at Manhattan, Kan. • Oct. 29
Head Coach: Bill Snyder (17th year)
2004 Record: 4-7, 2-6 Big 12
Bill Snyder is, by far, the dean of Big 12 coaches as he leads the Wildcats in his 17th season in Manhattan. Not since Snyder's first year at Kansas State in 1989 have the Wildcats had as poor a season as they did last year, when they finished 4-7. Keep in mind, that was coming off a Big 12 title they won in 2003. All eyes will be on the Wildcats to see if they can regain the form that propelled them to six 11-win seasons in the past eight years.
It's unclear who will replace Darren Sproles. Heading into August, former Florida State transfer Thomas Clayton, along with two homegrown talents, Carlos Alsup and Donnie Anders, look to compete for a starting spot. KSU could go with a tailback by committee approach in 2005, as well.
In its four wins last year, Kansas State averaged over 304 yards rushing, while it managed just 118 yards per game in its seven losses. Snyder is looking for more cohesive play along the offensive line. But only one starter, senior Jeromey Clary, returns.
Dylan Meier and Allen Webb both played a lot at quarterback last season, but Meier was limited in the spring with an injury. Both will compete for the starting job next month. Webb, the dual-threat quarterback had a solid spring. He was 13-of-24 for 105 yards and two touchdowns through the air, and added 113 yards rushing in the spring game when he led his squad to a 26-3 victory.
Kansas State returns seven starters on defense. Up front, 2004 sack leader Scott Edmonds (7 sacks) will be a presence, though he missed the team's spring game with an injury. Redshirt-freshman defensive tackle Jordan Bedore had a big spring game and will provide the interior with some quality depth.
Junior Maurice Mack was moved from safety to outside linebacker, and at 200 pounds could provide the type of speed on the edge that departed linebacker Josh Buhl had. Senior Ted Sims battled injuries last season, but could provide the solid middle linebacker presence Kansas State has had in year's past. Junior linebacker Brandon Archer, who led the team in tackles in 2004 (78), is back.
Snyder likes the potential former juco transfer safety Kyle Williams brings. But the Wildcats are replacing three starters in the secondary from last season. Senior Maurice Porter and sophomore Bryan Baldwin have the edge at cornerback, while veteran safety Jesse Tetuan (58 stops in 2004) will man one of the safety spots.
Buffalo Outlook: By the end of October, it should be clear what kind of team Kansas State is. Last fall, the game between the two teams was decided in the last seconds in CU's favor in Boulder. The Buffs have won in Manhattan just once in their last four trips.