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No. 25 Kansas State faces Oklahoma State in Big 12 opener

September 23, 2021 GMT
Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn (22) run for a first down during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nevada on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn (22) run for a first down during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nevada on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn (22) run for a first down during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Nevada on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

No. 25 Kansas State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12) at Oklahoma State (3-0, 0-0), Saturday at 7:00 p.m. EDT (Big 12 Now on ESPN+)

Line: Oklahoma State by 5 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook

Series record: Oklahoma State 41-26.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Both No. 25 Kansas State and Oklahoma State are hoping to follow up unbeaten non-conference records with a win in their Big 12 opener, with each team looking to overcome injuries at significant positions. Will Howard is in for injured K-State starting quarterback Skylar Thompson again. Oklahoma State was without three of its top four receivers last week and lost another during the game. It is unclear if any of Braydon Johnson, Tay Martin, Jaden Bray or Bryson Green will be back.

KEY MATCHUP

Oklahoma State’s resurgent running game, which gained 246 yards in last week’s 21-20 win over Boise State, against Kansas State’s top-tier rushing defense. Oklahoma State was led last week by a career-high 218 yards, along with two touchdowns, from Jaylen Warren. K-State has been stout against the run, allowing just 164 yards total in three games (54.7 per game), topping the Big 12 and ranking sixth the nation.

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PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kansas State: RB Deuce Vaughn. After gaining a career-high 127 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries in last week’s 38-17 win over Nevada, Vaughn has 371 rushing yards on the season, tops in the Big 12 and ranking eighth in the nation. He also has five touchdowns on the ground and has five straight 100-yard games.

Oklahoma State: LB Malcolm Rodriguez. With eight tackles last week against Boise State, Rodriguez has 36 on the season, and his 12 tackles per game leads the Big 12 and ranks third in the nation.

FACTS & FIGURES

Since the beginning of the 2016 season, the Cowboys are 8-3 when they are not included in the AP Top 25 and are facing a ranked opponent. That includes a 5-1 record when playing at home. … Kansas State has rushed for 200 yards in five consecutive contests dating to last season.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25