K-STATE, TEXAS TO MATCH RUNNING ATTACKS

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State, the story of the year in the Big 12 Conference, will play for its ninth victory of this year, and the fourth in a row over the University of Texas dating back to 2006. The Longhorns have been battered by injuries, while the Wildcats' Collin Klein rushes on during his record-breaking season with 24 rushing touchdowns. Saturday, he could break the Big 12 record.

The Big 12 record of 27 ground TDs was set by Texas' Ricky Williams and fittingly it could be against Texas that Collin Klein breaks the record.

Bill Snyder has this advice to the Kansas State football team: Do not look back, it's what happens today that counts."

With those words of wisdom, the Wildcats will try to make a three-game win streak a four-gamer over the Texas Longhorns tonight at 7 in Austin, Texas.

"Many of these players weren't here during some of those games," Snyder said of the last three wins, which have come by 25, 20 and 3 points. "We can't get caught off in things like that. You start taking things for granted, then you have some real issues. Last year's Texas team is not this year's Texas team, and this K-State team is not last year's K-State team.

What's happened in the past is strictly in the past."

Kansas State will be putting its 5-2 Big 12 record, 8-2 mark overall and No. 16 national ranking on the line against a Texas team that is 3-3, 6-3 and unranked. Still, it's the Horns that rank as a nine-point favorite.

The teams are similar in that they like to transport the football by the ground. K-State ranks 22nd nationally in running with ball with a per game average of 209 yards, while Texas is 15th with an average of 227.

BUT, Texas may be without its top three running backs due to injury in Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and Fozzy Whittaker. That would leave D.J. Monroe, a 5-9, 175-ound freshman, to carry the load. His career numbers are 33 attempts for 215 yards.

After playing pass-happy teams recently, Snyder says of the Longhorns, "They are a football team that maybe has a little more balance in their offense than what we have normally seen, maybe a little bit more skewed to the running game but certainly capable from the other aspects of it. I think from an offensive standpoint, very athletic offensive line with guys that can get out and run. They get the ball on the edge and make you have to run with them. You do not like to do that because they have an awful lot of speed to go along with it. I think maybe just a little more run oriented, as far as the offensive side of the ball is concerned."

K-State will counter with the Collin Klein attack. The Wildcat junior quarterback ranks second in the Big 12 in rushing at 101 yards per game, plus his 24 rushing TDs rank No. 1.

It was a year ago that Klein debuted as a starter against Texas rushing for 127 yards and a pair of scores in a lop-sided Wildcat win. Snyder is one to say that the performance a year ago will have no factor tonight.

"He's not the type of young guy who's going to say, ‘Wow, I've arrived today'," said Snyder. "He's a very consistent young fellow no matter what course he might be on. He's always trying to improve his life day in and day out.

Had he not played well a year ago, I don't think it would have had any impact on what he might do this year."

UT's air attack averages just 18 yards per game, which is 92nd nationally, while K-State ranks No. 109 with 155 yards per game. BUT, in the last two games, Klein has passed for 425 yards and four touchdowns.

Texas holds the edge defensively with national rankings of No. 14 in total defense (314), No. 10 in rushing defense (101) and No. 11 in pass efficiency defense (212 yards per game).

"I think they are excellent. I think they are a tremendously talented football team. They do a lot more than what a lot of people would expect or anticipate," said Snyder. "They are fast, they run extremely well, they are athletic. They have some powerful people up front, and they have good range. These are all 6-foot 4-inch, 6-foot 5-inch guys up front. They have the strength and the ability to move rapidly. You put that all together, it makes it difficult."

K-State counters with a defense that gives up yards – 411 per game – and even points – 29.8 per game – yet they make big plays as is shown by its plus-9 turnover margin, which rank second in the Big 12.

Offense?
Advantage K-State.

Defense?
Advantage Texas.

That could leave it to the special teams where the leading two kickoff returners in the nation are out for the year with injuries.

That's UT's Fozzy Whittaker (42.4, knee injury) and Tyler Lockett (35.2, bruised kidney.) Overall as a team, K-State and Texas rank 1-2 in the Big 12 in kickoff returns; the Longhorns and Wildcats rank 3-6 in punt return average; UT and KSU rank 4-7 in punting; and, the Texans field goal accuracy ranks second in the league to KSU's sixth place ranking.

But what about the intangibles? That's a checkmark beside the name of K-State. The find-a-way-to-win Wildcats have eight victories with six of those by seven points or less. And, one of their two losses has been a seven-pointer. On the flip side, UT has won just twice in the last five weeks.


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