STILLWATER, Okla. — It only makes sense that Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson looks forward to Saturday's Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State.

It was two years ago, in just his second career start, that he led the Wildcats to a wild 45-40 road victory over OSU.

But Thompson's enthusiasm for the 6 p.m. clash at Boone Pickens Stadium has less to do with past success than with the venue itself.

"Other than (Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan), it's probably my favorite place to play, honestly," said Thompson, a junior. "Just in the fact that the fans are right on the field, it's loud, it's close to Kansas State so a lot of our fans go down there.

"It's definitely one of my top choices to go play."

No. 24-ranked K-State, 3-0, is coming off a bye week after concluding its nonconference schedule with a 31-24 victory at Mississippi State. Oklahoma State (3-1) remained just outside the Top 25 after dropping its Big 12 opener last week at Texas, 36-30, and is listed as a 4 1/2-point favorite.

Thompson should have fond memories of his only other visit to Stillwater. It was his first road start and he completed 10 of 13 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns, plus rushed for 93 yards and another score. He followed that up last year by passing for 130 yards and rushing for 80 in a 31-12 Wildcat victory.

But he's not looking for a cakewalk as the Wildcats go after their third straight victory in the series.

"We've got to be anticipating some adversity," he said. "We're going on the road (and) the place is going to be pretty fired up.

"(It's a) night game and we're ranked and there's a lot of stuff going into it, but you just can't let those things be a distraction."

First-year K-State coach Chris Klieman also has some experience at Oklahoma State, though it goes back to his playing days at Northern Iowa.

"They're right on top of you," he said of the fans. "I've been down there once, but the guys have told me as well how tight it is. The sidelines, obviously, are really tight.

"It'll be exceptionally loud just because it's their Big 12 home opener, as well."

Klieman is looking for his 25th straight head coaching victory, going back to his days at FCS champion North Dakota State. Beating OSU would make him the first in K-State history to win his first four games as head coach.

"It's going to be a tough venue going on the road," Klieman said. "We need, once again, another measuring stick for us to see where we are.

"I'm excited, just like the guys are, just to have another opportunity."

Like Thompson, K-State junior cornerback AJ Parker also can look back at his first trip to Stillwater and smile. As a redshirt freshman, he made his first Big 12 start against the No. 10-ranked Cowboys and recorded five tackles, including one for loss.

As one of seven Oklahomans on the roster, he said the OSU game was circled on his calendar.

"Being from Oklahoma, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are big games for us just because those are two schools that didn't offer us (scholarships) or didn't give us the chances that we wanted growing up coming out of high school," said Parker, a Bartlesville native. "So you've kind of got a chip on your shoulder."

For K-State's defense, it also will have its hands full with an Oklahoma State team that ranks 11th nationally in total offense, 10th in rushing and features three dynamic playmakers.

Sophomore running back Chuba Hubbard leads FBS schools in rushing with 160.5 yards per game and rushing touchdowns with nine. Junior wide receiver Tylan Wallace leads the FBS in yards per catch with 23.7 and has six touchdowns.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders has completed 64.6% of his passes for 890 yards and seven touchdowns, plus ranks second on the team in rushing with 328 yards and two scores.

Part of the onus in slowing down the Cowboys' fast-paced spread attack falls on K-State's offense. The Wildcats, who rank seventh nationally in rushing with 280 yards rushing per game, would love to control time of possession.

"It's really important for us when you have a team that wants to get between 90 and 100 plays," Klieman said. "If we're not able to move the ball and move the chains and have some effective drives and take some clock up, then we're going to be out there all day on defense.

"We can't afford to do that."

Welcome to the Big 12.

"This is where we've got to really kick it in gear and take it up a notch in every aspect," Thompson said.