Posted October 20, 2017 11:11 am - Updated October 20, 2017 12:27 pm

Know the foe: Oklahoma at Kansas State

At left, in a Sept. 2, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley watches from the sideline before an NCAA college football game against UTEP in Norman, Okla. At right, in an Oct. 26, 2016, file photo, Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder watches from the sideline before an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, in Ames, Iowa. The oldest coach in the FBS and the youngest will match wits Saturday when the ninth-ranked Sooners travel to Manhattan. (AP Photo/File)


Oklahoma was the victim of one of the, if not the, biggest upsets in Big 12 history when it lost at home to Iowa State on Oct. 7. It ended the Sooners’ 18-game winning streak in the series and was the Cyclones second win over OU since 1961.

The Sooners bounced back last week with a victory over rival Texas, going on an emotional roller-coaster the past two weeks as they come to Kansas State on Saturday.

“You have to let it go (beating Texas) just like in the way we had to let Iowa State go the week before,” first-year OU coach Lincoln Riley said. “You have to let it go and move on to the next one. This league is about that. You’ve got to find the things you did well in that game and build on them. We certainly have a lot of things we have to get better at and we’re going to need to do better moving forward.”

Riley expects to run up against a fired-up K-State team that has lost two in a row and three of its past four games in the 3 p.m. kickoff at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

“They bring great effort, they bring toughness, well-coached,” Riley said of the Wildcats. “It’s always a tough place to play in Manhattan. They are a prideful group and I’m sure they are feeling like we did a week ago. I know they will be a very motivated and hungry team to play. You always know what you’re going to get with Kansas State. We’re expecting a four-quarter fight with them and that’s something we have to be ready for.”

OKLAHOMA OFFENSE: Despite losing wide receiver Dede Westbrook and running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon off last year’s team, the Sooners still have a prolific offense. That’s because they still have Baker Mayfield, the two-time Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback.

Mayfield is completing 72.7 percent of his passes, 117 of 161 for 1,937 yards with 17 touchdowns and one interception while rushing 39 times for 101 yards.

“He’s definitely playing better (than last season),” said Riley, offensive coordinator the previous two years before his promotion to succeed Bob Stoops. “I think he’s carried over some of how he played toward the end of last season and he’s settled in with our skill guys pretty quick. We’ve made several plays for him. He’s playing well. The standards are high for him but people need to appreciate what this guy is doing. The guy continues to make plays, complete balls at a high level and win games and that’s how you define success at that position.”

All-American left tackle Orlando Brown anchors the offensive line; Trey Sermon and Abdul Adams lead the ground game at 78.2 and 74.4 yards a game, respectively; and the top receivers are Mark Andrews (23 receptions, 459 yards, 3 TDs) and CeeDee Lamb (20-381, 4 TDs).

“They have been very, very good defensively,” Riley said of the Wildcats. “I thought last year they were easily the best defense in the league that we played. They are a challenge. You have to be sharp against them. They do what they do so very well.”

OKLAHOMA DEFENSE: Speed was the operative word K-State coach Bill Snyder used to describe the Sooners.

“They have a lot of people that run well,” Snyder said. “They’ve done a nice job of recruiting to speed. You look at their linebackers and they can get where they’re going in a hurry. They have two basic approaches, one with an odd front and one with an even front and you never know which one you’re going to get so there’s enough variety in their defense to create some issues in regards to preparation. Fortunately, we’ve been able to work against similar defenses in previous ballgames.”

Edge rusher Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is a candidate for Big 12 player of the year with six sacks and 10 tackles for loss. Linebacker Emmanuel Beal is the leading tackle with 43 total stops and strong safety Steven Parker has OU’s only two interceptions.

Riley said the run defense has improved and developed into the strength of the unit.

“We haven’t given up too many big runs, which has probably been the key,” he said. “People get four and five (yards) some here and there but we’re tackling the ball for loss a little bit and we’ve limited the big runs for the most part the majority of the year. We took a big step last week with the quality of our tackling. We know we’ll get challenged about every way you possibly can in the run game this week against Kansas State and it certainly will be a big part of this game.”