Does Kansas State care about the rest of the season after beating Oklahoma last week? That’s the question bettors will be asking in the battle of Kansas. The Wildcats were -5.5 point road favorites with an over/under of 58 early in the week.
These meetings have been surprisingly close of late, which is why Kansas has covered the last three. However, two new coaches are in place so putting too much into previous results could be a mistake.
Both of these teams have been all over this season. K State was blown out at home by Baylor, but it also just beat Oklahoma. Kansas lost to Coastal Carolina in September, but just got its first Big 12 win against Texas Tech last week.
No matter what happens, this matchup should be competitive, as long as the Jayhawks continue to put points on the board.
The KU offense has turned into a balanced group with quarterback Carter Stanley throwing 10 touchdowns in the last three games. For the season, he’s averaging 7.9 yards per attempt for 19 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Pooka Williams wasn’t the reason they won last week, but he’s averaging 5.2 yards per carry and already ran for 190 yards against Texas. This matchup points to a lot of usage for Williams as K State is allowing almost as many rushing yards (181.9) as passing yards (187.1) per game. As long as Williams can find those holes, this game could be similar to the Texas result, albeit lower scoring.
The bigger problem for the Jayhawks is that they can’t stop anyone defensively, allowing 222 rushing yards for 32 points per game. That’s not a great recipe for success against a run-first offense. K State beat Oklahoma by running down its throat en route to 213 yards from a variety of ways.
If possible, the Wildcats don’t want Skylar Thompson to throw too much, but then again, KU also struggles in that aspect. They’ll still lean heavily on running back James Gilbert after Jordon Brown left the last game with a leg injury.
Gilbert has been the top guy, averaging 5.6 yards per carry for 558 rushing yards. Similar to Williams on the other side, Gilbert and Thompson should have success almost the entire game.
The difference between these teams is that KSU has shown at least some resistance defensively, allowing just over 21 points per game. But if Kansas continues to move the ball like it has in recent performances, that should lead to a competitive game that finishes within one score.
Kansas State is 5-1 ATS in its last six following a straight-up win, while the over is 5-1 in the last six games overall for Kansas. The Jayhawks have covered the last three meetings, but the Wildcats covered the seven before that. The over is also 7-2 in the last nine meetings played in Lawrence.
Our Pick – Kansas State -6