Everything is looking up for the Oklahoma Sooners coming into their week four matchup with the Kansas State Wildcats.
The Sooners are 3-0, with three 30-point wins. They're coming off of an impressive road win over old rival Nebraska in an absolutely dominating week three performance.
Hosting the Wildcats in primetime, the Sooners have another opportunity to make a statement in the early part of the 2022 season. Kansas State is a solid football team and is well coached, but simply looking at the early returns, the Sooners are the better team on paper.
Of course, that's typically been the case over the years, and the Wildcats have found a way, even recently, to throw a wrench in Oklahoma's plans.
The Sooners and Wildcats have played several tight football games over the last three years, with Kansas State holding a 2-1 edge during the Chris Kleiman era with K-State.
However, it's a new day in Norman. The Sooners are a different team with a different DNA. They've got a defensive coaching staff that's shown an ability to slow down the opponent's top player and make adjustments on the fly to better put the team in a position to win.
The Sooners are double-digit favorites to win this week, can they live up to expectations, or will they play another close contest with Kansas State? Let's see what the experts had to say.
Offensive Line Leads the Way
Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Oklahoma Sooners tight end Jason Llewellyn (87) and Oklahoma Sooners tight end Daniel Parker (22) and Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman McKade Mettauer (72) and Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Andrew Raym (73) and Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) and Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Anton Harrison (71) and Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Savion Byrd (59) against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Brent Venables has handled his first head coaching job very smoothly so far. Things have gone well, and after navigating the non-conference part of their schedule 3-0, Oklahoma is just getting started.
His next opponent? His alma mater.
He played under the legendary Bill Snyder from 1991-1992 before his coaching career would take off. On Saturday, despite what story the paper says, Oklahoma will be tested by a Kansas State team that will compete for four quarters
Ultimately, Oklahoma's speed and momentum win out as they kick off Big 12 play with a win under the lights. The offensive line plays well, and the Sooners rush for over 200 yards with rushing touchdowns by Eric Gray and Marcus Major.
Defensively, we see the Sooners pick off two Adrian Martinez passes while holding spark plug running back Deuce Vaughn in check. Reggie Grimes continues his monster start to the season with another sack.
Sooners win 38-17.
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Oklahoma's Offense too much for Wildcats
Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Marvin Mims (17) stiff arms Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive back Marques Buford Jr. (1) during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
No team got to the Sooners at the end of the Lincoln Riley era, quite like the Kansas State Wildcats. K-State has won two of their last three against the Sooners, one of which was right here in Norman. Chris Klieman's group is not to be taken lightly.
RB Deuce Vaughn led the Wildcats in both rushing and receiving yards in the previous matchup between these two teams. OU's improved defense should do a better job at keeping Vaugn in check, but he is very difficult to bring down when he catches a ball out of the backfield.
Simply put: take away Vaughn, and the Kansas State offense has nothing to work with.
This K-State defense will be Jeff Lebby's and the offense's biggest challenge so far. This Wildcats group is a bit more stingy than Nebraska, ranking 21st in points per game and falling in the top ten in total defense.
Unlike Nebraska, K-State doesn't have the offense to hang around with the Sooners. Their defense will keep the Sooners from making this a blowout, but OU's firepower will just be too much for the Wildcats to keep up.
Sooners 35, K-State 17
Ben gets you ready for a big weekend of Big 12 football with his weekly Big 12 picks.
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Focused Sooners take care of business
Sept. 10, 2022; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Brent Venables reacts during the first quarter against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
In the build-up to Oklahoma's matchup with Kansas State, the refrain has been, "don't sleep on Kansas State."
I actually don't think it's possible for Brent Venables or a Venables-led team to take any opponent lightly. Especially not one that's been a thorn in the side of the Oklahoma Sooners at different points in the last two decades.
The Sooners are the better team on paper and their focus and determination will allow that to play out on the field. It will be the toughest running game this Sooners defense has faced in 2022, but that's about all the Wildcats' offense offers.
In turn, it will also be the best defense Oklahoma has played so far, but it's hard to determine just how good the Wildcats are based on their 2022 nonconference opponents. Wins over South Dakota and Missouri and a loss to Tulane put much of this into perspective.
Kansas State has several talented players in Deuce Vaughn, Cooper Beebe, and Felix Anudike-Uzomah, but the depth on both sides of the ball favors the Oklahoma Sooners.
Vaughn isn't enough for the Kansas State offense as Brent Venables and Ted Roof come in with a plan to slow down one of the best players in the country.
Offensively, the Sooners have another strong and balanced day. Dillon Gabriel is much more precise this week, missing fewer throws, and continues to protect the football well, while the running game has another good day led by Eric Gray.
After playing a complete game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers a week ago, the Sooners continue their strong start to the season with another convincing win.
Oklahoma 42, Kansas State 17
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John gives you a look at the two teams with his weekly By the Numbers preview of the matchup.
Scroll below for predictions from national analysts on this game.
Athlon Sports likes the Sooners
Oklahoma running back Jovantae Barnes (2) plays against Nebraska during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Lincoln, Neb. Oklahoma defeated Nebraska 49-14. (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)
Steve Lassan, Ben Weinrib, and Mark Ross from Athlon Sports each picked the Oklahoma Sooners to beat the Kansas State Wildcats in their top 25 picks for week four.
Kansas State keeps it interesting, but Oklahoma prevails
Oklahoma running back Eric Gray (0) runs the ball against Nebraska during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)
Oklahoma 34, Kansas State 14
Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) passes against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma comes away winners
Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Eric Gray (0) celebrates with wide receiver Theo Wease (10) after scoring a touchdown during the first half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 17
Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Marcus Major (24) scores a touchdown during the first half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 17
Sep 10, 2022; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Brent Venables walks before the game against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma 42, Kansas State 24
Sep 17, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Gabe Ervin Jr. (22) gets tackled by Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Jaren Kanak (7) during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire