Who: Kansas State (4-4, 2-3) vs. #23 Texas Tech (7-2 4-2)
When: 11:00 AM
Where: Jones AT&T Stadium; Lubbock, Texas
TV Station: ABC
The Kansas State Wildcats are coming off a dominating performance against the Iowa State Cyclones last Saturday afternoon. For the Wildcats, it was pretty important to start out of the gate fast entering the second half of the season, and so far they’ve done just that having a two game winning-streak.
K-State sits at 4-4 overall, 2-3 in the Big 12 conference, and right behind the Red Raiders in the standings. This could be the right opportunity for the Wildcats to stir up something big. For that to happen, the team will have to travel back on the road again where mistakes have cost them in Big 12 play at Texas and Oklahoma State. Those mistakes will need to be minimized if the Wildcats are going to beat the #23 Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-2 Overall, 4-2 Big 12). Tech is on a 2 game losing streak after starting off the season undefeated under first year head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Both games have been losses Oklahoma teams: the Sooners and the Cowboys.
To slow down the Red Raiders offense, Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder will need some more of the dominate, shutdown defense seen in the last two weeks. The Wildcats’ young, growing defense were able to keep Oklahoma State honest and surprisingly held Baylor’s offense to their lowest score all season. Defensive end Ryan Mueller was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week last week and he will need to come up with something special to wreak havoc in the Texas Tech backfield.
The secondary will have a true test in front of them against the Texas Tech wideouts. K-State’s Ty Zimmerman, who had an interception last week, will need another solid performance to give the Wildcats any chance to win. Dante Barnett and Kip Daily have played well, and Dorrin Roberts is really stepping up by having an interception in the last two games.
The offense will have some offensive stars at full strength. RB John Hubert, WR Tyler Lockett, and WR Tramaine Thompson are players who can make things happen. They should add skill and depth for the Wildcat offense.
The two quarterback system of Jake Waters and Daniel Sams has been on the up in the last few games. They will need bring that play into Lubbock. Both quarterback need to make good passes and control the ball. Do that and they have a chance at winning, but if they don’t, it could be a long afternoon for the Wildcats.
Three Things to Watch For:
#1) Keep the Ball: This season, the Wildcats’ issues keeping the football at critical times has cost them. Whoever is in the game at quarterback, whether it is Waters or Sams, will need to manage the game well enough to give K-State a chance. Along with not turning the football over, the quarterbacks need to score touchdowns when they do get into the redzone. The Wildcats need to have long, time-consuming offensive drives to prevent Texas Tech from running there very fast offense from putting up lots of points.
#2) Set the Tone: The K-State defensive front has played well in the last 3 games, including the game against Baylor. Hopefully, some of the intensity they’ve received from home games can translate to Lubbock. The defensive line needs to put pressure on freshman quarterback Davis Webb. The defensive front has been making life miserable for opponent quarterbacks and if they can do it again, it will be a huge factor in how the game could unfold for K-State.
#3) Know Your Limits: The Wildcat defense has allowed a few big plays through the air. The secondary, actually the entire defense, has come together in recent weeks, but with that being said, the secondary will need to be on their toes throughout the game. The Red Raiders have weapons all over the field and they will be ready to explode without a moment’s notice. The Wildcat secondary will be tested again. Can they keep everything in front of them? Can they make Tech drive the field? Can they can limit their mistakes?
Even with the two-QB system, this is the time for Jake Waters. In recent weeks, Waters has begun to find his way around the offensive. And now he is starting to play like the Wildcats expected him to do coming into this season. Waters will look to prove himself and make plays during this big road game. If he can start off well then the Wildcats have a chance, and that is all that you want.