The Tigers, who will return to practice on Tuesday to resume preparations for Coach Bill Synder’s Kansas State Wildcats, are off this Saturday before traveling to Manhattan, Kan., for their first road game the following Thursday.
“They are a Top 20 team and we have got to go there,” Malzahn said. “That is a tough, tough challenge.”
Coach Bill Synder
The Auburn coach noted that the Wildcats, who are 2-0 this season, are sound defensively. “They are very good at what they do,” he said. “They don’t do a lot of things, but what they do they do extremely well. They make you earn it. It is hard to earn it every down in college football.
“Offensively, they are a little bit similar to us,” Malzahn said. “They like to run their quarterback. They are unique with some of their play-actions, but they execute very well.”
Senior QB Jake Waters has run the football 37 times so far this season and is averaging 5.2 yards per carry. He finished with a career-high 138 yards in a 32-28 victory at Iowa State last Saturday. Kansas State’s other win was a 55-16 home game vs. Stephen F. Austin.
Malzahn pointed out that the Wildcats are also good on special teams featuring Tyler Lockett, who is one of the top wide receivers in the Big 12 conference. “We are very aware of how talented the returner is and they are very good at blocking for him, too, so that is going to be a definite point of emphasis.”
All signs point to the Tigers facing a well-coached team in game three. “You turn the film on and you can tell they are very disciplined,” Malzahn said.
Auburn leads the series with Kansas State 3-0. In its only appearance in Manhattan the Tigers won 45-32 in 1978. The last matchup between the two teams was a 23-13 contest in 2007 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.