After two byes weeks within a month for the Kansas State Wildcats, they are about to enter into the second half of the season. With homecoming on Saturday in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, the Wildcats are sitting at 2-4 on the season, 0-3 in the big 12 Conference.
Kansas State will look to turn things around beginning with their opponent this week, West Virginia (3-4 overall 1-3 Big 12). K-State has loss 3 straight conference games to kickoff their Big 12 schedule.
For Bill Snyder’s football team to go to a bowl game this season, the ‘Cats will have to win at least 4 games, 5 to be safe. This is not an easy task because after West Virginia, the Wildcats have Iowa State next week, with #15 Oklahoma is still looming in a month, plus with TCU. Road trips to play Texas Tech and in-state rival Kansas, round out the remaining schedule.
The Wildcats defense is starting to pick things up game by game. Two weeks ago, K-State defense did not allow Baylor to score 70 points.
Kansas State held the Bears to their season low 35 points so far. Led by DE Ryan Mueller, the ‘Cats were possibly two long passes away from the upset. Giving up those long touchdown passes, plus a couple of mental errors costs the Wildcats. With this defense being young coming in this season, they have started to come together as a unit, keeping the Wildcats in the football games and giving the Cats a chance to win.
Two games in a row now, the offense hasn’t been able to come up with a big play late to secure a win.
The quarterback story Jake Waters and Daniel Sams has been the main headline all season long going back to the summer. For the first time all season, Waters looked like he wanted to run football with more authority against Baylor. Meanwhile, Sams is coming off a 199 yard performance on the ground against Baylor but threw a late interception for a second straight game, and cost the Wildcats a chance to win a Big 12 Conference game.
Wide receiver Tyler Lockett has had his season interrupted with a hamstring injury that has kept him of the lineup. Tramaine Thompson has been out as well for the Wildcats. If the K-State wants to be a little bit more successful in the second part of the year, the Cats need all of their weapons on the field. During the last few weeks, receivers Curry Sexton, Torell Miller, Kyle Klein, and even Steve Johnson have stepped up in the absence of their playmakers. K-State should be at full strength coming off this bye week.
The Cats want to begin this next set of six football game with a win at home.
Kansas State Offense vs. West Virginia Defense
RB Jon Hubert had his best game of the season thus far with 19 carries and 90 yards rushing for the Wildcats against Baylor. K-State needs to be more consistent with the ground game. They face a Mountaineers squad that gave up only 111 yards to Texas Tech in a loss at home last week but West Virginia was torched in the passing game.
Lockett and Thompson should be a full go for Bill Snyder and Company, and that should be a big boost for the Wildcats. K-State will need better quarterback play from Waters and Sams if the Cats want to be successful in the second half the season. Sams is tough to stop on the ground and Waters seemed more comfortable against Baylor.
Kansas State Defense vs. West Virginia Offense
The K-State defense is beginning to make progress they held one of the more high powered offenses in college football in the Baylor Bears. to only 35 points. Costly mistakes and miscommunication on a few big plays hurt the Wildcats chances for the win at home two weeks ago.
On Saturday, West Virginia comes to Manhattan for the first time in conference play, and the Cats will need to be sharp. Mueller, Blake Slaughter, who leads the teams in tackles, and the rest of the Wildcat defense need to shutdown the Mountaineers.
One of the keys of the game for the Cats is to limit small mistakes, and slow down the running game of Dreamius Smith and Charles Sims. Smith had 2 TDs last week against the Red Raiders. Finally, make Mountaineer quarterback Clint Trickett beat you through the air. West Virginia is definitely not Baylor on offense but K-State has the potential on defense to cause problems for West Virginia Head Coach Dana Holgorgen and his offense.
West Virginia Mountaineers (3-4 Overall, 1-3 Big 12) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (2-4, 0-3 Big 12) at Bill Snyder Family Stadium 2:45pm