MANHATTAN — The Kansas State football team is used to being an underdog, but this is new territory.
Oklahoma State is favored to beat the Wildcats by 21 on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium, a point-spread so large you have to go back nearly a decade to find the last time K-State was expected to lose by more.
The last time K-State was a 20-point underdog: at Oklahoma State in 2011. The Wildcats were ranked No. 17 at the time, but that didn’t matter much against the No. 3 Cowboys. Folks in Vegas tabbed the Pokes as 20.5-point favorites, according to numbers provided by Bovada Sports.
The last time K-State was a bigger underdog than it will be on Saturday: at Oklahoma in 2009. You have to go all the way back to Bill Snyder’s first year out of retirement to find a game in which oddsmakers had less faith in the Wildcats than they currently do. The Sooners entered that game expected to win by 28.
In vintage Snyder fashion, K-State covered both spreads.
Collin Klein nearly led the Wildcats to a thrilling come-from-behind victory in Stillwater before the Cowboys escaped with a 52-45 win in 2011. Two years earlier, the Wildcats made things interesting in Norman before falling 42-30.
Needless to say, the Wildcats are looking for more this time around.
“It’s an even bigger opportunity to go in there and make sure we get a win,” K-State right tackle Dalton Risner said, “and surprise everyone in the nation that thinks we are going to lose by 21.”
Oklahoma State opened as a 17-point favorite when the betting lines were first posted Sunday, but that number quickly jumped to 21.
“That never feels good, because the games I have been a part of that are decided by 21 points feels like blowouts,” K-State defensive back Brogan Barry said. “You never want that to happen. But it can be motivation.”
K-State players are using their underdog status for exactly that purpose.