The rushing attack for the Kansas State Wildcats came together at the right time last Saturday night finally got moving against UMass last week. The Wildcats hope carry some of that momentum down to Austin, Texas for their first road game of the 2013 season for their anticipated showdown against Texas. It is also Kansas State’s first conference game of the year.
The last Big 12 opponent the Cats’ faced was the Longhorns a year ago when K-State was led by Collin Klein. KSU defeated Texas in Manhattan to capture the Big 12 Title. Kansas State is in prime time Saturday night and will look to continue their ongoing success against Texas.
Head Coach Bill Snyder’s success against Texas has to weigh on the minds of the Longhorns and Head Coach Mack Brown. At this particular stage of the season both teams seems are starting to go in different directions. K-State is coming off the end of their non-conference schedule win their 37-7 win last week against Massachusetts and seem to be making strides, while Texas has lost 2 consecutive games to BYU and #25 Ole Miss. Texas, at least to this point, has not looked good on defense, especially against the run.
Even considering that and dealing with a hostile environment, Kansas State knows that they will still need to play up to their capabilities if they are going to leave the Lone Star state with a victory on Saturday night. This will be a very important game as both teams look to start off Big 12 play on the right foot. A loss for K-State would be a big setback as defending champs of the Big 12, but a win could go a long way for this new cast of characters who are led by the still new quarterback duo of Jake Waters and Daniel Sams.
Kansas State Offense vs. Texas Defense
K-State on the ground last week against UMass rushed for over 300 yards in the game led by senior running back John Hubert,who picked up his 1st 100 yard rushing game of the season with 118 yards against the Minutemen. Backup quarterback Daniel Sams, as has been the case thus far, played a major role with Waters struggling early on in the 1st half. Sams rushed for 77 yards and picked up his third touchdown of the season.
Jake Waters did get things going after a little bit of a rough start versus UMass but ended up only 5 for 10 in his passing attempts for 115 yards with 2 touchdowns. He throw another interception bringing his total to 5. One of those touchdown was to red shirt freshman fullback Glenn Gronkowski, his 1st career touchdown as a Wildcat. For K-State to have success in their first road test of the season, Waters cannot make mistakes and turn the ball over. Texas has struggled to stop anybody in the last 2 games, but you cannot allow the Longhorns good field position and expect to win the football game.
The offensive line will be the biggest key to the game for K-State. After their poor performance in Week 1 against North Dakota State, this unit led by BJ Finney and Cornelius Lucas is starting to come together and will have to block well up front to have a chance in this game against a defense that has allowed a combined 822 rushing yards against BYU and Ole Miss.
The defensive coordinator change for Texas hasn’t helped matters either. K-State will look to continue to be more balanced, whoichever quarterback is in the game Waters or Sams will look to get the ball into the hands of Tyler Lockett, Tramaine Thompson, and Curry Sexton. Hubert is also dangerous out of the backfield as a pass catcher.
Kansas State Defense vs. Texas Offense
Two steps forward, two steps backwards, and then another two steps forward. That is the description of the defense so far up to this point for the Cats’ after non-conference play. Now entering Big 12 play, Kansas State will need to be more consistent stopping opponents on the ground, and of course, the big plays in the air, if the Cats’ want to win games in conference play. Defensive end Ryan Mueller and linebacker Blake Slaughter have been playing very well right out of the gates for the Cats’.
then there is linebacker Jonathan Truman, who himself has been excellent so far and had a good game vs. UMass with 6 tackles. Senior cornerback Kip Daily, who has played well thus far, had 2 picks against UMass, the first of which first one resulted in a touchdown.
Texas on offense is well balance and they also have a pretty good backfield led by running backs Jonathon Gray and Joe Bergeron. Kansas State will have to be ready to defend if they hope to escape with a win.
K-State will need to tighten up and stop the rushing attack for Texas and make either Case McCoy, who started last week against Ole Miss, or David Ash, beat them through their air. McCoy started against the Wildcats last season. Confidence is something that K-State does not want to give to Texas, especially considering Texas’ situation. Texas cannot start off 1-3. The Cats defensively with need to play with that same passion or it could be a long night. This is an important game for both K-State and Texas; for K-State a chance to make a statement on the road, in Austin.
Kansas State Wildcats (2-1) vs. Texas Longhorns (1-2) at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas 7pm on ABC.