Dec 1, 2012; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats mascot Willie Wildcat does pushups following a touchdown at a game against the Texas Longhorns at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Kansas State won the game, 42-24. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

The Pregame: Kansas State Opens the Season Against North Dakota State


VITALS

Time: 7:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports 1

Radio: In Kansas City, 810 WHB; In Manhattan, 1350 KMAN and 101.5 KMKF

Weather: Sunny, 95-degrees at kickoff, cooling to around 84-degrees by the fourth quarter

MOTIVATIONAL VIDEO

This is North Dakota State’s video getting fans ready for the K-State game. (The comments for the video are pretty great.)

THREE 2 WATCH

1. Jake Waters and Daniel Sams

Bill Snyder likes to play things close to the vest the first week of the season, so we probably won’t see too much of what he has in store for Waters and Sams. But it will be interesting to see how frequently Waters and Sams are used on Friday night.

2. The Secondary

Ty Zimmerman is the lone returning starter from a secondary that produced several big plays last season. Corners Dorrian Roberts and Kip Daily are both seniors, but both saw little action last year. Dante  Barnett, a sophomore, saw the most time of the three new starters, recording 24 tackles and two passes defended.

Also keep an eye out for reserve cornerbacks junior Carl Miles and sophomore Morgan Burnes.

(Note: Starters based off of GoPowercat.com’s depth chart.)

3. Sam Ojuri and John Crockett

NDSU has a two-headed running monster of Ojuri and Crockett, both of whom rushed for over 1,000 yards last season. Ojuri is the starting back, but Crockett averages more yards per carry (5.4).

TAILGATE BEER

The season opener in Manhattan can only mean one beer: 8-Bit. Not only is it my favorite Kansas-brewed beer, it is also (probably) my favorite can design. It is impossible to go wrong with this beer.

And you can’t go with anything other than Tallgrass for a game in Manhattan. It would be wrong to do otherwise.

NORTH DAKOTA STATE

1. A Bill Snyder quote:

“This is a faster football team than people want to envision. Sometimes on tape you can’t visualize that, but they run around. Secondly, they are as aggressive and as tough as a football team as you will line up against. They play with a great deal of confidence. Defensively, they have been amazing.”

2. Brock Jensen

Jensen is a four-year starter who threw for 2,331 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. He was also named the 2012 NCAA FCS National Championship MVP, and was the starting quarterback of their 2011 national championship team, too. Jensen has already beaten two FBS schools in Minnesota and Colorado State. He was not the starter when the Bison beat Kansas in 2010.

3. North Dakota State is debuting new uniforms on Friday. Get excited.

GAME PLAN

It goes without saying that protecting the ball is a must when it comes to winning football games. With North Dakota State, that truism is only heightened. NDSU has a 7-to-2 turnover margin in their current three-game winning streak over FBS schools, forcing at least two turnovers in each of those games.

While Jake Waters is a first-time starting quarterback in the FBS, he does bring with him a ton of starts from junior college. He should be fine, but I’m sure he’ll also be pretty amped up. This would be a good game to let John Hubert and Tyler Lockett run around so as to keep things simple for Waters.

North Dakota State is returning 18 starters from last season’s championship team. They are a team loaded with the experience of winning big game. Kansas State cannot afford to come out flat they way they have in their last four season openers.

GO ‘CATS!


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