The Kansas State Wildcats are coming off a week where they were favored by 2 touchdowns against North Dakota State and failed to complete that task. Now the Wildcats are going against another good team in Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday evening.
The Wildcats’ stunning loss to the Bison at home, where a season ago K-State did not lose a game. The Cats’ schedule is favorable with 8 home games this season, but they must bounce back and be ready to the Ragin’ Cajuns with that one loss under their belt. K-State at times against North Dakota State, looked very good on offense. Defensively, they appeared sluggish and out of position. They will have to start playing up to their potential, or they quickly fall 0-2. The schedule after next week does not get any easier with Massachusetts looming .
Kansas State Offense vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Defense
Jake Waters look good in his K-State debut after a little bit of a shaky start. He made some beautiful throws, especially on the touchdowns to Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson, who both went over 100 receiving yards each. Waters finished the game going 21 of 29 for 280 yards 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The last interception was basically the dagger to K-State’s heart as it ended the Wildcats last ditch attempt to score when they got the ball back and trailing with only 28 seconds on the clock.
Another key piece of the offense that went missing was their running attack. John Hubert was shut down to only 23 yards on only just 10 carries. Daniel Sams, the backup QB had 17 yards on one play that went for a touchdown. Part of the running game struggles was the K-State offensive line outplayed by the defensive front of the Bison, who basically made Waters try to beat them with his arm.
Now the bigger question for the Wildcats is can they get the run game going. Bill Snyder has had a ton of success when his team is moving the ball on the ground, and having more of a balanced attack than just throwing the ball down field. Look for center BJ Finney and the rest of the offensive line to start moving defenders aside and opening holes for Hubert. Snyder mentioned in his Tuesday press conference to look of Sams in a lot more in the offense after only 2 plays against the Bison.
41 total yards on the ground will not get the job done if the Wildcats want to get their first win of the 2013 campaign. The Ragin’ Cajuns surrendered 292 yards on the ground last week, so there is good opportunity for the Cats to get some momentum back in that category. Also, look for Waters, Lockett, and Thompson to continue what they started last week against North Dakota State. Move the ball with short passes first, then hit the defense with the long ball.
Kansas State Defense vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Offense
Kansas State had few bright moments against North Dakota State, but just looked lost most of the time. Losing players to the NFL like Arthur Brown did show in the shocking loss to the Bison last Saturday night. It was really evident on the final offensive possession for the Bison in the 4th quarter when North Dakota State marched all the way down the field on 18 plays a eight and a half minutes to score the game-winning touchdown by quarterback, Brock Jensen. The Cats had their chances to go to the sideline but failed to make enough 3rd down stops.
Cats gave up 215 yards on the grounds to the Bison, and will need to start improving fast on their run defense if they are going to have success versus the Rajin’ Cajuns on Saturday. One of the few bright spots for K-State is the linebacker who replace Arthur Brown. Senior Blake Slaughter recorded 10 tackles last week, and seemed to be all over the field for the Wildcats on defense.
Dante Barnett had a solid game as well despite the loss last week recording 7 tackles and a 3rd quarter interception against the Bison. In the game this weekend, look for the Kansas State to play with a little more passion and intensity. Snyder said on Monday that his team needed to play more inspired football. Look for that on the field with starting with Tre Walker. Louisiana-Lafayette is coming off a 34-14 loss to SEC opponent Arkansas on the road, and they will make their visit Manhattan on Saturday led by quarterback Brandon Allen.
If the Wildcats can make more stops on 3rd downs in this one, they should be able to handle their business…note – should. If not, it will make things a whole lot tougher for the Wildcats, who cannot afford to have a record of 0-2.
Kansas State Wildcats (0-1) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (0-1) at Bill Snyder Family Stadium 5;30pm Saturday afternoon.