Wildcats seeking balance
Wildcats seeking balance
Meier knows he'll be needed
By Herbie Teope
The Wildcats passing game won't remind anyone of a fancy aerial attack, and its 113th national ranking reflects that. After three games, Kansas State is averaging just 123 yards through the air.
Sophomore Dylan Meier, who did not start against Fresno State on Sep. 11, has completed 23-of-38 passes for 326 yards and two touchdowns against an interception for the season. He's added 103 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries.
Fellow sophomore Allen Webb has completed 6-of-16 passes for 43 yards and an interception in limited action. Webb has also rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
Meanwhile, Darren Spoles has rushed for 550 yards as the Wildcats have relied heavily on him en route to a 2-1 record. However, the Sep. 11 loss against Fresno State, where Sproles was held to 41 yards on 11 carries, exposed the offense as one-dimensional.
It didn't help that Meier and Webb were in and out of the lineup, but the lack of a passing game killed any chance of a comeback against the Bulldogs.
Kansas State needs to open the passing game to obtain offensive balance. Whenever that time eventually arrives, which could happen Saturday against Texas A&M, Meier will be called upon and he's confident.
"I'm very confident in my abilities and the receivers' abilities to throw and catch the ball," Meier said Tuesday. "It's going to be needed sooner or later. Hopefully we can showcase that on Saturday."
Perhaps Meier was hinting what could be in store Saturday, but it will have to come against an Aggies defense that has clamped down on opposing quarterbacks the last two games at Kyle Field.
Since surrendering 359 passing yards and three touchdowns on the road to Utah's Alex Smith on Sep. 3, the Aggies have allowed an average of 188 passing yards per game in two contests at home. Moreover, they've surrendered only one passing score while intercepting five passes in those two games.
The Aggies are also stingy against the run, allowing only 89 rushing yards per game, and the Wildcats will likely face eight or nine defenders in the box against Sproles. Should Texas A&M take this aggressive approach, Kansas State is looking to take advantage.
"They've got speed, just like everyone else does," senior tight end Brian Casey said about the Aggies defense. "They like to creep those safeties up, so we are going to be doing some stuff to keep them back a little and keep them from having nine guys in the box against the run."
Casey also believes that the bye week has helped the passing game take steps in the right direction for their conference opener.
"Our passing game is coming around," he said. "We've done a lot of passing drills. We've run passing plays against our defense, and they've helped us out with Texas A&M's look. I think our passing game will be there when we need it."
vIn order for the Wildcats to pass effectively Saturday, Casey along with wide receivers Davin Dennis, Antoine Polite and Yamon Figurs must make plays when they get the ball. The four have combined for 299 yards and two touchdowns on 21 receptions this season.
It won't be easy at Kyle Field in front of the loud Texas A&M crowd, but head coach Bill Snyder remains optimistic that Meier will be ready.
"Time will tell," Snyder said Tuesday. "We'll find out. At least he has the approach I think and the demeanor that would say yes."
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