MANHATTAN — The Kansas State Wildcats are coming off an emotional victory over TCU last week and feeling pretty good about themselves.
Then here comes a reality check.
But with No. 5-ranked Oklahoma visiting Bill Snyder Family Stadium at 11 a.m. Saturday, the Wildcats — 23 1/2-point underdogs — are viewing the Sooners less with awe than with a healthy respect.
"It's a great opportunity for us," quarterback Skylar Thompson said. "We're going to have the whole college football world watching us, being on prime time and being on ABC and whatnot.
"We're going to have a lot of eyes on us and it will be a great opportunity to show what we're capable of against a very good team."
Very good indeed. With the exception of a one-touchdown victory over nationally-ranked Texas two weeks ago, the Sooners have dominated opponents on the way to a 7-0 record and 4-0 Big 12 mark.
They lead the nation in scoring with 50.4 points a game and total offense with a 612.9-yard average, and feature two of the top offensive weapons in college football with quarterback Jalen Hurts and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.
"For some it might be intimidating; I can't speak for them," K-State defensive end Wyatt Hubert said. "But for me it's just a faceless opponent.
"It's definitely exciting. We're going to play against some great football players and some very talented ones, as well. But to me, it honestly doesn't matter. I'm just going to go out there and do what I can control, which is play hard and execute my assignments."
K-State (4-2, 1-2) is coming off its best defensive performance in Big 12 play with the 24-17 victory over TCU and leads the league in scoring defense. Senior defensive tackle Trey Dishon said that success should serve them well against the high-powered Sooners.
"I look at it as a privilege, an honor to play against them and showcase my talents," he said.
It will be the first time facing Oklahoma for first-year coach Chris Klieman, but he's no stranger to David vs. Goliath matchups. While winning four FCS national championships at North Dakota State, he was typically a heavy favorite, but not when the Bison moved up to face FBS opponents.
The best way to address the situation, he said, is simply not to bring it up.
"I don't believe in doing it that way, because I learned a long time ago, be careful about overemphasizing one team over another," he said. "Because if you do that — 'This is our Super Bowl, we've got to get it done' — then what do you do next week, what do you do the following week?
"I think you can flip on the film and the guys can see how talented this team is that we're playing in all phases — offense, defense and (special) teams — and I hope it lends us to believe that we've got to keep our focus every snap and make sure that we do our job and detail work every snap, because they have the potential to make a big play, whether it's a tackle for loss on a sack or a big play on offense, at any given time."
Same for Thompson, whose late-game heroics last week helped deliver the victory over TCU.
"It a big game like this, versus a really good team, the little details of things is what's going to make the difference," he said. "We don't really have anything to lose going into this game, so I think that kind of takes some weight off of our shoulders in a way, but also knowing that we're going to have to perform at a really high level."