An extra week to study and contemplate their trip to Norman, Okla., did little to alter Kansas State's thinking.
Whether it's the daunting task of facing No. 8-ranked Oklahoma on the road or accumulating enough victories for bowl eligibility, the Wildcats know that time is of the essence.
But first things first. When it comes to today's 2:30 p.m. matchup with the Sooners and their juggernaut offense, it's time of possession that is front and center.
"We need to own the clock, we need to run the football, we need to pass the football and we need to execute as an offense," K-State offensive tackle Dalton Risner said. "If we do those things, we'll find ourselves in a good position in the fourth quarter."
The Wildcats, at 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12 with five games left, are running out of opportunities to reach the requisite six victories for bowl eligibility. Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1) needs to keep winning in order to stay relevant in the national playoff hunt.
For K-State, a 24 1/2-point underdog, the best bet is to keep an Oklahoma offense that ranks seventh nationally in total yards and third in scoring off the field.
"We are going to have to dominate the clock," said Wildcat running back Alex Barnes, the Big 12 rushing leader with 788 yards.
The best way for the Wildcats to do that is take a page out of the Army playbook. In a 28-21 overtime loss to OU on Sept. 22, the Black Knights controlled the ball for 44 minutes, 41 seconds in regulation and rushed for 339 yards.
"I've looked at it a couple of times and they really did just pound the rock on them and dominated the clock, and they kept OU off the field," said Barnes, who has been a key to K-State's resurgent rushing attack with 431 yards and seven touchdowns over the last two games. "We're going to try to take the same approach."
K-State has resurrected its run game the last two times out, piling up 319 yards on the ground in a 37-34 loss at Baylor on Oct. 6 and 291 two weeks ago in a 31-12 upset victory over Oklahoma State.
But Oklahoma, which is middle of the pack against the run for the season, has tightened things up since then, leading the league in that category during league play by allowing just 113.2 yards per game on the ground.
"That presents a huge challenge for us," K-State center Adam Holtorf said. "Oklahoma is such a prolific offense, their ability to score quickly is huge.
"To be able to control time of possession is going to be big."
K-State coach Bill Snyder, who admitted to studying the OU-Army game extensively, would love to follow that template. But it only works, he added, if the Wildcats can advance the ball consistently.
"They had the ball as long they did because they were getting first downs and they were moving the ball," he said. "It's interesting to watch the game because their gains are one yard, three yards, four yards, two yards, five yards (and) four yards.
"However many snaps they too, I would guess 95 percent of them were five yards or less gains, but they were son consistent about it."
The fact that Army runs a wishbone offense, makes preparing for it unique. But Barnes attributed the Knights' success more to attitude than schemes.
"Army kind of came out and punched (OU) in the mouth and they played really physical and up-front with them," he said. "That's something we have to do, too."
Oklahoma averages a Big 12-best 48.6 points a game and is second with 526 yards in total offense. The Sooners also are No. 1 in rushing with 223.9 yards — K-State is third at 191.6 — and averages 302.4 yards through the air.
Quarterback Kyler Murray has been the most prolific passer in four Big 12 games with 326.5 yards per game and he has thrown for 25 touchdowns with just three interceptions overall. He also averages 60 yards a game on the ground.
K-State's defense has improved the past two games in part by controlling the ball on the ground and averaging 36 minutes of possession.
"The fewer snaps that your defense has to take, in most cases is probably an advantage for you," Snyder said. "It just limits their opportunities to put points on the board."