K-State at OK Preview
Norman, OK - Sam Bradford's career at Oklahoma might be over, but his teammates are prepared to finish the season strong without their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback.
The 22nd-ranked Sooners look to build off a dominating victory while trying for a fourth straight win over visiting Big 12 North leader Kansas State on Saturday night.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SPORTSBETTING.com have made Oklahoma –27.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 56% of bets for this game have been placed on Oklahoma –27.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
A day after Oklahoma (4-3, 2-1) rolled to a 35-13 victory at then-No. 24 Kansas last Saturday, Bradford announced he will have season-ending shoulder surgery and plans to enter the NFL Draft in April. The junior injured his throwing shoulder in a season-opening 14-13 loss to BYU, and most recently against Texas on Oct. 10.
Bradford broke school records with 4,720 passing yards and 50 touchdowns en route to the Heisman and the BCS championship game last year. It was a 24-14 loss to Florida in the title game that brought him back, but he threw for 562 yards and two touchdowns while finishing one of three games he played.
Without Bradford, the Sooners lost three times and fell out of national title contention.
"I don't think Sam, by any means, has held us back from just all the talk,'' Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "(The players) understand Sam's situation. So there isn't anybody (that's) been slowed by this.''
The post-Bradford Era begins against Kansas State (5-3, 3-1), the North's surprise leader which has dropped three straight to Oklahoma since a 35-7 win at Norman on Dec. 6, 2003. Road dates against Nebraska and Texas Tech, plus home games versus Texas A&M and No. 13 Oklahoma State follow on the Sooners' schedule.
Third in the Big 12 South, Oklahoma moves on with improving freshman quarterback Landry Jones, who's thrown for 1,363 yards and 13 touchdowns with six interceptions in six games.
"He's feeling more comfortable out there,'' said receiver Ryan Broyles, the team leader with 36 receptions and eight touchdowns. "Now that Sam's out, I guess he can feel like he can be more of a leader. We all know that he can play football.''
Last weekend, Jones benefited from a dominating effort by the Oklahoma defense, sixth in nation allowing 264.9 yards per contest.
The Sooners intercepted star Todd Reesing on Kansas' first three possessions and held the nation's second-ranked offense to 305 yards - about 200 fewer than its average.
"It's really comforting to have a great defense like that," said Jones, who threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns.
Though Oklahoma allowed 550 yards in a 58-35 win at Kansas State last season, the Wildcats are averaging 15.5 points per game while going 1-3 on the road, compared to 38.0 at home where they're 4-0.
Offensively, running backs Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray hope for another big game against Kansas State. While the pair has combined for 830 yards this season after each rushed for more than 1,000 yards a year ago, Brown ran for 142 yards and Murray 104 with two TDs versus the Wildcats last season.
Though Kansas State has allowed 44 total points at home this season, it's giving up an average of 32.3 on the road.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma has averaged 44.0 points during its three-game winning streak over Kansas State, which begins a rough final stretch that concludes with games against Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
Since early losses at Louisiana-Lafayette and UCLA, the Wildcats have won three of four. One week after a 62-14 rout of Texas A&M, Kansas State beat Colorado 20-6 last Saturday to take a one-game lead over Iowa State in the North.
"It feels good. We have to keep it up," receiver Brandon Banks said of the Wildcats, the only member of the division with a winning league record. "Hopefully we can stay on top and continue to win."
After allowing 739 yards in a 66-14 loss at Texas Tech on Oct. 10, Kansas State has dominated the first half the past two weeks, leading Texas A&M and Colorado by a combined 58-6. The Wildcats have forced 10 turnovers and recorded nine sacks in those contests after getting six the first six games.
Kansas State's running game has been a big part of its recent success. The Wildcats are second in league averaging 186.5 yards on the ground and 218.0 in their last two games.
Averaging 101.8 yards per game, junior Daniel Thomas rushed for a career-high 145 yards and a TD on 20 carries against Colorado.
Kansas State, which hasn't started 4-1 in league play since 1999, has lost four in a row against ranked opponents since winning 41-21 at then-No.7 Texas on Sept. 29, 2007.
Posted: 10/27/09 9:00PM ET