Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas State Preview: UMass The Final Tune-Up Before Texas

 

Sep 7, 2013; Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 7, 2013; Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

After a lackluster performance against North Dakota State, Kansas State came out with more energy and motivation versus the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns last Saturday night. The defense played much better but still need to work some things out before the Wildcats open Big 12 play on the road in Austin against Texas next week and begin their Big 12 title defense. First, the Wildcats deal with the UMass Minutemen.

K-State was led by the veterans in this game including Junior quarterback Jake Waters who continues to put the ball on the numbers for his receivers except for 2 more interceptions, one of which bounced off the facemask of Torell Miller. Waters now has 4 INT”s in 2 games after only throwing only 3 with Iowa Western a year ago. The pass/catch combo of Jake Waters to Tyler Lockett is starting to get popular in Manhattan. Lockett went over 100 yards for the second consecutive game with 111 yards with 8 catches.

More importantly for K-State, backup QB Daniel Sams got to showcase more of how valuable he can be am with his legs and giving a spark to the offense. Sams even threw a couple of passes in the 4th quarter Saturday night.

The defense needs to continue to improve and get better for them to have any shot at competing with the elite teams in the Big 12 this season. Kansas State had the excitement and energy in the 1st half against Ragin’ Cajuns, but turned off those engines in the 2nd half, giving up lots of yardage and big plays down the field. The difference from the opening game was the ‘Cats manned up on defense and made plays to stop Louisiana-Lafayette in a 48-27 victory; their 1st win of 2013.

Ryan Mueller was all over the place, and along with quietly strong safety Dante Barnett, led the team in tackles. (Mueller, 8, Barnett, 9).

K-State will need that kind of effort once again as they will take on UMass, who is coming off a 24-14 loss to Maine, and a 45-0 blowout loss to #23 Wisconsin on opening week.

Kansas State Offense vs. UMass Defense

 Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas State, with Jake Waters leading the charge, has somewhat become more of a passing team on offense. The run game, which has struggled so far in 2 games. The offensive line of K-State, which was projected to be one of the best in the Big 12, needs to get going for running back, Jon Hubert, before their big game next week vs. Texas.

Hubert did score his 1st touchdowns of the season last week. Hubert only has 97 yards with 2 touchdowns so far. This would be the time to get the little guy some momentum. UMass gave up 393 yards on the ground in the opener against the Badgers.

The big question remains for the ‘Cats is will Head Coach Bill Snyder continue to go with the 2 quarterback system in Waters and Sams. Time will tell, but expect the same this week. Sams has 80 yards rushing and 2 TDs after two games.

Outside of Tyler Lockett, wide receiver Curry Sexton is the only other receiver in double figures in catches with 10, and has 81 yards so far in 2013.

Kansas State Defense vs. UMass Offense

Against the Ragin’ Cajuns on Kansas State gave up 370 yards, and 381 yards against North Dakota State in the 1st game. With 9 new starters on defense, the ‘Cats are still looking to see marked improvement. The defensive line needs to buckle down and find ways to slow down the running game, especially up the middle, where the Cats’ are getting beat the most. Defensive end Ryan Mueller has been the bright spot so far, and they will need more production from others players if K-State is going to win upcoming games.

UMass is no North Dakota State, or even Louisiana-Lafayette, so the Cats should be able to get plenty of stops on the ground.

Ty Zimmerman returned his 1st touchdown of his K-State career last Saturday night. Zimmerman continues to come up big for the Cats’ in the secondary. UMass comes into Bill Snyder Family Stadium looking for answers on offense, only scoring 14 points thus far this season. This will be a golden opportunity for the Wildcats new starters, like cornerback Kip Daily, to get more reps before their showdown with Texas next week.

Massachusetts Minutemen (0-2) vs. Kansas State Wildcats at 6:00pm Saturday night in Bill Snyder Family Stadium

Tags: Daniel Sams Jake Waters Kansas State Wildcats Ryan Mueller Ty Zimmerman Tyler Lockett

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