Kansas State football could have some problems with Arkansas State to kickoff their 2020 season.
The very unique 2020 football season kicks off this Saturday for most teams in the Big 12 and for the Kansas State Wildcats, they kick off against Arkansas State at 11:00 am.
With a mix of youth to go along with the experience returning, including seniors at quarterback (Skylar Thompson), at running back (Harry Trotter) and cornerback (AJ Parker) along with youth such as redshirt freshmen Khalid Duke and Will Jones, and true freshmen such as Deuce Vaughn, Tee Denson, and T.J. Smith.
Arkansas State comes in having already played their season opener, falling to Memphis 37-24 this past weekend. The Red Wolves will provide a good rehearsal for the Wildcats, as the uptempo spread offense will resemble what opponents will see during conference play.
The offense is lead by dual quarterbacks in Logan Bonner and Layne Hatcher. Hatcher is a transfer from Alabama while Bonner is a senior with the program. Against Memphis, Bonner threw for the only passing touchdowns, but also chucked two interceptions.
Look for Arkansas State to run the ball at least some, as the departure of top 2019 receivers Omar Bayless and Kirk Merritt has robbed the offense of their top two targets. Oklahoma transfer Dahu Green and Jonathan Adams are likely the top targets in the passing offense and Jonathan Adams is the lead running back, coming having recorded 64 yards on 15 carries in the week 1 game against Memphis.
Defense is where Arkansas State struggled last season and saw 11 of the their top defenders off the 2019 two deep depth chart depart before the season. Will the defense be able to consistently make stops against a Kansas State offense that lacks explosiveness in the backfield? Wide receivers Malik Knowles and Joshua Youngblood are big play threats along the outside, which could change that lack of explosiveness.
Look for the Wildcats combination of size and experience be enough to win the day, though Arkansas State is good enough and they will keep it close for awhile. Their issues on defense will become evident in the Kansas State run game and a big play or two over the top from the receiving group will happen, led by junior Malik Knowles.
A close game in the second half will stretch out late, as the Wildcats are able to add two touchdowns late, winning the game 34-17.
This won’t be an easy opener for Kansas State football, but they’ll ultimately get the job done.