Opponent: Kansas State
Kickoff: November 12th
Location: McLane Stadium (Waco, TX)
Conference: Big 12
Head Coach: Chris Klieman (entering 4th year)
Last Year’s Record: 8-5
Notable Outcomes: Lost to Oklahoma 37-31; lost to Baylor 20-10; beat LSU 42-20
Key Losses: Skylar Thompson, QB; Cody Fletcher, LB; Russ Yeast, S
Key Returners: Deuce Vaughn, RB; Daniel Green, LB; Malik Knowles, WR
Strength: Running back. Kansas State returns one of the best running backs in the country in Deuce Vaughn. Not only did Vaughn amass over 1400 yards of rushing last season, he was also the team’s leading receiver in terms of receptions, catching 49 passes for 468 yards and four touchdowns (to add to his 18 rushing touchdowns). Dude is a machine.
Weakness: Secondary. The Wildcats do return their two cornerbacks, but they have to replace both safeties and their nickelback. That’s easier said than done and is certainly an area of the defense that teams will test, given that the defensive front should be pretty solid for KState.
Way Too Early Prediction: Baylor handled Kansas State in an ugly, defensive battle in Manhattan last year that saw then starter Gerry Bohanon go down with injury. I suspect this game will be quite a bit different in Waco this year. For one, you would hope quarterback injury doesn’t strike again (for both teams). But also for Kansas State, they have promoted former KState quarterback legend Collin Klein to offensive coordinator. All indications are that Klein is going to push the tempo, something we haven’t really seen out of the Wildcats. So, this game could be more offensive than one might typically expect. That could especially be the case with dual-threat Nebraska transfer QB Adrian Martinez looking like the starter for the Wildcats. Nevertheless, I think Kansas State has enough holes in their roster that this will be a difficult game for them to win on the road.