OU football: Against Kansas State, Sooners hold advantage in most areas

Sep. 23—Rushing offense — Oklahoma

Both teams are neck and neck here. Kansas State ranks 12th nationally in rushing yards per game with 239.3. The Sooners rank 15th with 235 per game. Both teams have three players with more than 120 yards. But the Sooners get the edge here based on last week's performances.

The Sooners finished with 312 yards and four touchdowns at Nebraska while the Wildcats struggled against Tulane, finishing with 162 yards and zero scores.

Passing offense — Oklahoma

Dillon Gabriel and the Sooners easily have the advantage here. Through three games, Gabriel has completed 52-of-78 passes (67 percent) for 759 yards and seven touchdowns with no turnovers. Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez has really struggled, throwing for just 304 yards and a touchdown through three games.

The Wildcats have mostly been one dimensional on offense, relying heavily on their running game for success.

Rushing defense — Oklahoma

The overall stats for the Sooners don't jump off the page. They're tied for 48th nationally in rushing yards allowed (118.3 yards per game), but the full stats haven't told the story. The Sooners' defense limited Nebraska's rushing attack significantly last week, holding them to 40 yards on 25 rushes in the first half. The run defense has been the backbone for OU through three games.

Kansas State's defense ranks 60th, surrendering 128.3 yards per game.

Passing defense — Kansas State

The Sooners' secondary had their best game of the season against Nebraska. The Cornhuskers recorded just 164 passing yards as OU limited them to just 96 yards after the first possession. The Sooners are now tied for 43rd in passing yards allowed per game (194.3). However, the Wildcats' secondary has been one of the stingiest in college football, ranking 10th nationally in yards allowed per game (147.7).

Special teams — Oklahoma

Marvin Mims has emerged as a legitimate threat as a punt returner. Through three games, he's recorded 118 yards on six punt returns, ranking sixth nationally in yards per return (19.7). The Sooners recorded just 69 return yards all of last season. Michael Turk has been solid through three games, averaging 42.8 yards per punt.

Intangibles — Oklahoma

Kansas State will have plenty of motivation to beat the Sooners after a surprise loss to Tulane last week. However, the Sooners should have the edge here. They defeated Nebraska easily last weekend in Lincoln and now return for the first conference game under coach Brent Venables. A win keeps the Sooners' early momentum going while further cementing them as a possible title contender.

Jesse Crittenden is the sports editor of The Transcript and covers OU athletics. Reach him at jesse@normantranscript.com or at 405-366-3580