Kansas State at Kansas
Kansas State at Kansas
By Herbie Teope
The Wildcats (2-2 overall, 0-1 in the Big 12) travel to Lawrence, Kansas, on Saturday to face the Jayhawks (2-3 overall, 0-2 in the Big 12) at Memorial Stadium.
The last time these two teams met was in Manhattan last year, which was a Kansas State 42-6 victory. The last time the two teams met in Lawrence resulted in a Kansas State 64-0 rout. The Jayhawks lead the series 61-35-5, but have lost 11 straight games to the Wildcats.
Both teams are coming off tough Oct. 2 road losses. The Wildcats lost to Texas A&M 42-30, and the Jayhawks suffered a close defeat to Nebraska 14-8.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6:20 p.m. and the game will not be televised.
The game will be broadcast live on radio via the Mid America Sports Network.
Keys to the game
It's all about Sproles
Head coach Bill Snyder mentioned in his Tuesday press conference that the offense will continue to run through his star running back. Snyder should look to get the ball in Darren Sproles' hands early and often to help build his confidence after the senior lost two more fumbles in the Oct. 2 loss against Texas A&M. The game plan will likely call for a heavy dose of Sproles against a Jayhawks run defense that is allowing 116 yards per game.
Continue to develop the passing game
Sophomore quarterback Dylan Meier broke out against Texas A&M accounting for 308 yards of total offense (246 passing) and four touchdowns (three passing). Moreover, the wide receivers emerged as viable weapons for Meier. If Sproles gets established early, play action will allow Meier to take advantage of a Jayhawks pass defense that surrenders 211 yards per game.
A game of field position
Special teams will come into play here. If the Wildcats offense stalls in their own territory, punters Tim Reyer or Jesse Martinez must do a better job than their combined 33.8 yards per punt average. Giving up field position to opposing offenses has placed the defense, which has its share of issues, in a bind. The Wildcats should look to make life tough on the Jayhawks offense by giving them a long field to work with, not a short one.
Minimize the big plays from the Jayhawks Big-3
The defense continues to be a problem for the Wildcats. They were able to contain Texas A&M quarterback Reggie McNeal for most of the game last Saturday, but gave up his game clinching 62-yard touchdown run with :48 remaining in the game when the game was still in doubt. Until this unit plays a complete game, the pressure will continue to be on the Kansas State offense to simply outscore their opponents in shootouts.
Sophomore quarterback Adam Barmann is averaging 225 passing yards a game through five games and has thrown nine touchdowns against six interceptions. His favorite receiver is senior Brandon Rideau, who has 28 receptions for 273 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore running back John Randle is averaging 66 rushing yards per game, and is coming off a 109 yards performance on 23 carries against Nebraska. The Wildcats are susceptible to big plays, and they must keep them to a minimum on Saturday.
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