Bill Snyder’s famous 16 Goals For Success don’t include anything about quotes that provide bulletin board material to incite the opposition. Perhaps it’s time for some editing.
Kansas State takes on No. 19 Oklahoma Saturday (11 a.m. CST, ESPN) in Norman, and this week one of Snyder’s players inadvertently supplied the Sooners with incentive.
Reggie Walker, a redshirt freshman (Snyder has a Twitter account but he might not understand what #SMDH means), was asked about OU’s running back duo of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. Here’s the tweet quote – note the source – that has Oklahoma riled up.
Walker, who has made 13 tackles and two sacks in his first five games, can claim the “out of context” defense. Here’s his full answer to the question about slowing down the Oklahoma duo.
“I talked to Jordan Willis (a senior defensive end) about that, because he played them before, and he was just telling me, ‘They are easy to tackle if you do your assignments, you know, wrap up and just get them down. They will go down if you hit them hard.’ That is what I plan on doing.”
Not exactly an incendiary comment, but the tweet from the Oklahoma Update Twitter feed got a response from Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield.
So we’re on like Donkey Kong for a game between teams that have traded victories on the opponent’s home field for the last five meetings. For the Wildcats, it’s the third consecutive game that features a clash of styles.
K-State leads the Big 12 in total, scoring and rushing defense. Two weeks ago in Morgantown, the Wildcats handcuffed West Virginia’s offense but failed to generate enough offense in a 17-16 loss. Last Saturday in Manhattan, Texas Tech rolled up 592 yards in total offense, but Kansas State used a pick six and a kickoff return to flip the scoreboard for a 44-38 victory.
Oklahoma’s offense appears even more potent now that wide receiver Dede Westbrook is healthy. In the last two games, Westbrook has collected touchdown receptions of 67, 40, 71, 42 and 47 yards. Adding a big-play wide receiver to Mayfield, Perine and Mixon makes the OU offense dangerous in three areas.
“That creates headaches for anybody’s defense,” Snyder said Monday on the Big 12 coaches’ teleconference. “They can put so much talent out there and have so much balance that it’s going to create problems no matter who they’re playing.”
Dating back to last season, the Sooners have won nine consecutive Big 12 games and scored at least 30 in each contest will going over 50 six times. OU is averaging 595 yards per offense during the streak. In its two victories over TCU and Texas, Oklahoma has totaled 542 yards on the ground.
“I think we’ve just kinda found our identity,” Mayfield said.
“Everybody is getting more and executing their job. We’re trusting the system, which is the main thing. After last year and the Texas game, we realized if we just focus on doing our jobs and trusting this offense, (offensive coordinator Lincoln) Riley is gonna call a good game and we’re gonna have success. The main thing is you’re one of 11 and you have to trust it.”
Oklahoma mauled K-State 55-0 last season in Manhattan. Perine had 56 yards on 11 carries while Mixon rushed for 73 on 15 attempts. Last week against Texas, though, Perine had a career-high 35 carries for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Perine is the Big 12’s second-leading rusher, averaging 92.2 yards per game.
Oklahoma’s defense also will face a different style. The Wildcats are last in the Big 12 in passing and are No. 4 in rushing. K-State’s deliberate style is designed to work with its stingy defense to keep the clock moving and limit the number of offensive plays and possessions.
“We look forward to any game but when we’re playing teams that like to run the ball, it’s a big-time challenge because we play big-time passing offenses and DBs take the challenges,” senior linebacker Jordan Evans said. “This time, the challenge is on us. Makes it a little more fun.”
Kansas State players claim they’re motivated after last season’s shellacking by the Sooners.
“That just won’t happen,” sophomore defensive back D.J. Reed said. “I am not trying to sound cocky or arrogant, but we really think we can win this week. We have got the guys to do it. That is really how I feel.”
No doubt that confident comment will join Walker’s on the Oklahoma bulletin board. That smacking sound you hear coming from central Kansas is probably Snyder’s palm hitting his forehead.