Jaylen Warren and also the Cowboys look come ride the momentum from last week's huge win into their huge 12 opener against the Wildcats 

Brian Losness-USA today Sports

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Big 12 play gets underway because that the Kansas State Wildcats (3-0) and Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0) together they look come notch their 4th win that the season and also remain undefeated.

For the Cowboys last week, it was a narrow one-point win on the road against Boise State whereby neither team scored a solitary point in the second half. Something essential to adjust with Oklahoma State's madness inconsistent offense, and also that change came in the type of running ago Jaylen Warren, who rushed for 218 yards and two touchdowns to aid seal the victory.

As for Kansas State, last weekend to be the first game without starting quarterback Skylar Thompson, who is out indefinitely after enduring a foot injury in mainly 2 against Southern Illinois. The Wildcats didn't miss a beat, soundly defeating one the the far better Group the 5 opponents in Nevada 38-17, through sophomore quarterback will certainly Howard stepping in and also playing mistake-free football. Kansas State was rewarded for its efforts by landing in the critical spot that this week's AP optimal 25 poll.

With the large 12 looking large open through 3 weeks, this unexpectedly becomes a an important early-season matchup that can have significant implications down the road.

No. 25 Kansas State at Oklahoma State

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 25 in ~ 7 p.m. ETTV: ESPN+Spread: Oklahoma State -6

When Kansas State has actually the Ball

Howard played in nine gamings last year after Thompson endured a season-ending injury, so girlfriend knew the sophomore wouldn't be tentative in his very first start that 2021. The was apparent on the 2nd play of the video game when Howard ripped a strike down the center of the field to tight finish Daniel Imatorbhebhe for a 68-yard touchdown versus Nevada. Howard would certainly go on to attempt simply nine much more passes the remainder of the game, yet played mistake-free ball, completing 70 percent that his throws v zero turnovers.




He wasn't needed against the Wolf fill with the way Kansas State has run the soccer to start the year. The Wildcats are averaging 226 rushing yards per game, lot of which coming on the shoulders the running back Deuce Vaughn. After leading the team in rushing, receiving, and all-purpose yardage a season ago, the star sophomore is turn off to an additional electric start, currently up come 371 rushing yards and six touchdowns while averaging 6 yards a carry. Oklahoma State has been very good at defending the operation to begin the year, permitting just 95.3 yards every game, however will must keep tabs top top Vaughn because that 60 minutes through the method Kansas State uses him in lot of facets.

When Oklahoma State has the Ball

The Cowboys necessary a spark in the worst way on offense entering critical Saturday's roadway game versus Boise State, already down two starting receivers and operating through a passing attack that hadn't remained in sync. That spark come in the shape of previous Warren, a Utah State who had a career day v 218 yards and also two touchdowns on 32 carries. In spite of a fourth-quarter fumble that practically cost Oklahoma State the game, Warren's development was desperately required not just to secure a huge win end the Broncos, yet for the offense's outlook moving forward. Before Warren's breakout performance, the Cowboys to be averaging just 90 rushing yards per game.

A newfound rushing attack does not solve every one of Oklahoma State's attack woes, unfortunately. Under multiple starting receivers didn't aid matters the last 2 weeks, but alterations are required in the passing game where Oklahoma State is now 103rd in passing yards per game. Once is the last time we observed a Mike Gundy-led offense finish just six passes in a game? everything the prize is, quarterback Spencer Sanders have to be much better this week against a Kansas State defense that is among the finest in the nation, enabling 280 total yards every game and also less than two yards per carry. No doubt the Wildcats will certainly be loading the box to avoid Warren top top Saturday.

Final Analysis

Stranger things have occurred, this is college football ~ all, yet it would certainly be a shocker if this is not a defensive fight on Saturday. No team is going come stretch the ar vertically to threaten a defense, and also both Kansas State and also Oklahoma State can properly shut under the operation as proven v the first three main of the season. The outcome will be decided in the 4th quarter between two similarly-matched teams, through the slight benefit to the Cowboys playing at home.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 23, Kansas State 21

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— composed by Mike Bainbridge, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bainbridge is a graduate of north Illinois University. Follow him top top Twitter