After rallying for 18 fourth quarter points to pull out a wild 49-42 road win at Iowa State, Oklahoma State moved up to No. 13 in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings. But the Cowboys, who finish conference play with back-to-back home games against Kansas State on Saturday and Kansas on Nov. 25, are more focused on trying to make it to the Big 12 Championship Game than a spot in the four-team CFP playoff.
To do that, Oklahoma State, which enters the week in a three-way tie for second with TCU and West Virginia one game behind Bedlam rival Oklahoma, must avoid a slip-up the final two weeks beginning with Saturday afternoon’s contest against a 5-5 Kansas State squad that must win one of its final two games to become bowl eligible. “We understand that we don’t control our own destiny,” Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph said. “But if we win out, we’re going to put ourselves in a good position to win 11 or hopefully 12 games. So my message to the guys (is), ‘Hey, we’ve got to win out, give ourselves a chance to get back to Arlington (for the Big 12 title game on Dec. 2).’ That’s been our goal all year.”
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2. LINE: Oklahoma State -20
ABOUT KANSAS STATE (5-5, 3-4 Big 12): The Wildcats come in off a 28-23 home loss to West Virginia, their fourth setback this season by seven points or fewer. With starting quarterback Jesse Ertz still out with a knee injury suffered Oct. 7 against Texas and backup Alex Delton withheld after undergoing concussion protocol for the second straight week, the Wildcats turned to Skylar Thompson who became the first freshman to start at quarterback for Bill Snyder since 2005. Thompson completed 13-of-26 passes for 159 yards and no touchdowns and was intercepted twice and also rushed for 53 yards on 18 carries, but the normally reliable Wildcat defense, led by linebackers Trent Tanking (81 tackles) and Jayd Kirby (73 tackles) and cornerback D.J. Reed (Big 12 best 13 passes defended), allowed 492 yards, including 372 yards passing and four TDs by quarterback Will Grier.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (8-2, 5-2): Rudolph leads the nation in passing yards (3,690) and is second in points responsible for (222) and has thrown for more than 300 yards in nine of his last 11 games. His top target, wide receiver James Washington, leads all Power Five players with 1,158 receiving yards, averaging 21.8 yards per reception to go along with nine touchdowns, while Justice Hill provides offensive balance with a Big 12 leading 1,198 yards on 206 rushes and 12 TDs. The defense, which is allowing an average of 414.1 yards and 29.9 points per game, leads the Big 12 with 15 interceptions, including four by cornerback A.J. Green.
1. Oklahoma State has blocked 21 kicks since the start of the 2013 season, tops in the nation.
2. Washington leads all active FBS receivers with 26 receiving touchdowns.
3. Kansas State needs one more win to qualify for its eighth-straight bowl game and 19th under head coach Bill Snyder.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 45, Kansas State 24