TIME: 12:00 P.M. EST
VENUE: Wagner Field
Oklahoma State couldn't stay unbeaten last weekend even with Justin Blackmon having another big game. It might be hard to avoid a second consecutive loss with the nation's leading receiver not playing.
Blackmon won't be on the field following his recent arrest as the 20th-ranked Cowboys visit Kansas State on Saturday trying to avoid a devastating blow to their Big 12 title hopes.
Blackmon was arrested early Tuesday on a DUI complaint. Police said the 20-year-old star wideout was traveling 92 mph in a 60 mph zone, and he was taken into custody because under Texas law, drivers under 21 can be arrested for consuming any amount of alcohol. A field sobriety test showed Blackmon did.
Blackmon, bonded out of jail for $375, was suspended for this game Wednesday by coach Mike Gundy.
"I'm embarrassed to be in this position," Blackmon said. "I'm truly sorry to my family, to my friends and to Oklahoma State all together. I look forward to redeeming myself and proving to everybody that this isn't who I am. I'm not this guy. I'm humbled by this experience and I will grow from it.
"I did it and I should be punished for it. I'm just going to take my punishment like I should."
The incident came three days after Blackmon had five catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns in a 51-41 loss to then-No. 14 Nebraska. He's a big reason the Cowboys (6-1, 2-1) had gone into the game unbeaten, as he leads the FBS with 1,112 receiving yards and 14 touchdown catches.
His absence could put more of the burden offensively on Kendall Hunter, third in the country with 1,031 rushing yards after totaling 201 with two TDs last Saturday.
Blackmon and Hunter may be the biggest reasons Oklahoma State began the week ranked second in the FBS in scoring, averaging 48.3 points, and third in total yards per game with 529.6.
However, a lack of veterans on defense continues to be a problem. The Cowboys, who lost eight defensive starters from last year's team, gave up 540 yards of offense to Nebraska, including 323 passing.
They're giving up 423.9 yards and 30.6 points per game, ranking ninth in the Big 12 in both categories.
The loss dropped the Cowboys into a second-place tie with Oklahoma in the Big 12 South and a half-game behind 3-1 Baylor, which defeated Kansas State 47-42 last Saturday. Oklahoma State hosts the Bears next Saturday and ends the regular season at home against the Sooners.
"We can still accomplish all of the things that we want to accomplish," said Brandon Weeden, who threw for 283 yards and two touchdowns. "This loss will be tough to swallow, but we still have a lot of season left."
While it has a big game next week, Oklahoma State isn't about to overlook Kansas State (5-2, 2-2), which has averaged 50.5 points and 438.5 yards of offense in its last two games.
The Cowboys have lost six straight trips to Manhattan, Kan., and Gundy was their quarterback when the program last won there in 1988.
Gundy doesn't want to risk losing players from his already inexperienced defense, so he won't use them on special teams even though that's an area in which the team also has struggled.
"It's real simple. It's cut and dry," Gundy said. "You can take starters and put them out there, but if something happens to them - and you don't ever want to play tentative - then that guy that's a starter on your defense now is no longer a starter on your defense and the guy backing him up may be a freshman."
Oklahoma State has given up three touchdowns on kickoff returns and allows 34.4 yards per kick return - second-worst in the nation. Kansas State leads the FBS in kickoff returns, averaging 29.0 yards, and William Powell returned one 100 yards for a score last Saturday.
The Wildcats are entering a brutal part in their schedule. After losing to a newly ranked Baylor team last week, their next three opponents are also in the Top 25. They host No. 22 Texas next Saturday and visit No. 7 Missouri the following weekend.
Another big offensive day, led by Daniel Thomas' 113 yards rushing and two touchdowns, wasn't enough for Kansas State to overcome giving up 683 yards of offense - 404 passing. The Wildcats rank 100th nationally in total defense, allowing 428.3 yards per game.
"This wasn't just the defense," coach Bill Snyder said. "This was a team loss. We were inept at times when we needed to have success on both sides of the ball."
This is the first meeting between these teams since Oklahoma State won 41-39 in 2007.