Perfect Oklahoma State hosts Wildcats

Oklahoma State can match the best start in school history Saturday night, but it’s likely focused on another accomplishment that could come from a win.

The third-ranked Cowboys have a chance to move into the top two in the BCS rankings for the first time if they can get past No. 17 Kansas State.

Most sports books monitored by SportsOptions have installed the Cowboys as hefty 21-point home favorites, with the total set at 68.

Oklahoma State is in sole possession of first place in the Big 12 following its 59-24 rout of Baylor and the Wildcats’ loss last Saturday.

The Cowboys (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) have been 9-0 one other time, in 1945 when they wrapped up an unbeaten season with a victory in the Sugar Bowl.

More importantly, tying that record might also put them on track toward the BCS title game with No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama – also first and second, respectively, in the BCS rankings – meeting Saturday. The Crimson Tide hold a slim lead over No. 3 Oklahoma State.

“We’ve got to take care of business. That’s our first and foremost goal,” quarterback Brandon Weeden said. “We’ve got to keep winning, and the rest will take care of itself.”

Running back Joseph Randle will try to lead his team to a 10th consecutive win by continuing his spectacular run of scoring. The sophomore has recorded four touchdowns in each of the last two games and set a career high for rushing yards for the second time in as many weeks with 152 against Baylor.

Weeden passed for three TDs in that game with two to All-American Justin Blackmon, who tied a career high with 13 receptions and had a season-best 172 yards.

Oklahoma State didn’t have Blackmon available for its Oct. 30, 2010 matchup with Kansas State after he was suspended following an arrest for a DUI complaint.

The Cowboys, though, still outgained the Wildcats 511-289 en route to a 24-14 victory. Weeden threw for 298 yards and a pair of TDs, and Randle added 123 total yards.

Oklahoma State has taken three of the last four matchups since dropping nine in a row in the series. The Cowboys have won the last two home meetings, both against ranked Wildcats squads.

This time, the Cowboys will face a team that saw its unbeaten start come to a miserable end. Kansas State held a 17-14 lead over then-No. 11 Oklahoma early in the second quarter last Saturday, but ended up losing 58-17 at home.

The Wildcats (7-1, 4-1) gave up a season-high 690 yards and allowed the Sooners’ Landry Jones to pass for a school-record 505 and five touchdowns.

That doesn’t bode well heading into a matchup with another high-powered offense. Oklahoma State ranks in the top five in the FBS with 49.9 points, 555.1 yards and 373.3 passing yards per game.

“Obviously we have to learn from our mistakes,” Wildcats defensive back Tysyn Hartman said. “We will get everything corrected because we are facing a tough opponent, which has a talented offense. They are going to try to exploit all the negative things we did.”

Kansas State’s pass defense ranks 103rd out of 120 FBS teams with 278.0 yards allowed per game.

Primarily a rushing squad, the Wildcats are 113th in the nation with 130.5 passing yards per game – a lack of proficiency that was on display last week when Collin Klein was sacked a career-high seven times.

Oklahoma State is tied for 18th in the country with 22 sacks.

If they can pressure their way to a victory, the Cowboys would have nine or more wins in four straight seasons for the first time and the second double-digit win streak in school history. They won 13 in a row from 1944-46.

Oklahoma State has won 18 of 26 all-time matchups with Kansas State in Stillwater and leads the series 35-22.

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