MANHATTAN, Kan. – There was much doubt entering the season regarding Jalen Hurts' ability to uphold the recent Oklahoma standard that Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray set, but it could easily be argued all he has done is lift the bar. Coming off one of the most efficient passing performances in school history, the Alabama transfer attempts to continue what has been a dream season on Saturday when the fifth-ranked Sooners visit Kansas State.
TV: Noon ET, ABC. LINE: Oklahoma -23.5.
Hurts finished 16-of-17 for 316 yards and three touchdowns and added two more scores to go along with 75 yards rushing in last weekend's 52-14 rout of West Virginia, becoming only the third quarterback in school history to complete at least 90 percent of his passes, throw for over 300 yards and throw for at least three TDs in a contest. "(Hurts) saw things well the majority of the game. … Made some really nice play decisions in scramble situations. He had a couple of jaw-dropping type throws," coach Lincoln Riley said. Perhaps most impressively, the graduate transfer's 74 percent completion rate, 226.1 passer rating, 2,779 yards of total offense and 30 total TDs are among the statistical categories in which he is ahead of the Sooners' four other Heisman-winning quarterbacks (Sam Bradford, Jason White) through their first seven games with the school. The Wildcats earned their first victory in over a month last Saturday as Skylar Thompson capped off a late scoring drive with a 3-yard TD in a 24-17 win over TCU.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (7-0, 4-0 Big 12)
Hurts has generated a passing efficiency rating of at least 245.0 five times - the only FBS player since at least 1996 with more than three such efforts in a season - while last Saturday's 308.5 passer rating was the second-best figure in school history (minimum 15 attempts). Junior CeeDee Lamb, who is tied for the FBS lead with 10 receiving touchdowns despite watching his eight-game scoring streak come to an end, ranks seventh in yards per catch (22.0) and 11th in receiving yards per game (97.3). Sophomore Kennedy Brooks is the only Oklahoma running back to handle at least 10 carries in each of the last two games, rushing for 185 yards and a score on 20 attempts over that span.
ABOUT KANSAS STATE (4-2, 1-2)
Thompson completed only 11 of his 23 pass attempts versus the Horned Frogs, but he led the team with 68 yards rushing, getting a career-high 61 of those early on the eventual game-winning 95-yard drive. Sophomore Nick Lenners hauled in a 21-yard TD grab to open the scoring against TCU - ending a 57-game drought in which Kansas State tight ends had not scored - while senior Dalton Schoen moved into a tie for 23rd place in school history with 1,244 receiving yards. The defense ranks among the best in the country on third down (23.9 percent conversion rate, second in FBS), passing yards allowed (152.5, fifth) and pass efficiency defense (105.88, 10th).
1. Oklahoma boasts the nation's top scoring offense (50.4 points), while Kansas State owns the Big 12's top scoring defense (18.7).
2. Kansas State's Chris Klieman can become only the third coach in program history to begin his tenure by winning five of his first seven games with the Wildcats and first since 1916.
3. The Sooners have won 22 consecutive true road contests and have scored at least 34 points in a school-record 17 straight games.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma 45, Kansas State 17