In reality, being 5-1 is as good as most K-Staters thought it could be back in mid-August. All of the wins are decent wins. Afterall, UCLA thumped Texas; Iowa State defeated Texas Tech; and, Central Florida has accumulated four wins of its own. Perhaps the grade is an example of the whole being greater than its individual parts. Or, it's simply the Snyder factor.
K-State's rush offense of 210-plus yards per game ranks second only to Nebraska in the Big 12, and among the top 25 teams in the nation. In Daniel Thomas, who ranks among the top 10 in the country in rushing, teams must devote an eight-in-the-box defense, which opens up the mid-range pass game, and potential to go deep. The ‘Cats have rushed for 16 TDs through six games, which is second best in the league.
The Wildcats were last in the league in passing yards per game entering this past weekend. However, K-State is completing a nifty 66 percent of its throws and its eight-plus yards per attempt ranks in the top half of the league. While Carson Coffman is 11th in the league in passing yards, he his fifth best in passing efficiency and is coming off a stellar 15-of-16 performance against Kansas.
K-State is averaging nearly 33 points per game, which ranks among the top six Big 12 teams, and, it has a decent balance of 1,320 rushing yards and 2,110 passing.
Playing a variety of dual-threat quarterbacks in the early season, K-State's run defense has been lacking as entering the Kansas game, the ‘Cats had allowed 246 rushing yards per game, which ranked last in the league and 116th in the nation.
K-State ranks third in the league in pass defense, which is a plus, but that figure ranks high because teams have chosen to run against the ‘Cats. Teams are completing less than 47 percent of their passes against the ‘Cats, which leads the league.
All teams, including Missouri State and even Kansas, have found a way to move the ball on K-State, but the fact is, K-State is giving up 22-plus points per game to rank second in the league.
There's little to complain about as Josh Cherry is a perfect 6-of-6 in field goals, Ryan Doerr is averaging a more than OK 41 yards per punt with 12 fair catches and six punts downed inside the 20, and, William Powell is one of the nation's elite when it comes to kickoff returns with a 30-plus yard average. If there are two iffy areas, big plays have not come from the punt return game, and, the ‘Cats have yet to block a punt / kick.
Daniel Thomas is one of the top two backs to ever play at Kansas State. He's been slowed as of late, but still has managed to average 80-plus yards in those games, and, the focus on stopping No. 8 has opened other avenues of the offense. Defensively, Brandon Harold has shown glimpses of being among the Big 12's elite, but overall, the play has been pretty much by committee.
Other teams have pretended to be friends, and be close, but there truly is a mesh on this team, in particular between Carson Coffman, who seems to be everyone's friend, and the offensive line. Good leadership is somewhat a given with every team that is 5-1, but this unit did show some moxie after the Nebraska game with their performance against Kansas.
By Big 12 standards, the easier games have been played as Kansas and Iowa State, along with Colorado, will likely make up the bottom half of the North Division. Upcoming are four road games in six outings, which includes a Southern trio of Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas, plus Missouri and Colorado from the North. The lone given "W" in this second half of the year will be a season finale against North Texas.
Kansas State needs one win to become bowl eligible. Including a BCS Bowl, the Big 12 has connections with eight bowl games – BCS (Fiesta), Cotton, Alamo, Insight, Holiday, Texas, Pinstripe and Dallas. A ninth possibility could be the EagleBank Bowl in Washington D.C. prior to Christmas. It is the rarest of scenarios that a bowl eligible Big 12 team would not be involved in postseason play, and with the way K-State fans historically travel, it would be a certainty that the ‘Cats would be rewarded with a bowl invitation.
Definite W -- North Texas; Favored to W -- Colorado; Tossup -- Oklahoma State; Slight Dog -- Baylor; Toughest W -- Texas and Missouri