Kansas State football: 4 players to watch vs. Oklahoma

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After a week off, Kansas State football hits the road for the first time this season, taking on the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman. Oklahoma, ranked third in this week’s AP poll, blanked Missouri State 48-0 in its opener.

For the Wildcats to pull the upset and rebound from a 35-31 loss against Arkansas State in the season opener, a few key players will have to step up and have big games.

QB Skylar Thompson

The senior completed 17 of 29 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns against the Red Wolves. He’ll need to have another good game against Oklahoma for Kansas State to have a chance at the upset.

Last season, Thompson completed 18 of 28 passes for 213 yards as the Wildcats handed the Sooners their only conference loss. He ran the ball 13 times for 39 yards and found the end zone four times on the ground.

If Kansas State wants to topple Oklahoma for the second year in a row, Thompson will likely have to make plays with both his arm and his feet. Against Arkansas State, he was a non-factor in the rushing game, gaining just seven yards on seven carries.

RB Deuce Vaughn

The true freshman from Round Rock, Texas, burst onto the scene with an impressive debut against Arkansas State. Vaughn, whose first name is actually Christopher, rushed for 47 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries in the opener. He also caught one pass for 24 yards.

Vaughn will split carries with senior Harry Trotter, who ran for 43 yards and a touchdown in the opener but averaged fewer than three yards per carry. Both backs will likely be a factor in the game, and the run game as a whole will need to perform better than the 91 yards it mustered against Arkansas State. Vaughn looked more promising in the opener.

DE Wyatt Hubert

The junior entered his third season in Manhattan with some lofty expectations. After a strong sophomore campaign, Hubert was a preseason all-conference selection and was named on watch list for the Bednarik Award, given to the defensive player of the year.

Through his first two seasons at Kansas State, Hubert notched 21 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. He got off to a solid start in the season opener, recording both a tackle for loss and a sack. However, that was his only tackle of the game.

The Wildcat defense notched three sacks against Arkansas State. Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler dazzled in his collegiate debut, completing 14 of 17 passes for 290 yards and four touchdowns.

For Kansas State to have a shot at the upset, the defense must find a way to slow Rattler down. This means Hubert and the Wildcat pass rush needs to keep the redshirt freshman from getting too comfortable in the pocket

DB AJ Parker

The secondary will have to cover the Oklahoma wideouts well enough to give the pass rush a chance to disrupt Rattler. That means the senior Parker will need to have a good game.

An All-Big 12 honorable mention as a junior in 2019, Parker notched three interceptions and five pass breakups in eight games before an injury cut his season short. He returned with a bang in the opener as he had three of the team’s five pass breakups.

Parker had the game’s lone turnover in last season’s upset of the Sooners. If the Wildcats want to do so again, they’ll need another big game from the defensive back.

Photo courtesy of KStateSports.com