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OU, K-State differences not so different

Two offenses. Two speeds. One ball.

Even the most casual fan will see a vast difference in the way Oklahoma's offense operates and the way Kansas State moves the ball.

The Wildcats?

"Methodical," says quarterback Collin Klein, offering up a solid euphemism for the slow offensive pace Kansas State has ridden to a 7-0 start.

Said the squad's self-deprecating humorist on the sideline, coach Bill Snyder: "It’s just kind of the nature of the way we do things. We’re probably not smart enough to figure it out as fast as other people."

Oklahoma? When the Sooners get rolling, they're arguably faster than any offense in the country. On at least a handful of occasions per game, TV viewers will miss the first half of an Oklahoma play during a brief instant replay.

Despite the differences, the goals are identical.

"At the end of the day, you’re trying to wear them down," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.

Said Klein: "It gives our defense rest and enables us to wear down opposing defenses."

Both have succeeded in different ways. The Wildcats lead the nation in time of possession. That's welcome news for a simple reason.

"We think it’s a good thing if the ball’s in our hands. The longer period of time you have it in your hands, maybe that’s a good thing," Snyder said. "We think fewer bad things can happen when you’ve got possession of the ball and if you’re not turning it over."

Sound, uncomplicated reasoning.

Trips to the end zone are the ultimate goal for both teams, but while K-State looks to shorten the game and keep its defense off the field as long as possible, Oklahoma lengthens it and maximizes what opposing defenses have to do when they're on the field.

Both philosophies, though, boil down to that ever-present coaching buzzword.

"It still gets down to execution," Stoops said, citing a stretch of seven possessions during last week's loss to Texas Tech in which the Sooners committed two turnovers and had four three-and-outs. "No matter what you’re trying to gain an advantage off of, getting guys when they don’t have their feet in the ground, you still have to execute. ... Hopefully, they're not quite set and ready to play defense, so hopefully you have an opportunity to gain an advantage."

Said Snyder: "Possession time is a positive thing if you do something with the possession time."

His team has just under 35 minutes of it per game, but ranks last in the Big 12 (and 88th nationally) in total offense. But think of it this way: No team puts opposing defenses on the field more than Kansas State and no defense has been on the field less this season than the Wildcats'. K-State is best known for its rushing duo of Klein and running back John Hubert, who have carried the ball a combined 273 times and rank first and third in the Big 12 in carries.

Oklahoma ranks fourth nationally in total offense with a unit known for its pass attack led by Landry Jones and receivers Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills. Its time of possession? Just under 29 minutes per game, which ranks 77th nationally and seventh in the Big 12.

Both work, and K-State is the team without a loss.

The question on Saturday: Which works better?