to get pressure on Kansas State veteran quarterback Skylar Thompson. Winfrey, who was regarded by some recruiting services as the No. 1-ranked junior college prospect before signing with OU, was the talk of the preseason. A 6-foot-3, 297-pound nose guard, his play will be crucial in slowing down Thompson and the Wildcats’ rushing attack.
2 big questions
Can the Sooners contain Thompson? A year ago, Kansas State’s leader was efficient in an upset of the Sooners. He passed for 213 yards and rushed for 39 yards. He scored four touchdowns — all on the ground. His ability to hurt OU in different ways was vital in the upset. This puts pressure on linebackers like DaShaun White, Brain Asamoah and Nik Bonitto to contain Thompson. Asamoah is off to a good start, too, with seven tackles to open the season.
Is there a kicking battle brewing? Kicker Gabe Brkic was perfect last season, making all 17 field-goal attempts. He was named a second-team All-American on The Associated Press preseason team. But could his job be in jeopardy? He missed the opener, which allowed Stephen Johnson to step in. Johnson made two field goals — including a 42-yarder — and all six extra-point kicks. It wouldn’t be the first time a starter has lost his position due to an illness or injury. The name Wally Pipp comes to mind.
- Related to this story
- Article: College football: Sooners up to No. 3, Cowboys rise to No. 11 in AP poll
- Article: OU football: Ronnie Perkins remaining engaged through suspension, Alex Grinch says
- Article: OU football: Spencer Rattler's arm is off the charts, but his running ability might be needed soon also
- Article: OU football: After 'better than expected' opener, student section biggest change for Sooners' second home game
- Article: Kansas State at OU football: Kickoff time, betting odds, matchup breakdown
- Article: Opinion: Expanding College Football Playoff fair thing to do in this unprecedented season
- Article: Tramel: Do not fear the tailback shortage of Oklahoma football
- Article: OU football: Tulsa players making big impact for Sooners' defense
- Article: Five questions that need answering ahead of Week 4 in college football
- Video: OU Football: Practice, practice, practice
- Video: OU Football: A different approach to Kansas State
1 wild prediction
Rattler will throw a touchdown to five different receivers. OU quarterback Spencer Rattler connected with three different receivers for touchdowns in the rout of Missouri State. But he’s just getting started. In his first Big 12 start, he’ll spread the love even more, finding a handful of guys in the end zone.
Jacob Unruh, Staff writer