Oklahoma State’s goals of winning a Big 12 Championship and landing a spot in the College Football Playoff evaporated with a surprising 45-40 home loss to Kansas State last week. The Cowboys, plagued by slow starts that have resulted in a disappointing 2-3 home record, will be focused on starting fast Saturday when they host Kansas in their Big 12 regular-season finale.
The Cowboys fell six spots to No. 19 in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings after the loss to the Wildcats who jumped out to a 28-13 halftime lead and led 42-13 in the third quarter. Oklahoma State, which entered the game as a 19 1/2-point favorite, scored four touchdowns over a 15-minute span to give itself a chance to pull it out in the final two minutes, but quarterback Mason Rudolph then threw four straight incompletions from his own 46. “It sucks,” Rudolph told newsok.com. “It’s not fun. But we’ll turn it around and come back focused.” That doesn’t spell good news for Kansas which comes into the game with a 10-game winless streak and ranks 127th nationally in scoring defense (42.1) and 111th in total defense (450.8 yards per game).
TV: Noon, ET, FS1. LINE: Oklahoma State -41
ABOUT KANSAS (1-10, 0-8 Big 12): The Jayhawks rank 11th in the nation in red-zone scoring percentage (93.5) but the problem has been getting there, getting shut out by both Iowa State and TCU and managing just a field goal in a 41-3 loss to Oklahoma last week. Both starting quarterbacks, Peyton Bender and Carter Stanley, are completing just 54 percent of their passes and have combined to throw for 12 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Khalil Herbert leads the team in rushing (658 yards, 4 TDs) while Steven Sims Jr. paces the team in receiving (50 catches, 770 yards, 5 TDs) and junior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. leads the defense with 123 tackles, including 84 solo stops, which leads the nation.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (8-3, 5-3): Rudolph leads the nation in passing yards (4,115) and points responsible for (246) but has been overshadowed by some other quarterback named Mayfield in his own state. His top target, senior wide receiver James Washington, leads the nation with 1,317 receiving yards on 61 receptions and has 11 touchdowns while running back Justice Hill leads the Big 12 in rushing with 1,289 yards on 229 carries and has scored 13 touchdowns. Oklahoma State’s defense had 14 tackles for loss in last week’s loss to Kansas State and has forced 21 turnovers this season, including four interceptions by cornerback A.J. Green which ranks second in the Big 12.
1. Washington, with 4,240 in his career, needs 174 receiving yards to catch school record holder Rashaun Woods who had 4,414 yards from 1999 to 2003.
2. Oklahoma State’s defense has forced a turnover in 25 straight games.
3. Kansas is 3-32 in three seasons under head coach David Beaty and 1-25 in Big 12 play.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 59, Kansas 3