Plenty of stars on stage in Manhattan on Saturday

Thursday, October 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ All this quarterback hype is overshadowing a few other standout athletes who'll be on the field for Oklahoma and Kansas State this Saturday.

Josh Heupel is personally rewriting most of the passing records for No. 8 Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) And Jonathan Beasley has led No. 2 Kansas State (6-0, 2-0) to six easy victories in a row.

But what about running back Quentin Griffin?

All he did was score a school-record six touchdowns last week in a benumbing 63-14 victory over Texas. Defensively, the Longhorns were throttled by cornerback Derrick Straight with a career-high 10 tackles and linebacker Rocky Calmus who had two tackles for losses, one sack and an interception he brought back 41 yards for a touchdown.

Kansas State, which owns a 25-game home winning streak and has won 35 of its last 36 regular-season games, has a young running back named Josh Scobey, who has scored at least one rushing touchdown in the last five games. On the receiving end of many of Beasley's passes is quick and heady Quincy Morgan, with 28 catches for 520 yards.

When the Sooners punt, back to catch the ball will be David Allen, who needs one touchdown return and less than 150 yards to break long-standing NCAA records.

Kansas State is No. 1 in the nation in total defense, allowing only 228.5 yards per game overall. They have forced opponents to give up the ball without a first down on 41 of 84 possessions.

Clearly, these two did not survive unbeaten until mid-October only by having outstanding quarterbacks.

``They're physical and disciplined in how they play. We've got to be able to handle their pressure, protect the quarterback,'' said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.

``We've got to be able to run and throw the football. We've got to take care of the football and be responsible with the ball like we have been. Defensively we've got to create turnovers. We've got to take away the run game and limit big plays.''

Despite all the offensive firepower, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder does not expect a high-scoring game.

But neither would be surprised at a touchdown-fest.

``I think both teams have some similarities even though their style in offense in particular are different. Both teams have very fine defenses and productive offenses,'' Snyder said. ``Ours has not been able to do some of the things that Oklahoma's has. That doesn't mean that I expect to see both teams marching down the field on each other. I have more respect for both defenses than that.''

The Sooners may be caught in the middle of a brutal scheduling quirk. Historically, they are not at the top of their game the week immediately following Texas. And next week, after meeting No. 2 Kansas State, they'll face No. 1 Nebraska at home.

``I know this is not what you want to hear, but I'm approaching this game just like I approached UTEP and Arkansas State and KU and Texas,'' said Oklahoma assistant Mark Mangino, another former assistant under Snyder.

``It's the biggest game right now because it's the next game. I sincerely believe in that philosophy, I live by it, and maybe perhaps I got that from coach Snyder. But there's no additional preparation. Our routine is the same with our coaching staff, our players, our preparation. Our players are confident. They've been confident every week, and we're not changing anything based on the opponent that we play.''